Cybersecurity: How To Get Started (A Detailed Guide 2021)

Cybersecurity is a systematic strategy to safeguard computers, networks, programs, and data from unauthorized access- and from being exploited.

To put it in simple terms, Cybersecurity systems are information technology security. Businesses and countries are beginning to recognize cybersecurity as a significant challenge due to complexity and the increasingly distributed attack.

Many companies now include information risk management as part of their daily practice to shield their sensitive internal pieces of information.

What do the stats say?

A report by Risk-based Security revealed that in the first nine months of 2019 alone, there was a shock by 7 data breaches. This figure doubled the number of records published in 2018 (112%) at the same time.

Medical services, retailers, and public entities experienced the most violations, with the perpetrators being responsible for most incidents.

As the frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks increase, agencies and organizations need to take steps to protect businesses, employees’ sensitive and closely guarded data.

It is primarily to those tasked with safeguarding information related to national security, health, or financial records.

In early March of 2013, the country’s top intelligence officials warned that cyber-attacks and digital espionage posed a leading threat to national security, even terrorism.

These cyberattacks are commonly used to access, alter or destroy sensitive information. Export money from users or disrupt normal business processes.

Cyber threats: The Cure!

Implementing effective cybersecurity systems is incredibly challenging today because there are more devices than humans, and attackers are becoming more innovative.

A successful cybersecurity approach has multiple security levels across a computer, network, program, or data that an individual wants to secure.

Selecting a unified threat management system can automate integrations across security products and expedite key security activities: detection, investigation, and remedy.

They expose new vulnerabilities, educate the public about the importance of cybersecurity and strengthen open-source tools.

Cyber-protection involves a combination of methods, technologies and processes to protect the privacy, integrity and accessibility of computer systems, networks, and data against cyber-attacks or unauthorized access.

Since organizational resources consist of multiple individual systems, an effective and efficient cybersecurity approach requires a concerted effort across all information systems.

The most difficult challenge in cybersecurity is that the ever-evolving nature of security puts them at risk. Due to this approach’s inadequacy, threats move and change more quickly than organizations continue to do.

As a result, consulting firms promote a more proactive and adaptive approach to cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity: The Key Takeaways!

It is the protection of Internet-connected systems like hardware, software, and data from cyber threats. The practice uses individuals and initiatives to protect against unauthorized access to data centers and other computerized systems.

Cybersecurity professionals constantly protect computer systems against a variety of cyber threats.

Cybersecurity protection is applicable in information technology includes computers, data networks, and all devices connected to or included in the network.

Networks may be routers and switches, all store technology that provides, manages, and removes data.

All information technology devices and facilities are to safeguard against technology intrusion, unauthorized use, and vandalism. Cybersecurity Certification Courses in the USA: An Overview 

How To Get Started in Cybersecurity Field?

Cybersecurity has become one of the hottest domains in the IT industry since the Y2K crisis.

From cyber-attacks to security breaches, organizations worldwide have been consistently attacked since the dawn of the millennium.

The demand for trained security experts has increased as private companies and governments tend to improve their cybersecurity posture.

Aspirants have a massive opportunity because there is an enormous gap between qualified professionals and available employment. There aren’t enough people to fill them.

Aspirants in cybersecurity programs should be exposed to various viewpoints and adequately prepared to deal with multiple challenges, such as communicating severe data security breaches to affected stakeholders and leading incident response to cyber-attacks.

As a result, this encompasses a wide variety of subjects, including but not limited to criminology, political science, public relations and marketing, corporate policy, and law, in addition to soft skills.

The Blatant Truth: Time to Bust Some Myths

Hacking isn’t the only thing that cybersecurity professionals do. The consistent portrayal of a person who is an ostracized loner who loves to wear a hoodie jacket, typing at a rapid speed, and has a face with digitally-rendered 1’s and 0’s. 

The root of this widespread misperception regarding cybersecurity professions being all about hacking is pretty daunting. You will see what I’m talking about if you look at the stock photos used in cybersecurity blogs.

Another common misconception is that you need to have a prior computer science degree to get into cybersecurity.

