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6 Top Cybersecurity Skills You Need to Master in 2023

Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmers Use Computer, Talk Strategy, Discuss Analysis.

Globally, cyberattacks increased by 38% in 2022. For most businesses, the question is not if they will experience a cyberattack, but rather when. These attacks can cause massive financial harm and destroy a company’s reputation. For small businesses, the cost of such an attack was nearly $3 million in 2021.

It’s no wonder cybersecurity analysts are in such high demand. The right cybersecurity skills can shield a company from harm, offset the costs of an attack and repair broken reputations when the worst happens. Consumers often look to see what companies are doing to protect their security, and a skilled team of threat experts can be a powerful branding opportunity. 

Companies pay handsomely for cybersecurity skills because they are becoming more and more critical. In 2021, the median pay for information security analysts was $102,600 per year, with a projected 10-year growth rate of 35%. This means that you'll not only be well-compensated, but also enjoy exceptional job security and a seller’s market. 

But to be a great cybersecurity analyst, you need the right skillset. A quality cybersecurity degree program can help you build and sharpen these skills, but you’ll need to hone your skills for the rest of your career. After all, threats are constantly changing. 

Here are the skills you need to have to counter the work of cybercriminals: 

1. Threat Intelligence and Analysis

It’s one thing to respond to and counter threats. But by the time this happens, there has already been significant damage. Exceptional cybersecurity analysts instead work to identify, manage and prevent threats. 

Some skills you’ll need to do this include: 

  • An evolving knowledge of emerging threats, how they manifest and your areas of exposure. 
  • An understanding of the behavioral elements of cyber vulnerabilities. For example, a person giving away their password exposes an organization to crime even if you do a great job securing the network. 
  • Threat intelligence about the early signs of an ongoing or emerging attack. 
  • Flexibility in adapting to new threats based on your risk mitigation goals and the specific requirements of your company. 

2. Organization and Project Management

Cybersecurity analysts often work as part of a team. And if you climb the corporate ladder, you may end up leading a team. This demands project management skills, strong leadership ability and a willingness to delegate. But even if you’re not in a management role, you must excel at organizing tasks and prioritizing needs. 

Some specific instances in which you’ll use these skills include: 

  • Developing a daily or weekly threat scanning routine. 
  • Developing a system for assessing and monitoring threats and determining which you have appropriately managed. 
  • Identifying which threats should take the highest priority. 

3. Cloud Security

Cloud-based technologies offer a myriad of benefits. Employees can access their data anywhere, and information is protected in the event of a natural disaster, equipment damage or theft. But cloud storage is also vulnerable to cyber threats, whether from within the organization or from outsiders. 

Cloud security skills are an absolute must. You will need to become an expert in identity and access management, in addition to: 

  • Managing and overseeing permissions, including when employees leave, get promoted or join new projects. 
  • Assessing risk, such as by determining which permissions are appropriate for which team members. 
  • Adapting security measures to a company’s changing needs. 
  • Encrypting data and preventing unsecured access. 
  • Ensuring cloud services are securely configured. 
  • Shopping for appropriate cloud management technologies. 

4. Communication

Soft skills are the key to success in every industry. In cybersecurity, they are nonnegotiable because so much of your job will involve understanding organizational needs and educating employees about evolving threats. 

Cybersecurity isn’t just about using technology wisely. You’ll also need to be an exceptionally good communicator. This is because half the battle is teaching people how to use technology wisely, such as by not accessing sensitive information from a public network or not leaving a public computer logged into your company’s cloud storage system. 

Some especially crucial communication skills include: 

  • The ability to succinctly explain cybersecurity issues in a language people can understand. 
  • Exceptional in-person and email communication. 
  • The ability to advocate for certain security measures. 
  • Patience when teaching people about new technologies your company implements. 
  • A professional and respectful manner when working with other cybersecurity professionals.

5. Secure Software Development

Software applications are increasingly prominent across all industries. Unfortunately, this is also a point of potential vulnerability, especially when people have the power to install and use any random application they find. 

Cybersecurity experts must balance the competing demands of keeping the company secure with the very real benefits these applications offer. In some cases, you can’t achieve perfect security and will have to settle for mitigation strategies when your company uses a comparatively less secure application because it’s convenient. 

To navigate this, you’ll need to know how to: 

  • Educate your team about best practices and adapt when a company doesn’t want to use them. 
  • Develop secure software on behalf of your company or oversee development by another team. 
  • Educate yourself about software applications and emerging security threats that may affect them. 


6. Incident Response and Digital Forensics

In an ideal world, you would prevent every cyberattack. However, our world is not ideal. No threat management system is perfect, and no cybersecurity analyst can anticipate every possible threat. 

This is why it’s so critical to master the art of incident response and the science of digital forensics. This ensures you can swiftly respond to security incidents, identify the source of breaches and minimize their impact. These skills can also mitigate fallout in terms of brand reputation and image. Consumers want to know you’re working overtime to prevent breaches from getting worse. 

To successfully respond to incidents, you must be able to: 

  • Understand your local regulatory and reporting climate to remain legally and ethically compliant. 
  • Collect and analyze digital evidence to determine the cause, scope and impact of a cyberattack.
  • Avoid a defensive posture. Instead, you’ll need to learn from each attack to reduce the fallout from future attacks. 
  • Educate your team about attacks, including what they could have done differently to prevent them. 

By mastering these key cybersecurity skills in 2023, you will be well-equipped to navigate the ever-changing threat landscape and effectively secure corporate digital environments. Whether you want to work for a business, advise a government agency or even run your own cybersecurity business, a degree in cybersecurity offers many opportunities for skills development. Now is a great time to dive into this exciting and evolving field. 

An online degree program is a great way to complete your degree quickly. When you take your classes online, the learning process is made easier. Download our “What to Expect from an Online Degree Program” Guide for more details. 

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