What Skills Should Your IT Security Team Have?

In this digital age, cybersecurity is a necessity. And given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more businesses are in need of cybersecurity solutions to protect their data against hackers. So, it is no surprise that the market for IT professionals has grown exponentially.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security analysts’ job outlook is expected to grow by 31% from 2019 to 2029.

Demand is expected to rise as companies and institutions inevitably require new cybersecurity policies in the process of migrating to the online sphere. Skilled IT professionals who know how to implement digital security measures can create these processes.

Here’s a list of five essential skills that your IT security team needs in order to protect the company from cyber-attacks.

5 Critical Security Skills Every IT Team Needs

1) Data Analysis

Data science has been making leaps and bounds in terms of progress, primarily due to all the technological innovations in the digital sector in recent years. To create an effective cybersecurity strategy, IT professionals need to know how to gather data and then utilize it to adopt better security measures.

Iqbal H. Sarker, a research-based Ph.D. student from the Swinburne University of Technology, writes that the utilization of data science helps in making more intelligent decisions regarding cybersecurity systems and services.

One such system includes machine-learning programs. By inputting data into machine-learning systems, one could potentially automate cybersecurity processes. Other cybersecurity systems include algorithm-driven software and AI technology. A competent IT professional must know their way around these systems and know when to utilize them, depending on the situation.

2) Project Management

Another crucial skill is project management. IT security teams will likely be handling more than one aspect of cybersecurity.

There will be a need for a host of strategies to guard against insider threats, external threats, and general data protection policies. Not only this, but the team must also ensure that digital security programs are up-to-date and that all potential weak points in the system are addressed.

Given this, IT professionals need to be skilled at multitasking and be aware of what they need to prioritize.

3) Incident Response

IT professionals should also be skilled in incident response. This entails having the foresight to create backup plans in case of minor hindrances or even full-on cyber attacks. They’ll need to create a detailed Computer Security Incident Response Plan (CSIRP), a guide map explaining how the company will respond to different security threats.

The CSIRP should include plans in case of cyber attacks, malware, insider threats, and other forms of risks.

Moreover, should there be any unforeseen hindrances, IT professionals must be ready to adapt and think of solutions on the fly. Finally, the incident response also covers what happens after the said incident — writing reports, recalibrating IT systems, and planning how to improve them.

4) Business Skills

Business skills might seem out-of-place in this list, but you’ll find that it’s more important as the digital age continues to progress.

The job of an IT professional spans multiple sectors, which is why they require in-depth knowledge of each, including that of the business industry.

After all, security measures are more effective when they’re tailor-fit for the situation. In this regard, such policies will have to adhere to certain business norms and structures.

Fortunately, plenty of universities across the country have started including business courses in their IT curriculum. Maryville University’s online cybersecurity program highlights the importance of business literacy in creating a robust digital defense for the private and public sectors. The university’s cybersecurity degree is part of John E. Simon School of Business to ensure their IT graduates are prepared for dynamic business-driven environments.

Educational and training institutions for IT security are now beginning to recognize the importance of building up the business skills of tech professionals so they can function well in a digital-driven organization. Some of these crucial skills are time management, collaboration, and leadership.

5) Soft Skills

Finally, your IT professionals require an array of soft skills. These are often forgotten in the context of the tech industry, but it would be a mistake to disregard them.

There is a long list of soft skills required for an IT professional to ensure that they function well in their work environment. Communication is one of the most important, seeing how IT team members need to discuss strategies among themselves and then relay it to their employers. Other soft skills include creativity, flexibility, and determination.

In fact, educational institutions are beginning to realize the need for soft skills in a tech-focused world — if not them, at least their students are. A Montana State University computer science student, Zachary Schallenberger, admits that college lacked in teaching him basic interpersonal skills, like communication. It was only later as a professional that he was forced to hone it.

Soft skills like communication, though seemingly unrelated to tech, exist to complement the more technical skills. Although the planning comes from the IT security team, the entire organization plays a part in executing IT strategies. So, by knowing how to talk to people, you can communicate your IT strategies in an effective manner and ensure that nothing gets lost in translation.

These are the skills needed for a competent IT security team. As you can see, it doesn’t just take technical know-how, but also industry knowledge and communication skills.

When looking for IT professionals for your company, keep these skills in mind because finding individuals who fit the bill will save employers a lot of stress in the future. After all, cybersecurity starts with hiring the right professionals.

Written by: Allie Cooper