This blog will give you an overview of the Cyber Security Consultant career and why it could be a smart career choice for you.
Check out the Scope of Cyber Security in this video.
Cyber Security Consultant—Introduction
Everyone, more or less, has an idea of what a Consultant does. These professionals don’t work for any single company. Instead, they use their expertise to advise different clients as contracted services. Similarly, Cyber Security Consultants follow that same idea. They are hired to test an organization’s Cyber Security measures, and then help out with an appropriate defense system.
Cyber Security Consultants are also known by:
- Computer Security Consultant
- Information Security Consultant
- Network Security Consultant
- Database Security Consultant
They use their vast knowledge and experience in cyber security to advise, guide and help employ improved security measures that are suitable for their clients.
Cyber Security Consultant Roles and Responsibilities
A typical Cyber Security Consultant job description looks like below:
- Communicate with staff and department heads to ascertain specific security concerns and issues
- Perform vulnerability testing, risk analyses, and security assessments
- Deliver the test findings in the form of technical reports and white papers
- Research the latest security standards and authentication protocols
- Find the best solution to protect devices, software, networks, data, and information systems against potential intrusion and cyber attacks
- Research, plan, and design an effective security architecture for IT projects
- Generate cost estimates for the required defense upgrades
- Be aware of potential integration issues that IT Project Managers may face
- Provide professional guidance and supervision to the in-house security team
- Define, implement, and maintain a suitable corporate security policy for the client
- Immediately, respond to any security-related incidents and perform a thorough analysis
- Follow up with the client about any necessary updates and upgrades of their security systems
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Cyber Security Consultant Skills
Anyone planning to begin their career in this domain should possess hard skills like computer programming and network and security configuration. Learning computer programming in Java, cloud computing infrastructure and services, and network and security foundations and applications will help one tackle the technical aspects of cyber security with expertise.
Some of the hard skills necessary for pursuing this career include:
- Programming Languages – While there is no limit, mostly, languages used for storing and processing raw data
- Operating Systems Knowledge – Understanding of OS like Windows, macOS, Linux, UNIX, and other new operating systems
- Penetration Testing – Through pen testing, cyber security experts work their way into a system from the perspective of a hacker and use that hacking session to test system security and gauge the vulnerability of the client’s programs and software.
- Ethical Hacking and Coding Practices – This is very much like the above method and requires working knowledge of threat modeling and configurations.
- Advanced Persistent Threat Management – Understanding of concepts like social engineering, phishing, and network access control.
- Firewall Safety and Management – Skills in fail-safe features, breach detection, backups, and prevention protocols
- Encryption Techniques and Capabilities – Cyber Security experts with this skill are capable of ensuring that they don’t fall victim to attacks while sending and receiving data over the internet.
- Compliance Assessments – GLBA, HIPAA, PCI, NIST, and SOX
- Frameworks – COBIT and ITIL, for instance
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In addition to the hard skills mentioned above, soft skills like problem-solving, critical thinking and logic, communication, IT management, and leadership skills can help one thrive in this field.
A Cyber Security Consultant will need critical thinking to analyze security issues and generate quick responses to breaches—sometimes, even, identifying issues before they arise.
Communication is just as important as these professionals have to spend their time discussing their ideas with security teams as well as top executives. Only through good communication will they truly understand the situation at hand, thus, making informed decisions.
They may need to present written reports or oral presentations, or tutor non-IT staff on the best security practices.
Cyber Security consultants with strong leadership and management skills are capable of overseeing entire projects and departments.
Have a look at our blog on Cyber Security interview questions and start preparing for your next job interview!
Cyber Security Consultant Jobs
Companies are significantly investing to ensure a secured cyber environment for their assets. Even developed nations have been known to fall victim to cyberattacks. So, the demand is always there for experts in cyber security. It is one of the very few domains, which is relevant to every industry in this digital economy.
Anyone with skills in cyber security has the chance to turn the demand-supply gap into an opportunity for themselves and make a successful career out of it. A booming field already, it can reward these professionals in several ways.
Recruiters seek out professionals with the right skill sets. Most times, it does not matter where one is based as this demand is regardless of the geographic location.
It is possible to work from home since hardware dependency is minimal. Currently, multinational companies are constantly on the lookout for Cyber Security experts and this trend is here to stay.
Linked has posted several Cyber Security Consultant job openings for the following countries:
- USA – 9,000+
- Canada – 1,000+
- Singapore – 870+
- UK – 830+
- India – 650+
- Australia – 190+
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Cyber Security Consultant Salary
If you want to know how much a Cyber Security Consultant makes, this section will give you an overview. According to ZipRecruiter, the top earners earn an average of about US$177,000 in the USA while the 75th percentile earns about US$144,000 p.a. On average, consultants in the USA earn US$115,767 per year. The minimum salary is around US90,500 per year for these professionals.
According to Glassdoor, Cyber Security Consultants in India earn an average of ₹732,000 p.a. and in Singapore, they earn S$48,000 annually. In the UK, these professionals earn about £51,058 per year, and in Canada, the average income is CA$$79,640 p.a. In Australia, they earn AU$90,000 p.a. as reported by Glassdoor.
The above information source is Glassdoor.
How can you become a Cyber Security Consultant?
While higher education has no dedicated Cyber Security training curriculum, would-be Cyber Security Consultants pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Information Technology, Cyber Security, or other related majors. The best way to acquire Cyber Security skills is to get certified.
Cyber Security Certifications
There are numerous certifications available in many relevant subjects. Of course, a Bachelor’s degree in the field will open up opportunities but in most cases, certifications add value to the resume and validate expertise and skills. Some of the most valuable industry-recognized qualifications include:
- CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
- CISM: Certified Information Security ManagerCPP: Certified Protection Professional
- CSC: Certified Security Consultant
- CompTIA Security+
- GIAC: Security Certification
- IAPSC: International Association of Professional Security Consultants
- OSCP: Offensive Security Certified Professional
- PSP: Physical Security Professional
- GSEC: SANS GIAC Security Essentials
In addition to the certifications, there are many free online resources that one can rely on to learn more about this subject matter. There are communities where like-minded professionals come together to discuss their work and help out those who have questions on the subject matter. This is a great way to learn.
Last but not the least, practice and experience in the field will open up many more opportunities in the long run. You can check out the 10 Best Cyber Security Certifications.
Cyber Security Consultant Career Path
The best way to start out in this career is through initial experience as an entry-level IT security professional or in an Information Security role. One can then assume roles like Security Administrator, Engineer, Auditor, or Analyst. Gaining some relevant certifications at this point will help begin a successful career in this domain.
Organizations are always in need of Cyber Security experts and you could be one of them. If you think this could be a good career choice for you, use this as an opportunity to learn cyber security. Now is the perfect time to jump on the bandwagon.
Drop all your Cyber Security-related questions at Intellipaat’s Cyber Security Community.