6 essential skills every cybersecurity professional should have

According to a report from Check Point Research (CPR), in 2021 alone, cyber-attacks increased by 50% year over year globally with education, research and banking among the most vulnerable sectors. With no one expecting a let up in cyberattacks in 2022, what almost every sector wants – and needs – is a dedicated cybersecurity professional to stay one step ahead of trends and threats while maintaining business integrity and security posture amid a surge in digital transformation. We have listed 6 essential skills every cybersecurity specialist should have:

1. Solid Work Habits

For starters, you'll need a few key work habits, such as the capacity to work methodically (and in a detail-oriented way). The following abilities are also beneficial:

  • A desire to delve into technological issues and investigate them from all angles.
  • A high level of adaptability and enthusiasm.
  • Excellent diagnostic and analytical skills.
  • A working knowledge of typical web vulnerabilities.
  • Being aware of and knowledgeable about current standards, practices, processes, and methods.

2. Soft Skills

Cybersecurity specialists frequently have to explain complex topics to people who may not have a strong technical background (such as C-suite executives). With that in mind, learning the following skills is considered a prerequisite for moving up the cybersecurity ladder:

  • Effective communication with management and customers requires excellent presentation and communication skills.
  • Ability to express complicated ideas concisely (both written and verbally).
  • Active listening skills (particularly with customers!)

3. Technical Skills

This is a tricky subject because there are numerous sub-disciplines within the cybersecurity profession. However, many of these vocations have a technical underpinning in common.

For starters, IT professionals should be familiar with the architecture, administration, and management of operating systems (including various Linux distributions, Windows, and virtualization technologies). This is in addition to knowledge of general programming/software development ideas and software analytics.

The most common programming languages, such as Java, C/C++, disassemblers, assembly language, and scripting languages, must also be understood (PHP, Python, Perl, or shell).

Many employers require certifications as as part of the job requirements, including:

  • CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)
  • OSCP (Offensive Security Certified Professional)
  • CISA (Certified Information Security Auditor)
  • GCIH (GIAC Certified Incident Handler)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Information Systems Security Architecture Professional (CISSP-ISSAP)
  • Information Systems Security Engineering Professional (CISSP-ISSEP)
  • Information Systems Security Management Professional (CISSP-ISSMP)

While these types of certificates are beneficial to have and demonstrate to employers that a candidate is motivated to continue education, they should be supplemented with substantial work experience to obtain the appropriate level of expertise.

4. Implementation skills

Any good cybersecurity professional understands how to evaluate a company's security setup holistically, including threat modeling, specifications, implementation, testing, and vulnerability assessment. They are also familiar with the security concerns that come with operating systems, networking, and virtualization software.

But it's not just about comprehension; it's also about implementation. They investigate the architecture of systems and networks, then use that knowledge to determine the security controls in place and how they are used. The same can be said for database flaws and app deployment flaws.

5. Management Skills

Meanwhile, senior cybersecurity professionals must plan and coordinate technical vulnerability assessments such as system and network vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, web application assessments, social engineering assessments, physical security assessments, wireless security assessments, and the implementation of secure infrastructure solutions.

They make recommendations and determine the technical direction for dealing with security issues, as well as ensuring the integrity of the process and approach that results. In terms of soft skills, they'll have to explain (and show forensically) how an assault was carried out to management.

6. The Big Picture

Professionals at all levels are familiar with not only security concepts and principles, but also the most recent privacy and security requirements. It's no surprise that many experts consistently rank security and privacy as the top two challenges confronting organizations today; failing to maintain security not only exposes data to hackers, but it also exposes businesses to fines from government agencies increasingly worried about data management.

How Huxley can help?

At Huxley, our recruitment team specializes in placing cyber security specialists with key industry players. If you are a candidate looking for your next career opportunity or a client looking for your next key hire, feel free to contact us by filling out the form below for a confidential discussion.

Whether you’re a professional looking for a job or a business seeking highly skilled talent, the team at Huxley are here for you.

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