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Corporate cybersecurity departments are led by well-trained and highly qualified cybersecurity managers. They lead teams of IT professionals whose job it is to keep the company’s IT infrastructure secure and prevent sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.
Cybersecurity managers are part technologist and part manager. They should be familiar with modern security software, protocols, practices and regulations. They must also have managerial skills to work across departments and interact with senior management.
What skills and knowledge does a cybersecurity manager need?
The skills of cybersecurity managers fall into two categories: technical skills and soft skills. Hard skills are related to technology, while soft skills are managerial. These two skills are necessary to be a good manager.
Technical skills include the following:
- Intrusion detection and prevention. This is at the heart of the task of cybersecurity. Successful security practitioners must be able to use an intrusion detection system and identify any suspicious network traffic or activity.
- Identity and access management. Managers should be familiar with best practices for identity and access management. They must ensure that the security policy demonstrates acceptable use for various roles and responsibilities within the organization.
- Handling and responding to security incidents. Security practitioners must be able to manage the full spectrum of threats and compliance with organizational security policies or standard security practices. Threats include DDoS attacks and different types of malware, such as viruses, ransomware, and phishing.
- SIEM. Security managers must be able to analyze SIEM tools and services. They must be able to create automation with the SIEM tool and create incident response plans based on real-time analysis of alerts.
- Audit and regulatory compliance. Experienced security practitioners should be able to perform in-depth reviews of the organization’s compliance with regulatory guidelines. The regulations include HIPAAFederal Information Security Management Act, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, PCI-DSS and GDPR. Failure to comply with regulations can result in significant fines and penalties.
- Development of application security. Managers should have a good working knowledge of the testing and quality assurance phase of internal development. These skills are very vertical and best left to domain experts; however, a good working knowledge of finding, fixing, and preventing vulnerabilities in local applications can’t hurt.
General skills include the following:
- Direction. Managers are expected to lead and set an example for their subordinates. Demonstrating understanding of issues, whether it’s configuring a firewall or talking about RSSI compliance, inspires confidence.
- The passion to learn. The threat and compliance landscapes are constantly changing, so security managers need to stay up-to-date with the latest security trends, technologies, and challenges.
- Collaboration. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility within the organization. Security managers cannot and do not work in isolation. Managers must ensure that security policies are not only in place, but followed by all departments.
- Critical mind. To fight bad actors, security managers need to think like them. A good defense against pirates is necessary, but a good attack can solve a problem before it becomes one.
What are the responsibilities of a cybersecurity manager?
The technical work of cybersecurity managers falls into two categories: monitoring and maintenance. Here are some of those tasks:
- Monitor all operations and infrastructure. This includes regularly reviewing security alerts and checking logs.
- Monitor compliance with internal and external policies. This ensures that employees and suppliers adhere to risk management policies.
- Monitor regulatory compliance. This is especially important in highly regulated industries, such as finance and healthcare.
- Manage security tools and other technologies used to secure the network. Managers should conduct regular audits of policies and controls to ensure they are being adhered to.
- Keep security on the radar of C-level executives. This is necessary to ensure that security remains a budgetary and strategic priority. Managers should not assume that C-levels monitor security issues. They have a lot to follow.
- Keep up to date with technological developments. The cybersecurity landscape is constantly changing. Managers must constantly evaluate new technologies and policies and be prepared to implement new systems and policies.
- Work with different departments. The security service does not work in isolation. Managers will likely be tasked with working across many departments of an organization to keep everyone on the same page.
- Manage resources. Cybersecurity managers need the right mix and number of employees, as well as the right technologies, to run a successful department.
- Mitigate the risk of attacks by adapting strategies to new attack styles. This includes regularly auditing business practices to advance cybersecurity strategies rather than letting them become stale and ineffective.
How to Become a Cybersecurity Manager
A bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity is a great start, but to really excel, a master’s degree in cybersecurity management is essential.
The guide to cybersecurity website lists what he considers to be 75 Best Masters Programs from all over the country. It includes online courses from schools such as the University of California, Berkeley; Virginia Tech; Arizona State University; and the University of Washington.
There are also online learning organizations that offer recognized and accredited cybersecurity programs. These are not university degree programs, but they do offer mandatory certificate programs for cybersecurity professionals of all levels. Programs include CISSP and Information Systems Security Management Professional.
Learn more here about the difference between certifications and diplomas.
How Much Does a Cybersecurity IT Manager Earn?
Similarly, a site specializing in salary comparisons, noted the average cybersecurity manager in the United States earns $117,580 per year. Managers in San Francisco earn the most at $172,000 a year, 46% more than the US average.
ZipRecruiter recruitment site noted the average annual salary is $136,625 per year, with a maximum of $171,000. Glassdoor puts the average at $122,730, with a high of $191,000.
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This was last published in January 2022
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