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What Does A Cybersecurity Analyst Do?

By DeVry University

September 15, 2022

5 min read

Cyber security analysts identify and fix weaknesses in a computer network’s security systems to protect it from attacks and unwelcome access from cybercriminals.

If you’re considering entering the cyber security field, chances are your questions extend beyond, “what does a cyber security analyst do every day?” Read on to learn more about cyber security analysts and what it takes to pursue a career in this important area of computer science as we discuss:

Is Cyber Security Analysis a Growing Field?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment of information security analysts to grow 35% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS further projects about 19,500 job openings for information security analysts each year, on average, over this period.1 This growth is projected on a national level and local growth will vary by location. This projection is not specific to DeVry University graduates and may include earners at all stages of their careers.

The BLS attributes this significant growth to several factors, including the rising frequency of cyberattacks, the growth of e-commerce, a shift toward remote work and strong growth in digital health services and telehealth, which they predict will increase security risks for healthcare providers. 

What Skills Do Cyber Security Analysts Need?

To help them create security measures and develop strategies to prevent cyberattacks, cyber security professionals need to have a broad range of technical skills acquired through training or work experience, and be familiar with best practices in the industry. Some important capabilities needed to prepare you to succeed as a cyber security analyst include:

  • Programming: Programming languages form the basis of everything related to computers. Cyber security analysts should be acquainted with a few programming languages in order build and develop networks and software and analyze them for weak points.

  • Security planning and auditing: Cyber security analysts need to know how to evaluate existing security measures, identify potential vulnerabilities and security issues and know how to strengthen and improve their defense capabilities against the constant threat of cyber attacks.

  • Digital device competency: While it’s impossible to be familiar with every type of device, a cyber security analyst should be able to understand the basic characteristics of how devices are built and how they work with one another.

  • Familiarity with small enterprise networks: Many businesses use small enterprise networks to maintain their day-to-day communications. Cyber security analysts need to understand how these computer networks work when bolstering network security.

  • OS architecture and design: An operating system (OS) allows all computers to function. A cyber security analyst understands what could impact these systems and how to correct any issues should an operating system be jeopardized.

  • Ethical hacking: Ethical hacking is attempting to break into a network in order to test the strength of a security system. Cyber security analysts use this skill, mimicking the tactics of a malicious hacker, to identify and correct any vulnerabilities in security plans.

  • Systems administration: A cyber security analyst also needs to know how to set and approve system permissions so that only authorized employees have access to it.

  • Digital literacy: All cyber security analysts need to be familiar with how the internet, digital devices and modern communication methods work together.

Job Duties: What Do Cyber Security Analysts Do?

A cyber security analyst’s role is constantly evolving and typically involves a wide range of responsibilities. But exactly what does a cyber security analyst do? While tasks may vary based on your position and employer, here are some general tasks you might perform:

Review Security Systems

Analyzing security systems is one of the primary responsibilities of a cyber security analyst. To do this, they employ a variety of skills such as penetration testing and running security audits. These audits can help them determine who has access to various levels of a network and whether or not their clearance matches their responsibilities. While completing the audit, they also write up reports that communicate their findings and recommend measures to increase or improve security.

Set Security Protocols

After analyzing a company’s security systems, a cyber security analyst works on building security protocols. These protocols may include adding firewalls and encryption methods to certain portions of a network or database. They may also include setting up processes for accessing and transferring sensitive data safely.

Configure Security Tools

Cyber security analysts use a variety of tools to keep an organization’s networks safe. They determine whether or not the company will use a VPN and what encryption programs to install, should they need it. They also determine what or who can or cannot pass through these barriers.

Petition for Security Software and Hardware Upgrades

In the event that their analysis shows a weakness that cannot be fixed with their existing tools, a cyber security analyst will have to petition for upgrades. These upgrades could come in the form of new computers that have increased processing power to run programs that prevent data breaches or upgrading to more effective security software programs.

Investigate Security Incidents

In the event of a security breach, a cyber security analyst investigates what, how and why it happened in order to construct countermeasures that will prevent similar incidents in the future.

Cyber Security Analyst FAQs

What is the Role of a Cyber Security Analyst?

A cyber security analyst is a type of information security analyst who plays a crucial role in safeguarding data. Cyber security analysts perform a variety of important tasks to meet the demands of a dynamic and always-evolving information security environment, with an emphasis on cybercrimes such as theft, fraud, ransomware and phishing attacks.

Is Being a Cyber Security Analyst Hard?

As in any other career, achieving success will likely require focus, dedication and experience. UpGuard notes that while some complex areas like cryptography may require more technical knowledge, cyber security doesn’t typically require a strong technical background.

Soft skills, like the ability to think critically and analytically to solve problems and pay close attention to details are also highly beneficial. Having a combination of workplace skills and technical skills can be helpful as you pursue your goals.

What Does it Take to Be a Cyber Security Analyst?

Cyber security analysts are required to have a medley of technical skills in programming, ethical hacking, security planning and auditing and other areas, as well as soft skills, such as analytical thinking and strong communication skills. Employers may also look for job candidates with industry-recognized cyber security certifications that verify various cyber security-specific skills.

Is Cyber Security a Good Career?

As mentioned earlier, the BLS projects employment in this occupational category to grow at a much faster rate than the average for all occupations as information security analysts respond to increasing data security risks1.

While this is certainly good news for anyone considering a career in cyber security, keep in mind that a good career can also be defined as one that suits you. If you have an interest in IT and a drive to protect people and organizations from potentially devastating cybercrime, then this career can be a great choice.

Thinking about a Career in Cyber Security?

Now that we’ve answered the question “what does a cyber security analyst do?”, you might be thinking that this sounds like a great career path for you. Take the first step by earning a degree in cyber security. At DeVry, we offer multiple online degree and certificate programs to help you work toward your goals, including an Undergraduate Certificate in Cyber Security, an Associate in Cybersecurity and Networking, a Bachelor’s Specialization in Cyber Security and a Bachelor’s Specialization in Cyber Security Programming. Each of these programs is led by knowledgeable faculty who will help you develop foundational skills as you prepare to pursue a career in this growing field. Classes start every 8 weeks.

1Growth projected on a national level. Local growth will vary by location.

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