Truth be told, a bachelor’s degree isn’t the only way to get into the world of cybersecurity. What matters most is that you concentrate and search for a cybersecurity niche that matches your skills and interests.

Career Options: Stepping foot into Cyber Security!

You will have a wide range of career opportunities as a cybersecurity specialist in a variety of industries (e.g., finance, government, retail, etc.).

IT security, on the other hand, is a crucial subject. It’s unlikely that you’ll begin your career as a penetration tester or a security architect. So, how can you get your foot in the door in the first place? Begin with this guide.

It’s designed to assist someone considering a career change from a non-security sector. We’ve included tips on how to pick a first IT work, how to create your résumé, and how to get hands-on experience.

We’ve also included a list of hard IT skills and non-security certifications that will help you prepare for the future.

When considering applicants, keep in mind that the US government needs a CompTIA Security + Training Course that leads to certification.

It is an excellent cybersecurity foundation course for every student beginning a new career. CompTIA CySA+ Training Course and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Training Course are two other standard certifications.

Previous IT-related work roles will help you secure an entry-level spot. It will be easier to get a job if you have three to five years of IT experience. Having a solid infrastructure and development base will put you on the right side of the application board.

Cyber Security Experts: What do they do?

Cybersecurity is an exponentially expanding component of IT sector. Our lives are becoming increasingly digital-dependent, as are our money and reputations. Securing information as it passes to the cloud is becoming more and more difficult.

Security systems are monitored, tested and troubleshot by cybersecurity experts. They must be familiar with security devices, as well as how to operate and install them.

They can also formulate security policies and educate employees on proper security techniques and how to protect their data.

Things to keep an eye on:

Internet of Things (IoT): Learn how these systems can be manipulated and how to spot the loopholes.

The strength of network security is defined by the weakest link, which is often found inside an Internet of Things connected computer.

Have a basic understanding of how to use this technology. Yes, a bright light bulb will cause a security breach.

The Cloud: Many organizations, like the federal government, are switching to the cloud. Still, they are discovering that cloud-based applications can be manipulated as well.

From data breaches to account takeovers, there’s a lot to worry about it. Cyberattacks on these cloud-based systems could cost businesses millions of dollars.

It has the potential to bring an entire company down, as we have seen with numerous data breaches throughout history.

To gain a competitive advantage in the industry, keep an eye on what’s going on in those innovations.

Encryption Technology: To keep their networks hacker-proof, financial firms, credit card companies, government agencies, and private companies of all sizes need cybersecurity experts’ services specifically Cryptanalysts.

It would be best if you recognized how this technology develops to accomplish this.

Machine Learning: These technologies are evolving at a rapid pace. Threats and other potentially malicious behaviors may also be detected using AI.

Cybersecurity firms are using sophisticated algorithms to teach AI systems how to detect viruses and malware. AI can then perform pattern recognition in application software.

In a Nutshell: The above-detailed blueprint can turn the tide for your career as a cybersecurity aspirant. Consistency is the key- be focused! We’re not saying that things would be a piece of cake, but it will surely be a little less complicated.

Why is Cybersecurity Important?

Cybersecurity risks are increasing with the passage of time. They are powered by global connectivity and cloud services such as Amazon web services for storing sensitive data and personal information.

The broadly weak configuration of cloud services associated with increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals means that your organization is at increased risk of a successful cyber-attack or data breach.

The truth of this matter is that whether you are an individual or small business, or a large multinational, you will always rely on computer systems.

Combine this with the rise of cloud services, weak cloud service security, smartphones, and the Internet of Things (IoT), and the existence of a cybersecurity threat that we didn’t have decades ago.

We need to understand the difference between skill set and data protection, although skill sets are becoming more consistent.

Why are Cybercrimes spiking North?

One of the reasons cybercrimes are on the rise is the increased use of cloud services to store confidential data.

Most companies lack the storage and infrastructure necessary to keep all of their sensitive data in stable, off-site data storage facilities.

Even if they did, it would be challenging to discourage people from using cloud services for their day-to-day business activities.

If a company wants it or not, whether it likes it or not, business customers are almost certainly still relying on cloud services.

