Gone are the days when a business could push the responsibilities of cybersecurity on general IT staff. Over two-thirds of businesses experience a cyberattack every year, and most recognize that cyberattacks are becoming more targeted, more powerful, and more devastating with each passing month. When a cyberattack succeeds, even to a minor degree, a business will lose an estimated $5,000 in lost opportunities and $23,000 in downtime. It should go without saying that every organization needs a team of dedicated cybersecurity professionals working to keep their digital systems safe.
But, in a field filled with a multitude of specializations, what kind of cybersecurity professionals should make up a basic business InfoSec team? The following InfoSec roles are essential for building and enforcing an effective cybersecurity strategy in 2022 and beyond:
Every team needs a leader. Over recent years, IT has become such a critical function within organizations that IT leadership has risen to among the most important executive roles, and the same is happening with cybersecurity. Without effective leadership from a CISO, cybersecurity teams will rapidly become unaligned in their goals and strategies, resulting in gaping vulnerabilities that allow cyber attackers easy access to valuable systems and data.
Leaders in cybersecurity need to be equally skilled in information security and business management. To build a strong strategy, they need to understand the best tools and techniques for defending against existing threats within the digital architecture of their organization. Just as importantly, cybersecurity leaders need to keep their team accountable to shared goals, communicate effectively, and drive morale alongside performance. With a strong, capable leader in place, cybersecurity teams will always reach success.
Organizations often outsource software development, which results in limited software development experience amongst in-house IT teams. However, because so many vulnerabilities are housed in poorly designed or implemented software tools, it is imperative that an organization maintain at least one cybersecurity team member with software development experience.
The software developer on the cybersecurity team should fill two critical positions: providing cybersecurity expertise to software development projects and offering the InfoSec team insight into software tools for a stronger security strategy. Because this professional offers so much benefit to the organization, they are a must-have member of the IT team.
Threat Intelligence, Intrusion Detection, and Incident Management
This critical component of cybersecurity is concerned with identifying issues before they occur (or as soon as possible after they occur) and taking the right steps to resolve the issue with minimal damage. The three areas within this component include:
Threat intelligence involves collecting information on existing and emerging threats, such as motives, targets, attack behaviors, and more.
Intrusion detection is the creation of systems that monitor networks and databases for suspicious activity and send alerts when such activity is detected.
Incident management is the response to unplanned events that interrupt service and threaten business operations.
In larger organizations, these roles might be separated into three different workers — even three different teams of workers — but in smaller companies, one exceptional worker should be able to manage the required responsibilities of all roles.
Cybersecurity is a field dedicated to mitigating risk by defending against various threats, but there should be at least one member of the IT security team who is tasked with understanding and addressing risk through controls and auditing. These workers conduct assessments to find vulnerabilities that the rest of the team may have overlooked. What’s more, it is increasingly important that cybersecurity teams have members committed to issues of compliance, as government agencies around the world develop more robust regulations on digital data collection and management.
Organizations assemble cybersecurity teams to protect their data, but data is also a tool used by cybersecurity teams to improve their tools and strategies. A data analytics professional is capable of identifying patterns from raw data and delivering actionable information to cybersecurity teams and leaders. If an organization already maintains a data analytics team, it might be leveraged for use in improving the performance of cybersecurity. However, it is always best to have a dedicated data analytics professional on the cybersecurity team, as they will have more time and energy to devote to ensuring top-quality protection of digital assets.
IT staff tend to be intelligent and hardworking, but many lack the unique skills and knowledge essential for developing and maintaining comprehensive cybersecurity. Organizations just beginning to differentiate their cybersecurity efforts from IT need to hire for the above fields, which will allow for effective cybersecurity in the future.