Cybersecurity protects people, the economy and government

Cybersecurity is part of all Americans’ daily lives. The Department of Homeland Security states, “Our daily life, economic vitality, and national security depend on a stable, safe, and resilient cyberspace.”  On a personal level, it is not uncommon for people to have fraudulent charges on credit cards, find their login information stolen, or be victims of email scams. On a larger scale, local governments are hacked and held hostage, healthcare systems have medical records leaked, and retail businesses have credit card information stolen. With every level of our personal lives, economy and government on the Internet, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance designated October as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) in 2004 to keep all Americans secure online.

However, even with increasing awareness, there is a growing need for cybersecurity professionals. The US Department of Commerce says, “Cyber-crime is now the number one threat to the United States national security. As more people take advantage of online shopping, banking, and social networks to communicate with friends and family, they expose themselves to potential cyber threats.”

High Demand for Analysts
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects information security analysts employment will grow 31 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the projected growth rate of 4 percent for other occupations.   The demand is increasing as the need increasing. Government and military organizations are not the only ones facing the need for cybersecurity. Businesses need cybersecurity specialists to keep them safe. The growing remote workforce means that outside forces are a bigger threat to a business’s information, plans and transactions threats than ever before. The Bureau of Labor says that analysts will need to create innovate solutions to prevent hackers from stealing information or disrupting networks, create data transfer plans and develop recovery plans if an incident happens.

“Information security analysts must stay up to date on IT security and on the latest methods attackers are using to infiltrate computer systems. Analysts need to research new security technology to decide what will most effectively protect their organization,”  the BLS states.  This means it will be increasingly important for cybersecurity analysts to have continual education. Businesses that depend on security analysts to keep their businesses safe and secure can develop strong cybersecurity with employees that seek higher education and professional development. Employer tuition assistance plans help employees attain the degrees and additional certifications that ensure they can meet new threats and secure business data. Employer tuition assistance will help cybersecurity analysts develop the important skills they need to be most effective.

Relevant Skills for Analysts
Employees who seek higher education and professional development need to develop relevant skill they will need on the job. In additional to technical expertise, cybersecurity personnel need analytical skills to assess risks and problem- solving skills to respond to security alerts or breaches. They also need complementary creativity and ingenuity to find new ways to protect their company’s computer systems and networks.  Cybersecurity analysts must have communication skills to be able to work with co-workers, executives and outside sources. They must be able to coordinate between the company, clients, outside vendors such as PR and media teams. In addition to this, security analysts must have teamwork skills. Cybersecurity threat prevention or solutions to problems do not involve one person. Security analysts needs to see how their specific tasks fits into the whole and contributes to a larger goal.

Employers that support their cybersecurity analysts with continual education are playing an important role in the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. There is a strong need for cybersecurity as businesses have transitioned to remote work and working conditions may be different moving forward. “Remote work has been vital to the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic and is likely to be equally vital in the economic recovery. Therefore, the need for cybersecurity professionals with the skills to secure our digital infrastructure remains very robust, even in the midst of the worst global pandemic in the last 100 years, said Will Markow, managing director of human capital management and emerging technologies at Burning Glass Technologies. Businesses that use their tuition benefits and develop strong cybersecurity teams will be secure during the pandemic and in a position to lead the economy to a strong recovery.

By Kathleen Eischeid, Edcor Business Development Coordinator