How does one grow from a newbie to an expert in computer security? Here are 6 tips for becoming a security expert in 2023. Developing expertise in any subject requires studying and acquiring specialized knowledge in that subject; the process of becoming an IT security expert is no exception to this general rule.
For this cutting-edge sector in which the skills required are constantly evolving, only the best and those who strive to keep themselves as up-to-date as possible can claim proven expertise. With the successive computer attacks of recent years, the demand for computer security has increased considerably.
If they are driven by strong expectations, companies and other entities that make such requests do not fail to be particularly selective as to the profiles of the people they are likely to retain in order to take charge of their digital security.
Despite its essential nature, a common academic course may therefore prove to be totally insufficient to justify real expertise in this register. Various tricks exist that allow you to acquire the skills required to become an expert in computer security.
Who is a System Security expert?
System Security Experts are responsible for preventing and mitigating security breaches that may arise within a company’s computer systems. They are experts in various fields such as information security, network security, and mobile security.
System Security Expert duties and responsibilities
- Regularly perform security checks and troubleshooting
- Identify problems in a timely manner
- Suggest and implement solutions for improvement
- Track existing processes and offer solutions for improvement
- Implement new processes with the goal to optimize the company’s security system
- Stay up to date with the latest security technology and trends
- Attend related conferences and educational events to stay competent
- Work with the development team
- Perform regular audits and provide reports
- Monitor the company’s server traffic and tickets
System Security Expert requirements and qualifications
- X years of experience as a System Security Expert or similar role
- Certification, such as CCNA or OWSE
- Knowledge of potential attack vectors such as XSS, injection, hijacking, social engineering, and so on
- Knowledge of networking protocols, such as TCP/IP
- Knowledge and experience with HTTP and HTTPS, as well as their underlying implementations
- Knowledge of Content Delivery Networks
- Basic programming knowledge
- Knowledge of Agile Development processes
- Critical thinker and problem-solving skills
- Team player
- Good time-management skills
- Great interpersonal and communication skills
Tips for becoming a security expert in 2023
Tip 1: Train properly to become an IT security expert
Computer security experts are often reminiscent of gifted hackers who turn out to be prodigious thanks to their disruptive methods. However, most of the paths that allow you to become an expert in computer security go through an academic course.
This type of training leads to the development of a good knowledge of the various types of architectures and existing methods as well as the rules and good practices to be maintained. This generally goes through a license, a Bac+5 or an engineering school.
Adequate training has the notable advantage of making it possible to acquire the cumulative experience of practitioners in the sector but also the knowledge that, although conventional, nevertheless provides information on multiple techniques designed with the aim of improving cybersecurity.
Tip 2: Have a fine mastery of the systems
One of the main concerns for anyone aspiring to become a computer security expert is the system in place within the structure that needs to be secured. The architecture of this system, its reliability and its weaknesses must therefore be the subject of great mastery.
Awareness of the deficiencies identified, their correction and the strengthening of the strong points, basically, the optimization of the system, constitutes a work in constant improvement. For this, it is necessary to demonstrate solid knowledge in specific disciplines:
- Network administration;
- System development;
- Encryption and cryptology.
It is also necessary to have a clear vision of the hierarchy to be established between the various components of the computer system to be secured.
The implementation of an IT security policy and the drafting of a charter for this purpose makes it possible to codify the access mechanisms, the rules for sharing and monitoring as well as the uses that users can make of the various tools available.
Tip 3: Understand the need for control
Become an IT security expert: Understand the human factor
Also referred to as “table-chair” risk, the human factor corresponds to the share of risk inherent in the user of a computer system. Becoming an expert in computer security requires having a sharp awareness of this risk.
One of the most concrete manifestations of the said risk relates to the use by the workers of an organization of cloud applications that have not been validated. These are generally free storage solutions that offer no guarantee of security for the data stored there.
Neither the organization nor the security expert then has any control over who can access the items stored there by employees. When it comes to personal or confidential professional data, this risk takes on a particular gravity.
The solution in this regard generally involves raising employee awareness of the risks associated with such practices and the caution they must exercise. The aforementioned IT charter can serve as an accountability tool to reinforce this awareness.
Awareness should also make it possible to raise employee awareness of risks such as:
- The usual scams;
- Passwords that are too weak;
- Multiple use passwords;
- The introduction of personal USB keys;
- The sharing of confidential professional elements;
- Spontaneous opening of attachments sent by strangers.