Data theft is the sneakiest and fastest-growing category of cybercrime. Industrial controls that operate power grids and other infrastructure may be disrupted or destroyed.

And while identity theft is not the only goal, cyber-attacks can compromise data integrity (data destruction or alteration) in breeding distrust of an organization or government.

Ransomware and phishing are the most common among all vulnerable vectors, but social engineering remains the most common cyber-attack method.

Another popular attack vector is third-party and fourth-party vendors that process your data and have weak cybersecurity practices, making vendor risk management and third-party risk management much more essential.

Since cloud resources are distributed, they are often stored in data centers worldwide for reasons of availability and redundancy.

Importance

Cyber-attacks are global, and hackers can infringe on government agencies. The National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) has warned businesses and citizens that use router-like network infrastructure devices worldwide.

The goal is to lay the groundwork for future attacks on critical infrastructure such as power plants and power grids.

Even small organizations are being threatened if they do not keep their security strong. Computer viruses and phishing were particularly prevalent, but 12% faced hacking, and 7% – multiple of 15 businesses – suffered data breaches. 

The importance of cybersecurity is growing. Fundamentally, our society is more technologically dependent than ever before, and there is no sign that this trend will diminish.

Personal data that could be the result of identity theft is now posted to the public on our social media accounts.

Sensitive information like social security numbers, credit card information, and bank account information, is now stored in cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive.

How hard is Cybersecurity Degree?

Many people wonder whether obtaining a cybersecurity degree is difficult. Certain degrees are more challenging than others.

Since cybersecurity is a relatively new specialization choice available at most universities, I wanted to investigate how difficult it is to earn a cybersecurity degree compared to other majors.

So, how difficult is it to get a cybersecurity degree? In comparison to other degree programs, a cybersecurity degree is usually average to above average in complexity.

Ph.D. in Cybersecurity is more complex than non-research majors like humanities or business, but not as tricky as research or lab-intensive degrees.

Learning Cybersecurity: A Comprehensive Guide

The computer and internet industry has jumped over the last two decades, and the field has seen a considerable increase in the number of career opportunities it has.

Cybersecurity is a field of skills that has interesting things to offer to anyone who wants to explore it and has the skills needed to master the area. Let’s find out, is it hard to learn cybersecurity? Let’s find out:

  • Little help from the books: There are several books on cybersecurity, ranging from guides to experts.
  • Reading books helps to gain insights into digital networks and their functionality, communication between network-enabled devices, or understanding the need to secure these devices.
  • This initial step helps you find the answer to the question – is cybersecurity challenging to get into?
  • Internet be the best teacher: There is an abundance of Cybersecurity posts written by leading experts that can be found on the internet. Reading articles like these will help you learn a lot about a topic.
  • It also introduces you to a variety of sources of information and cybersecurity expertise. Is it challenging to learn Cybersecurity, as you say? It will almost certainly be negative.
  • Ethical hacking: Understanding a threat is the best way to improve security against it. Ethical hacking helps you put yourself in the shoes of potential hackers and better understand the dangers you’ll have to work to avoid in the world of cybersecurity.
  • You can learn ethical hacking and advance your career as a Cybersecurity professional by using various organizations and platforms.
  • Specialization courses: There are various undergraduate and postgraduate technical courses in Information Technology and Cybersecurity in the US that provide an excellent foundation for you to get into the sector.
  • It’s never too late to change careers, and there are some specialization courses available to help you transition to Cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity: It’s Worth

Many universities and colleges have developed new graduate degree programs in cybersecurity to increase knowledge and concern about the growing cyber threats that face companies, governments, and individuals alike.

Although several of these projects are still in their early stages, others have been carefully crafted with feedback from field experts, local and national stakeholders, and business thought leaders who intend to equip cybersecurity professionals with lifelong learning skills and overcome them adversaries from both theoretical and tactical perspectives.

Why is Cybersecurity So Difficult?

Interested aspirants often ask questions like, “Why is Cybersecurity so difficult?” We sincerely hope that this article has dispelled most of the myths about this exciting and challenging area.

Cybersecurity is not challenging to learn and understand with the proper education and training, hard work, dedication, and a sincere interest in the field.

