There are a lot of reasons to work in cybersecurity. It is a gratifying job and offers unlimited growth opportunities. Anyone with the right set of skills and training can work in the field.
Many think about working in the field and then quickly dismiss it because they often don’t understand what the work involves. Most people think cybersecurity is a narrow career with few growth opportunities or challenges. The truth is, professionals in this area are widely involved in all areas of a business or agency, and their work impacts the workplace far beyond the IT department.
To increase your workplace and job responsibility awareness, we thought we would take a deeper dive into what a typical day of a cybersecurity analyst looks like, what their goals typically are, and the best places to work (industry and states).
A Day in the Life of a Cybersecurity Analyst
A cybersecurity analyst is responsible for protecting a company’s networks and systems from any possible cyber-attack or data breach. The day to day workload of a cybersecurity analyst will vary depending on the industry and size of the business they work in. But in general, these are the main tasks they will be involved in and responsible for:
- Monitoring Security Access: to keep their organization safe, they need to be constantly evaluating security best practices, employees’ behaviors online, passwords, badges, log-ins, and others. Among their responsibilities are working with firewalls and security standards.
- Executing Security Assessments: they perform vulnerability assessments and risk analysis as part of their ongoing assessments of their security weak spots. From there, they make necessary changes to keep their networks and systems safe.
- Implement or Oversee Security Audits: An internal or external team can perform these audits to have a more detailed understanding of how an organization is doing security controls.
- Identifying Security Breaches: beyond being able to detect a security breach or cyber-attack, they are responsible for understanding how it happened and making sure patches are developed to prevent future attacks.
- Creating and Updating Disaster Recovery Plans: cybersecurity analysts are responsible for writing what the organization will do to restore their data and information systems after a security breach occurs (cyber-attacks, hardware failure, data leak, ransomware, etc.). The analyst will work with the C-Suite to ensure the executive team understands what went wrong, what fixes are being suggested and why, and ultimately approve the plan. To be sure, customer interface and interpersonal skills are as critical as the technical engineering skills they bring to the job every day.
- Working with Vendors: they need to have a trusty relationship with their vendors to ensure their products and services meet regulatory standards.
The tasks described above give you a better understanding of what a person working in this role has to do daily. This daily routine can be grouped into three main areas: 1) to keep their organization from any possible attack; 2) to detect and investigate any suspicious activity, and 3) train the entire organization on cybersecurity best practices.
One other thing to keep in mind, security incidents don’t happen strictly during work hours. A cybersecurity analyst needs to know that they will be required to work hours outside a typical 9-to-5 workday. Vendor meetings, working on different investigations, performing security analysis, and other critical tasks can be necessary 24-hours a day. Hackers don’t really care whether you are in your office or not. They will attack at any moment, and your technical and engineering skills will be needed to remediate any damage.
Best Places to Work as a Cybersecurity Analyst
If you are looking to work as a cybersecurity analyst, you should know there are many work options out there. In the United States, as of January 2021, there are 2,732 openings on Indeed.com and 6,748 on Glassdoor.com. And these are only the jobs that have been posted. There are tens of thousands of other jobs that have not been posted because the hiring manager doesn’t know where to look for the necessary talent. The need for cyber analyst talent is critical. And companies will pay to meet their needs and find the talent.
According to Zippia.com, the best states to work are:
- New Jersey: it has over 610 jobs, and the average annual salary is $89,605
- Delaware: it has over 50 jobs, and the annual average salary is $96,660
- New York: it has over 910 jobs, and the annual average salary is $93,059
- Massachusetts: it has over 610 jobs, and the annual average salary is $88,045
- Maryland: it has over 950 jobs, and the annual average salary is $87,689
- Virginia: it has over 2080 jobs, and the annual average salary is $81,196
- Rhode Island: it has over 70 jobs, and the annual average salary is $78,399
- Connecticut: it has over 200 jobs, and the annual average salary is $83,059
- Texas: it has over 1,400 jobs, and the annual average salary is $77,948
- New Hampshire: it has over 60 jobs, and the annual average salary is $84,762
Again, these known jobs are just scratching the surface of the total need in these states.
So get out there and look at your options. But be careful to choose a company that aligns with what type of environment you want to work in, what industry interests you most, what advancement opportunities might exist, and what professional development opportunities they offer.