Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Career in Online Security



Career in Online Security
The recent report of NASSCOM says that there is a demand for two lakh information security professionals worldwide. As netizens, our lives stand exposed to the innumerable mishaps of the cyber world. For those who have a special place in their heart for computer science along with a knack of understanding the space of internet beyond the obvious, a career as an online security analyst could well be the ideal way to turn your passion into a fruitful career.
WHAT IS THE JOB?

The comfort of technology comes with the threat of criminal hackers who misuse confidential data available on the web. Online security analysts hack with legal permission to strengthen systems and make the system penetration proof. “An online security analyst is responsible for protecting all sensitive information within a company. They are responsible for insuring all networks have adequate security firewalls to prevent unauthorised access and must develop reports to share with administrators and stake holders in a company about the efficiency of security policies and recommend changes. Analysts also ensure that security systems are updated with any software or hardware changes in the company along with documenting security information in the company including physical and internet security,” explains Dr Zaki Qureshi, founder and chairman, E2labs Information Security, India’s first anti-hacking company. An online security analyst should understand the working of different protocols and services and should give viable solutions in case of security breaches.

Also, in the recent years, there has been an alarming increase in the number of email frauds and other cyber crime cases. In such a scenario, the demand for online security analysts has seen an unprecedented rise. Ankit Fadia, an independent computer security consultant says, “Online security analysts are ethical hackers. They are hired by leading companies, especially banking institutions, to secure their website as well as online transactions. Today, companies commonly employ a dedicated team of online security analysts who avert cyber crime on a daily basis.”
HOW DO I BECOME AN ANALYST?

In spite of the growing demand for professionals skilled in ethical hacking, there are only a few recognised institutes which offer complete training in ethical hacking. While a background in computer science is preferred, certifications are available which act as an advantage and provide an entry into the online security industry. Certifications help a person to understand the technical aspect along with training to deal with security breaches. Asian School of Cyber Law offers courses in cyber law and security. Month-long hacking courses like those conducted by Ankit Fadia Certified Ethical Hacker are available in more than 100 cities across India. You can also pursue a year-long PG Diploma course in Cyber Security and a two-year masters’ degree in cyber law and cyber security offered by IMT Ghaziabad. Some of the most well-known certifications are offered by the International Council of E-commerce. The certified ethical hacker is a certificate course offered by the organisation covering a basic area of ethical hacking and students can avail this programme in several study centers in Asia. 

While being computer savvy and gadget friendly are important pre-requisites, keen interest in networking and continuously updating programming skills are essential in this field. “While education in this field is an advantage, the most important skill required to be a successful online analyst is to have an insatiable passion for the newest developments in the field of computers and the ability to think like a criminal,” stresses Fadia.
WHAT IS THE INDUSTRY LIKE?

While there is no hard and fast rule to become a security analyst, training in ethical hacking along with programming knowledge is a good way to make an entry into the industry. Assessing risks, creation of high complexity security plans and the ability to defend the systems from dangerous attacks are some of the high points of this career. “An online security analyst’s job is more interesting than that of a regular programmer. It is almost like solving a mystery and a regular day at work involves hacking into the company’s website, finding out the security loopholes and developing programmes to fix it,” informs Gitesh Suchak, practice lead, Liquidhub, Hyderabad. Suchak’s opinion is echoed by Shyamoli Chattopadhay who has worked as a network administrator with Infosys. Says Chattopadhay, “The best part of the job is the delight of being a step ahead of the thief’s mind.” Due to the demand in this industry, starting salary ranges between four to six lakh per annum and experienced professionals can earn a salary of 30 to 40 lakh per annum.

So if you are looking to pursue something more exciting than programming and look forward to new challenges daily, you may want to consider becoming an online security analyst.  

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