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Top Skills For a Career in Incident Handling & Response

With cyber incidents becoming more costly, organizations are on the hunt for skilled professionals with capabilities not only to assist in cases of malicious intrusions but also to prevent such incidents from happening in the first place. Here are some of the skills you’ll need for a successful career in Incident Handling and Response.

According to Ponemon Institute’s 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study, the average cost of a data breach globally is $3.86 million — a 6.4% increase from the 2017 report. Because cyber incidents can cause enormous  financial damage and reputational harm to organizations worldwide, Incident Response professionals have seen their career opportunities skyrocket.

Interested in building your career in Incident Handling and Response? Here are some of the top skills you’ll need to succeed in this field.

The first step into an Incident Handling & Response career is having the right practical skills. Experience is a must, as an organization’s assets and reputation are at stakes.

Strong Technical Skills
  • Security Vulnerabilities —Knowing the how, why, and where of cyber attacks is a strong plus for a career in any IT Security field. Indeed, as a professional or team member, recognizing and categorizing an organization’s weaknesses and performing vulnerability assessments, risk assessments, and penetration tests can go a long way in preventing attacks from happening in the first place.
  • Procedures & Policies Knowledge —The knowledge of the procedures and policies is a crucial skill for any Incident Handling and Response professional, SOC Analyst or CSIRT member. This background knowledge ensures the organization for which you work that you are proficient in handling intrusion situations perfectly.
  • Intrusion Techniques —While it’s good to know how to defend against cyber threats, it’s also useful to know where those threats lie, what attack vectors your company is vulnerable to, what techniques and/or tools might be used by attackers to gain access, and how to analyze what happened after a breach. Intrusion and evasion techniques are highly recommended skills any security pro just must have.
  • Digital Forensics —To satisfy a career in Incident Handling & Response, you’ll have to know how to investigate after a breach. In other words, you have to be able to find the author of a breach, what happened, what information was compromised, where the attack originated from, how it occurred, and how the organization was vulnerable. This requires excellent incident analysis skills and very good knowledge of the tools required to do so.

While having strong technical skills is a must for a career in Incident Handling and Response, some personal or soft skills come highly recommended.

Personal Skills 
  • Ability to Remain Composed —If you’re a naturally stressed person, you might want to reconsider career paths. The ability to remain calm and think straight about your company’s policies and procedures to follow during a breach comes a long way and is a crucial skill for careers in Incident Handling and Response.
  • Communication Skills —Not everybody in your organization speaks Cybersecurity. Being able to explain to non-tech executives and/or PR teams what happened and what’s the best remediation plan in your own words will not only make you a valuable asset, but will also ensure that there’s no miscommunication in time of crisis.
  • Organization Skills —When a breach occurs, most professionals tend to lose their ability to think straight. Even when stressed, good organization skills will help you through each step on the way to recovery.

In a world where a cyber attack happens every 39 seconds on average, getting further knowledge in Incident Handling and Response is a wise choice for all professionals in the InfoSec field. If you’re a straight red-teamer, IR might sound boring for you… But rest assured, it can be quite challenging. 😉

Interested in learning how to professionally analyze, handle, and respond to security incidents? Check out our newly-launched Incident Handling and Response Professional (IHRP) training course.

Sources: Bank InfoSecurity, Bank InfoSecurity, Hack2Secure

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