5 Tips for Success for Cybersecurity Specialists
There are no shortage of job openings in cybersecurity and for those who want to make it a career, the growth will only continue in this ever-advancing electronic world. Many people have been in IT for a number of years already and want to branch further into cybersecurity, while others may be new to the IT and IS field and see cybersecurity as their way to make a positive mark on their future. Regardless of whether you’ve been in the industry for a while or are looking for a great new option, we’ve gathered five top tips for cybersecurity specialists.
1. It’s only a matter of time.
Government site, financial institution or a grocery chain. What do they, and all other organizations, have in common? They all collect and store data, have a responsibility to keep it safe and will be targets of a cyber-attack at some point in time. Sure, government sites and financial institutions may be subject to ongoing, specifically targeted attacks, but hackers know how to automate their work and set it loose into the ether to find weaknesses. They don’t necessarily care which organization they hit either. If an organization has data that the hacker can make use of or sell, or if there is a platform worth taking over, there is value to them in their efforts and they will continue.
Cybersecurity specialists must approach their job with this point of view in mind. It’s about prevention, constant updates and ongoing reassessments because it is going to happen and you must be ready to block and react if there is a penetration.
2. Education upgrades are a necessity.
Gone are the days when someone completed their education and stopped learning. Especially when it comes to IS and IT departments, the need for regular education upgrades is undeniable. Hackers continue to get smarter and so must those working in cybersecurity. This means taking CISA training, CISM training and other courses that lead to certifications. The CISA certification and CISM certification are provided through the industry leading cyber security organization that is constantly upgrading their curriculums. In turn, authorized partners that provide CISA training and CISM training will have the most up-to-date information and skills training to ideally lead to a successful result on exams and a CISA certification or CISM certification.
Earning designations like a CISA certification or a CISM certification may not seem terribly important, but they prove to others in your industry and those in your organization that you have the skills and abilities to keep up to the challenges and threats in the IT and IS sector. Having recognized certifications may also allow you to earn a larger salary and advance to higher positions within your existing employer’s organization or take advantage of new job opportunities.
3. Use the tools that make the job easier.
These aren’t necessarily tools designed or developed for cybersecurity or penetration testing professionals, but they often make those jobs easier. For example, using team-sharing collaboration tools like Trello or Slack make it easier to communicate, avoid duplication and keep efficiency high.
Port reference guides give the ability to understand the weaknesses in the more than 65,500 ports out there and protocol analyzers like Wireshark helps identify all the comings and goings within a network.
4. Your colleagues don’t mean to screw up.
Everyone wants to do the best they can at their job and when they aren’t in the IT or IS department, chances are they don’t care nearly as much as you do about security. Often it is the misguided efforts (or lack of effort) of fellow employees that cause leaks and data breaches.
They didn’t realize that using their dog’s name as a password wasn’t as secure as it needed to be, they just wanted to be able to remember it.
Help your colleagues by understanding their desire to do a good job and show ways to do that within the parameters of the IT and IS department. Most importantly, help them understand why it’s important. Think of that game so loved by two and three year olds – the why game. When people know the why around the importance of their action or inaction they are more likely to do as requested. There’s nothing worse than an employee who thinks you’ve asked them to change their password every month to make your life easier or better. You can’t tell them to avoid public charging stations without an understanding of how that can expose the organization. There’s no need to explain your full job, but give people an understanding of what they need to do and why.
5. Consider the online and the offline.
Cybersecurity is definitely about the online world, but the lines are blurring between online and offline security needs as well as security professional job descriptions. While online security may be your bread and butter, don’t dismiss the opportunity to gain an understanding of on-site security as well. This could be related to your job such as looking at hardware like computer systems that don’t allow for USB ports or any other potential external inputs or it may be outside of the IT and IS realm if you’re looking at things like parkade access systems.
Having an understanding of both online and offline security will make you even more valuable to the organization you work for. You’ll be able to assess and implement more holistic security options and/or be a more productive and thoughtful team member on a security planning team.
Organizations are becoming more aware that online security is a growing need and are willing to support further education in the field for IT and IS employees while they are also implementing a broader scope of security measures. Individuals looking to make a difference in the world of cyber security can take concrete steps towards their future by making use of existing tools, advancing their education and appreciating the realities of security where humans are involved.