The most important skills for security professionals this year: The security industry consists of various job roles that require a range of specialist and soft skills. As the nature of threats to businesses and individuals is constantly changing, continuous professional development is vital for security professionals.
Everyone employed in the industry, from security guards, close protection officers, analysts and ethical hackers all have a great responsibility.
Here are some essential skills that will enhance your career as a security professional this year.
This is the foundation of all security skills. Physical security includes multiple layers of co-dependent systems such as:
- CCTV cameras
- Perimeter fencing and walls.
- Locks, keys and codes
- Deterrents such as anti-vandal paint and barbed wire
- Intruder alarms
- Anti-theft alarms
- Security guards
- Panic buttons
However, it’s not enough to know what these systems do, you need to gain practical knowledge of how physical security works in different settings, including offices, retail environments, warehouses, transport, etc. An introductory training course such as Introduction to physical security is a great place to start.
Leadership and Management Skills
Leaders in the security industry aim to help make the business more successful and reduce the risk posed by threats. This involves developing strategies, managing staff, problem solving and logistics.
Security Management is that part of a business where a united set of security and resilience functions are managed to protect the business, its brand, employees, assets, and data by the use of multiple layers of mutually dependent systems.
To progress your career to management level, you’ll need strong knowledge of the following:
- Threat identification
- Security, Fraud and Resilience Risk Assessments
- Production and Implementation of Policies and Procedures
- Setting a Security and Resilience Strategy and Culture
- Providing Training and Awareness
- Monitoring and Auditing Effectiveness
- Compliance with Regulations and Standards
We live in the age of widespread data collection, but data on its own doesn’t mean much. It needs specialist analysis to draw conclusions and take appropriate actions to improve outcomes.
In the security industry, performing detailed data analysis with the information available to you will help protect a business from various threats that may harm staff, damage brand reputations, or even result in loss of income.
Security data analysis is particularly focussed on threat analysis. It aims to reduce the risks associated with security breaches and to mitigate threats before they can be exploited.
Threat Analysts are dedicated specialists within a security team who are responsible for identifying and assessing security threats. They have high levels of technical, analytical and communication skills as they often conduct specialised investigations and write high-level technical reports. It is a highly skilled role and requires a lot of attention to detail and dedication to continuous learning and improvement.
You’ll need confidence working with large databases, querying data and creating user-friendly dashboards. This also means careful analysis and drawing meaningful conclusions from the data using your own experience, helping to make data-driven decisions within your organisation.
In the event of a security breach, having the ability to react swiftly and appropriately is essential for any security professional. Whether you encounter a physical security incident such as a trespassing or theft, or a cybersecurity incident such as a data breach or malware attack, professionalism and training is key to responding successfully.
Physical security incidents can quickly escalate into violent or dangerous situations that could result in someone getting hurt, so swift and professional responses can prevent a lot of harm. Cybersecurity or fraudulent activity can also cause extreme distress to victims.
Successful responses to security incidents require:
- Specialist training according to the sector or industry
- Quick reaction times
- Physical fitness
- Ability to remain calm under pressure
- Communication skills
- Attention to detail
These skills can be developed through workplace experience, mentoring and specialist training courses.
Cybersecurity professionals require the hard and soft skills listed here, but also specialist skills which are specific to the nature of the role.
If you want to get started learning the basic skills as well as learn about the possibilities of a rewarding and challenging career in cyber security, we offer an introductory course.
Here are some examples of different specialisms within cybersecurity.
All computer and mobile devices are networked. That means that they can essentially ‘talk’ to other computers via wired or wireless networks. Some networks are public-facing, such as online storefronts, websites and apps that allow customers to interact with the service. Other networks are private or internal-only, for example a companies’ internal messaging system or file storage ‘shared drive’.
Both public and private networks are at risk of being compromised by criminals. Often, criminals don’t target specific company networks, but any vulnerability or insecurity will be taken advantage of, simply because it is there.
Which is why network security is so essential for home and business users. In a business setting, a network security incident is a disastrous scenario.
Network Administrators, engineers and technicians can complete the Certified Network Defender certification to learn all aspects of network security. It is an in-depth course with an exam to assess your knowledge.
Ethical hacking is a professional career within the cybersecurity sector. It is an important aspect to modern risk management within an organisation, as new threats are constantly emerging. Also, malicious hackers have taken advantage of the global pandemic to commit more cyberattacks, so ethical hackers are in extremely high demand right now.
An ethical hacker aims to stay ahead of criminal hackers. They identify vulnerabilities and ultimately make IT systems more secure for businesses, banks and Government organisations.
To become an ethical hacker, you’ll need to undertake specialist training. The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) program provides a broad foundation to all cyber security professionals, beyond penetration testing.
Data is a valuable currency in the modern world. Every online service, website, app, device and social media platform collects data on their users. This data is often sensitive in nature, containing personal details, contact information, private communications, photographs, biometric data and even people’s hopes and fears are revealed by deep diving into someone’s mobile phone activity.
Unfortunately, criminals can make use of this data for malicious purposes, such as blackmail, releasing private photographs, commercial sabotage and financial gain.
Compromised data such as usernames, passwords, email addresses and credit card numbers are often sold or published on the dark web, but data protection experts aim to stop data breaches before it reaches this stage.
As criminals devise more sophisticated methods, it’s up to cybersecurity experts to keep everyone’s personal data safe.
Soft Skills for All Security Professionals
Soft skills are just as important in the security industry. It’s easy to overlook soft skills, but they can make you stand out above other candidates during the recruitment process. Soft skills are valued in all sectors, but these are the most important areas for security professionals to focus on.
Collaboration and Teamwork
All security professionals require individual levels of expertise, but all security roles fit into a wider operation involving others. It’s essential that you have the ability to cooperate, collaborate and work alongside others to have a successful career in this industry.
As a security professional, you’re highly likely to be interacting with clients and members of the public. Customer service is a highly transferrable skill that is easily demonstrated by previous work experience and during interviews.
Communication is arguably one of the most important soft skills for a security professional. All messages, written and verbal need to be clear, concise and contain enough detail to accurately convey the meaning without risk of confusion by the recipient.
Your written and verbal communication skills should be excellent. Listening skills are just as important. You should also be able to absorb and process information quickly and be able to take appropriate action at short notice.
Summary: Important Skills for Security Professionals in 2021
Our range of security courses have been designed for individuals that want to develop their security knowledge through accredited professional development, with each course designed to increase the skills, knowledge and experience of security professionals and those that want to enter the security industry as a new career.
In addition to this, you’ll also need to be extremely passionate about cyber security in general. Remember that things are always changing, so you need to be especially willing to continuously improve and learn new skills.