Becoming an IT security expert, therefore, requires being able to limit the risk linked to the human factor by empowering the staff. Establishing and popularizing procedures to follow in the event of loss of sensitive computer equipment is also part of this approach.
Control Wi-Fi access
Many organizations and companies have Wi-Fi hotspots installed on their premises, for the benefit of their workers. Sometimes unsecured, these openings which provide access to the internal network must systematically be closely monitored in order to secure data flows.
In the case of a Wi-Fi terminal whose range is high, it may even happen that the opening thus provided is accessible from outside the physical perimeter of the professional premises. An unauthorized person can then connect to it, which constitutes a major flaw and a risk of hacking.
To this end, becoming an expert in computer security implies being able to use appropriate and correctly sized equipment, properly configure such networks, and also to ensure relevant control of these access points.
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Control internet access
Access control is not limited to thwarting intrusions from the outside. Becoming an IT security expert also requires being able to exercise control over outgoing flows. This may require the use of a hardware or software firewall.
This tool offers the possibility of filtering all the content that passes through Internet access, without preventing workers from accessing the Web. Regular monitoring of the list of sites and resources considered to present a risk makes it possible to block any exchange with such sites.
Such an approach is amply justified because each of the company’s Internet access points, faced with specialized skills, can become an exploitable opening for an attack against the computer system.
For example, in the case of a system deployed on several physical sites and networked, an effective approach may consist of:
- Limit the number of internet accesses;
- Set up a virtual private network;
- Provide the entire network with single Internet access.
This type of approach makes it possible to simplify the control to be provided by reducing the number of access points which must be monitored.
Tip 4: Be paranoid
Be focused on saving
Becoming an IT security expert means constantly being able to ensure the security and durability of professional data. In addition to attacks, computer system failures can jeopardize the security of said data.
An efficient way to deal with such eventualities is to implement a data recovery solution. This type of solution also protects against ransomware attacks.
When able to recover a recent backup of its data, the organization does not have to pay the hackers behind the attack. However, this assumes that these backups were stored in a separate location from the one that suffered the attack.
One of the qualities to develop to become an IT security expert is to consider that an attack is always imminent and likely to occur.
This awareness develops all the more easily when we know that automated systems are constantly scouring the web in search of weak points to attack connected computer systems. No security is therefore final.
New flaws are thus constantly discovered and new attack methods are also constantly developed. Keeping this reality in mind makes it possible to react as it should in order to effectively ensure the protection of the computer system for which one is responsible.
Tip 5: Become an IT security expert: Strengthen your experience
If good training makes it possible to get used to the different types of systems that may exist, it is appropriate for anyone wishing to become an expert in computer security to diversify their work environments. This makes it possible to be confronted with multiple architectures and systems.
This diversity offers the advantage of enriching the experience that an IT security manager worthy of the name can boast of having. The various positions occupied within the successive organizations also make it possible to flesh out the career path of a person who aspires to become an expert in computer security.
In the sector, the budgets of organizations have been increasing for several years and many jobs are regularly created. It is therefore relatively easy to reinforce one’s experience.
Tip 6: Maintain technology watch
Computer attacks are constantly improving and evolving to surprise computer systems and their managers. Hackers use their imagination and creativity to successfully elude known protections.
In response to this dynamism & malevolence, the flaws discovered in the systems, software, applications and tools are the subject of frequent updates intended to provide corrective measures. Monitoring these two plans is essential if you want to become an expert in computer security.
The updates being provided free of charge by the editors, not keeping informed to take advantage of them and reinforce the security of the systems for which one is responsible would be a waste. Learn more about why updates are useful here.
Likewise, it is useful to keep abreast of the procedures and protocols used to thwart, contain or support the most common attacks. You must also be sufficiently imbued with it to be able to react to it appropriately, without losing control.
IT security risks related to several factors. The specifics of the system to be secured, the knowledge, experience and reflexes that characterize the person in charge of the issue as well as the extent of the risk linked to the human factor are major components.
While all these aspects constitute distinct and numerous variables, one constant brings stability to this apparent cacophony: the risk of attack is always present.
This constant, far from being reassuring, constitutes the major challenge that must be faced by anyone who aspires to become an expert in computer security.