6 skills cybersecurity professionals should possess
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
The number of cybersecurity-related headlines is on a steady rise these days, intimidating businesses of all stripes and colors. The steep increases in cyberattacks, unsafe IoT device usage, malware and ransomware outbursts result in allocating generous budgets to address the challenge and prevail over hackers.
Thus, according to this study by IBM, the average total cost of a data breach grew to $4 million in 2016, including $154-$158 of waste for each lost or stolen record.
Cybersecurity Ventures' report says $1 trillion will be spent on cybersecurity worldwide from 2017 to 2021. The huge number of cybercrimes also led to 1 million job openings in 2016, literally flooding the cybersecurity market. Moreover, the global need for cybersecurity experts is projected to reach 6 million by 2019 with a 1.5 million deficiency.
However, it's not always easy to find experienced security specialists who will help the company in the fight against cybercriminals. Before hiring one, it's a must to evaluate the future employee's skills and qualities.
A great expert should certainly have wide experience in dealing with programming, cloud storage and databases. This article suggests some additional skills a savvy cybersecurity specialist must possess to effectively settle the company's security issues.
1. Creative thinking and constant research
These are the qualities any professional should have to successfully deal with challenging tasks. For cybersecurity specialists, it's even more important. They must to learn to think outside the box, monitor the internet to be aware of fresh trends, constantly track new accomplishments in the field of cybersecurity and look for new ways of implementing smart technologies.
They must be open-minded and flexible to adapt quickly to infrastructure changes. Moreover, the knowledge of such experts should not be limited to cybersecurity, as this sphere is intertwined with other business areas.
2. Communication skills
Cybersecurity professionals closely collaborate with an array of departments within the company (HR, marketing, PR, etc.), including insider or outside experts. That's why, without any doubts, they should possess effective communication skills (verbal and written).
Moreover, security specialists must be able to conduct internal training, thus raising awareness among employees by conveying the basics of precaution and delivering detailed information on the type of behavior in case of malicious campaigns carried out by attackers.
3. Role aptitude
It's vital for cybersecurity professionals to adopt the role of an "ethical hacker," i.e. to think like a hacker and sometimes act as an attacker by hacking into the organization's network and identifying existing vulnerabilities.
The ability to think like a hacker grants an excellent chance to foresee malicious activities, the very target and the ways of stealing sensitive data. It's also indispensable to conduct a thorough research and mull over every slight detail, analyze the situation from every sharp and odd angle to be ready to prevent attacks and save the vulnerable information the company owns.
4. Data analytics
Cybersecurity experts must to have a good understanding of data analytics and privacy. Data science and Big Data skills (e.g. advanced analytics) are essential in a great variety of business areas, and they are in huge demand in the sphere of cybersecurity.
The capacity to track the latest trends and accomplishments in the given industry and to analyze them with a scientific mind is key for a top-notch security expert.
5. Knowledge of psychology
Quite often, companies suffer from data leaks due to their staff's errors — so-called negligent insiders. Considering this fact, it's desirable for a cybersecurity specialist to understand psychology issues to think like users do and then prevent and detect vulnerabilities created by insider employees (intentionally or not).
Last but not least, cybersecurity specialists must have the ability to act and speak honestly and with integrity, providing an accurate and comprehensive assessment of any situation, even if the expert has doubts or is not sure about some details but is willing to go deep and learn more.
Addressing cybersecurity challenges is a complicated task. That's why it becomes crucial to find and hire top-notch professionals who possess all the necessary qualities and skills in the world of cybersecurity.
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