The internet runs the world today, and cybersecurity professionals will continue to play an essential role in making people’s lives easier and safer in the future.

Those who argue that cybersecurity is too tricky and time-consuming are simply perpetuating urban legends.

How Much Do Cybersecurity Specialists Make?

When it comes to the cybersecurity industry, the rising skills gap gets a lot of attention. The fact that this can lead to tremendous opportunities for professionals is sometimes overlooked.

We break down the multitude of well-paying and rewarding jobs available, as well as salary data for today’s cyber workforce:

  • Bug Bounty Specialist: You may have heard that by defeating cybercriminals at their own game, some freelance specialists will gain up to $500,000 or more.
  • Specialist Hackers can now safely pursue security bugs at companies ranging from Tesla to the Department of Defence thanks to so-called “bug bounty” firms.
  • This does not, however, imply that you should leave your day job to pursue bug bounties, as success in this area necessitates elite-level abilities.
  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO): This is the executive in charge of an organization’s information and data security; the greater the business, the higher the salary.
  • According to the InfoSec Institute, which lists a median salary of $145,000+, “while a few elite CISOs may earn close to $510,000, many make only a little over $99,000.” According to CSOonline.com, the median salary is $158,939, with a range of $130,000 to $309,000.
  • According to Forbes.com, the top end of the CISO salary range in San Francisco is $425,000. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, a cybersecurity executive “working for a mid-sized company is potentially looking at a $150,000 to $210,000 salary.”
  • Software Security Engineer: According to Cybersecurity Enterprises, this is a work for top coders and programmers with leadership abilities, “a special breed,” with wages above $225,000, more than even the CISO in other businesses.
  • Advanced software knowledge combined with executive-level “soft skills” will result in a lucrative senior management position in this situation.
  • Sales Engineer (Cyber Dept.): There is a steady influx of new and creative technology solutions to be offered, and cybersecurity isn’t all about engineering wizards minimizing attack surfaces and fending off hackers.
  • While most coders enjoy their work, higher pay is causing some to turn to sales. According to CSOonline.com, top cybersecurity sales engineers earn between $180,000 and $220,000 a year.
  • Cybersecurity Architect: According to the InfoSec Institute, an information technology or cybersecurity architect receives an average of $130,820 a year and does senior-level work designing organization-wide network and data security architecture.
  • “In addition to overseeing infosec awareness projects, creating and managing protocols, responding to and analyzing security incidents, and conducting risk assessments,” says the architect.
  • According to Cyberseek.org, the average salary for this job is $139,000, with 27.7% of employees requesting a master’s degree.
  • Penetration Tester: “Ethical hackers” are the experts who undertake this crucial task. More and more major companies are recruiting full-time staff or third-party contractors to hack their computer networks in order to find and fix bugs that cyber criminals might exploit.
  • According to Cyberseek.org, the average salary for penetration and vulnerability testers is $103,000, and 21.8% of those hired want an advanced degree.
  • According to Mondo.com, salaries for assisting in the identification of security flaws in both systems and policies will reach $135,000.
  • Information Security Analyst: U.S. News & World Report ranks this position #4 among Best Technology Jobs and #40 overall, with a median salary of $97,590.
  • Because of their broad range of duties related to preventing, tracking, and reacting to data breaches and cyberattacks, information security analysts are referred to as “the gatekeepers or security guards of information systems.”
  • Owing to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for this position is $98,150, and the job market for this position is rising at a rate of 31.3 percent, which is much quicker than the average for all occupations.

Growth Expectancy

Because of the ever-growing cybercrimes, cyber threats and cyber-attacks- cybersecurity salaries are likely to stay elevated, if not even rise in the future.

The demand for Cybercrime Investigators isn’t going away, as more and more people realize the importance of protecting their data, money, and identities.

In short, even by IT standards, cybersecurity professionals are well compensated, and they work in a growing sector with higher job security than others.

Cybersecurity Specialist: How Do You Become One?

Many security professionals begin their careers as network or security administrators. It definitely helps if you have a degree in information science or cybersecurity. Salary disparities are a result of variations in location and business size.

