Our life today is more dependent on technology than ever before. As the usage of the internet rises exponentially, the quantum of personal and sensitive data on the net not only rises but also becomes increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. With data breaches, identity thefts and cyber crimes on the rise, the importance of cyber security can hardly be over-emphasised. The escalating costs of cyber damage have prompted companies of all sizes to increase their budgets and step up investment in cyber security.
Cybersecurity is the practice of securing networks, systems and digital infrastructure from attacks which include thefts, malware, phishing, DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service Attack) and social engineering. With one cyber-attack happening every 14 seconds, it is imperative to have multiple layers of protection in the form of firewalls, encryption tools, anti-virus software etc dispersed throughout the organization’s network and systems.
Companies have a lot of invaluable data like sensitive information with regard to their business, business insights and private data of customers and employees on their networks and in data warehouses. It is imperative and mandated by law for companies to protect this data. While security breaches lead to huge financial losses, it also leads to a depreciation in the company’s brand value and a loss of trust and loyalty. Hence it is little wonder that companies are seeing immense value in hiring cybersecurity experts who can design and build systems to protect their valuable data. According to reports, worldwide spending on cybersecurity is forecasted to reach a whopping $133.7 billion in 2022.
The rate of cybercrimes after the coronavirus pandemic has grown manifold with the rapid increase in the “work from home” model which has caused people to be “online” for a very long time. This again has led to an increase in the demand for people qualified to work in the field of information security. The growth in the number of jobs in cybersecurity is unmatched when compared to any other technology domain making it one of the hottest career choices in the current scenario.
This is a field where you have roles suitable for all ages, starting from the entry-level to middle management and finally the senior and executive level. It is a profession that promises immense growth and requires competence in core IT skills like programming, networking, systems administration and cloud computing. Within cybersecurity, there is plenty of scope whether in the field of IoT security professionals, security software developers, cloud security experts, cyber forensic experts, cybersecurity trainers and Governance, Risk management, and Compliance (GRC) managers.
Once you decide that information security is your calling there are several jobs at the entry-level. This includes that of a systems administrator, network engineer, network administrator and even security administrator. In fact, the network security engineer plays a key role within every organization. In the mid-level which you can enter after a few years of experience in the field, there are multiple roles like the cloud security engineer, cybersecurity analyst, cyber security engineer, penetration tester, security technician, application security engineer and even IT auditor.
At the senior level, one can opt for roles like cybersecurity manager, security operations centre (SOC) head and even Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). Given the significance of cybersecurity, there are more and more companies having large teams dedicated to data and information security. According to a report by leading management consulting firm PWC, over 80% of companies now have a CISO on their top management team.
If you have a passion for training and want to educate others, you can work as a security consultant in the field of cybersecurity. If you are research-oriented and like to keep yourself abreast of the latest IT technologies, you can pursue a job as a Security Architect.
Irrespective of the role you take on, it is important that you have the necessary skills to work effectively within a team. Good communication skills, project management, risk management and leadership skills will help you go a long way in the field of information security. Due to the dynamic nature of technology and the increasing sophistication in the nature of cybercrimes, upgrading and upskilling oneself is imperative to stay relevant. Apart from courses, there are several industry certifications one can take up to keep themselves in tune with the latest happenings in the information security scene. Moreover, knowledge of the latest regulatory policies, cyber laws and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a must to excel in the field of cybersecurity.
(The author is the Head – Business Operations of a cybersecurity firm)