As previously stated, the government employs a large number of cybersecurity experts. Others work for financial institutions, military contractors, and, of course, IT services firms, especially those that manage data in the cloud for others.

There are also cybersecurity consulting companies and some experts can eventually go solo (as in freelancers) to make more money – and take on more risk.

Most businesses want their cybersecurity experts to be full-time workers, so consulting firms work for companies that are too small to recruit their own specialists. This implies that healthcare and other services will most likely be provided.

Nevertheless, because of the sensitive nature of the jobs, employers tend to retain workers on long-term contracts, which can help with job security and provide opportunities for retention incentives and advancement within the business.

Some businesses can employ in-house entry-level computer security specialists, period!

The Salary Hype!

Not every part of the United States has the same average income, which should be taken into account in your decision.

Finally, a cybersecurity specialist’s job is just the beginning. You can then carve out your own career path based on your interests and skillsets.

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t command a six-figure salary in the future if you work hard, get computer security training, cooperate well with your team, and demonstrate that you’re an asset to your business.

Cybersecurity Certification Courses in the USA: An Overview

In a world of increasing cybercrimes, a rigorous cybersecurity department’s need has become essential to every major organization.

Simultaneously, a profession in cybersecurity is becoming increasingly lucrative, with many students and professionals having a background or degree in computer sciences looking to dip their toes in this vast and growing discipline.

The stepping stone towards a successful career in cybersecurity arguably lies in attaining certification from a recognized institution or platform.

Cybersecurity certification programs are therefore becoming essential for young entry-level job seekers and professionals who wish to broaden their horizons and acquire additional skills that might assist in the advancement of their careers. 

Certification courses for cybersecurity in the US include various programs, each focused on the sharpening of a specific and particular skill related to cybersecurity.

It is of vital importance to mention that there exist dedicated academic organizations that specialize in various certification programs.

These include the (ISC)^2 or the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, CompTIA, GIAC, ISACA, to name a few.

Following is a deep rundown of some of the most popular and well-received certification programs offered by one or many of these organizations:

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) – This certification is one of the most popular ones in cybersecurity. It trains the aspirants in the offensive aspect of the cyber world.

They are instilling in them a knowledge and understanding of hacking techniques and technologies, system vulnerabilities, and standards related to worldwide information security. 

Individuals would find themselves capable of ensuring the protection and security of any network system- once they are armed with this training. Then they would be eligible for professions in network security. 

CompTIA Security+ – This certification is essential for beginners contemplating a profession in cybersecurity.

In rigorous coursework that takes about two years to complete, individuals train themselves in cybersecurity basics.

This crash course includes but is not limited to security policies and standards, network threats, disaster recovery, defense techniques, encryption standards, and products. 

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) – This is a highly specialized certification focusing on information security management.

The course includes training in security risk management, program development and management, and incident management and response.

Certified individuals become skilled in the overall process of managing, design and overseeing a security program. CISM aspirants, however, are required to possess at least five years of experience in cybersecurity.

CISM certification, therefore, helps boost the career of IT and cybersecurity professionals.

GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) – An entry-level certification, GSEC is essential for professionals seeking to obtain hands-on experience in various security roles.

Certified individuals are skilled in security management aspects, including prevention and identification of wireless attacks, management of passwords, fundamentals of cryptography, network mapping, and protocols.

However, the GSEC certification is required to be renewed every four years, and a certification management fee is also required. 

Certified Information Security Systems Personnel (CISSP) – CISSP certifications are held in great esteem in cybersecurity.

They are trained in access control, telecommunications, cryptography, and networking; to name a few, CISSP certified professionals are considered valuable assets by their employers.

It is essential to mention that CISSP certification is accessible primarily to professionals having a minimum of 5 years paid full-time experience, or four years for aspirants holding a degree.

CISSP certifications are pretty essential for career advancement in the cybersecurity field. 

Wrapping it up:

The above certifications are considered to be the most esteemed and essential ones in the cybersecurity universe.

Other necessary professional certifications training amateurs and novices in different aspects of cybersecurity include GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN), Certified in Risk and Information System Controls (CRISC), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP).