The world we reside in is crowded with digital data, from our social media accounts to confidential financial data. A cyber security consultant focuses on protecting sensitive data coming from multiple aspects of the digital world. They minimize cyber risks and work hard to stop cyber attacks. 

With our increasing dependence on technology, data security risks are also on the rise. Therefore, the demand for cyber security consultants to let businesses protect data security risks has escalated. If you are looking forward to entering the cybersecurity industry as a consultant, you should acquire the following skills:

  • Cloud Security

Companies now prefer storing data and running applications on the cloud infrastructure. In this scenario, a cyber security consultant must have knowledge about the underlying cloud infrastructure. Cybersecurity professionals must know how to integrate authentication and identity management to make basic SaaS applications run securely. 

Cloud breaches often take place due to fake pages with stolen credentials. Businesses need cyber security consultants who are familiar with these tactics and can manage cloud security tools responsible for identifying and monitoring these schemes. 

Most companies are adopting multi-cloud strategies with open arms. Therefore, they also need people who have the knowledge to use these tools. It will ensure that they can work smoothly across different public cloud platforms.

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  • Application Security Development

Businesses need people with in-depth knowledge of DevSecOps concepts. Companies also need people with the capacity to collaborate closely with software development engineering teams. Communication skills are crucial here because engineering teams are often focused more on the functionality of products instead of their security. 

Cloud security consultants must increase their knowledge about application security development while keeping a flexible approach. Application security development is often beyond the direct control of the security teams. Always be prepared to adapt to new security culture and mindset while honing your skills in application security development.

  • Network Security

Network security is one of the most fundamental skills a cloud security consultant must possess. Most cyber security experts have a background in network security because understanding how networks work throws light on security basics. As long as you don’t understand how routers work, you won’t be able to defend networks strongly.

You should also have extensive knowledge of firewall logs and the basics of detecting and preventing intrusion. Several security professionals start their careers in computer support and walk on the path of a network administrator. Anyone who wants to become a cyber security consultant can follow this career path to build their skills gradually with time. 

  • Threat Intelligence Analysis

Several threat intelligence tools are available in the market these days. But professionals who can use the tools to analyze and contextualize security threat trends have a short supply. A cyber security consultant with knowledge about threat intelligence analysis is in huge demand in organizations. 

A cyber security consultant must possess curiosity, strong analytical skills, and the power to handle high-stakes pressure. It will ensure that they can become threat intelligence experts who can analyze digital forensics. They also need programming skills, particularly in Python.

Cybersecurity consultants should also try to gain experience working on incident response teams. There’s also a growing demand for professionals who can identify threats associated with AI and machine learning environments.

  • Risk and Compliance Auditing

You need to consider in which industry you are working as a cyber security consultant to develop skills in the risk and compliance auditing area. eCommerce companies usually need professionals with compliance knowledge about PCI DSS regulations. Professionals working in the medical industry should have knowledge about HIPAA compliance. 

Cybersecurity consultants should also try to become familiar with different data privacy regulations. Their ability to assess noncompliance risks will also be appreciated by companies. They should also understand the paperwork to file and security protocols to follow while complying with regulations. 

  • Penetration Testing/ Red Teaming

Developing penetration testing / red teaming skills often takes years. Therefore, companies often struggle with finding cyber security consultants with penetration testing and red teaming skills. These experts can help companies identify what’s broken, along with offering solutions to fix them. 

The best pen testers have a lot of bravado and confidence to hack everything. But they also need loads of classroom knowledge and hands-on experience to acquire these skills. Besides red teams, companies also look for blue teamers or people who can work as defenders. 

  • Identity and Access Management

Weak, compromised, and reused passwords are one of the major reasons behind data breaches inside an organization. Companies need cyber security consultants who can explain these threats to people. The professionals should be able to teach employees how to put up strong passwords using Google Authenticator or passwordless tools, like retina scans, fingerprints, and more. 

Businesses also need professionals to deal with identity and access management tools. They should be able to network privileges and manage them to keep organizations vigilant against intruders. Cybersecurity consultants should also be able to define access levels according to particular data sets while setting privileges per specific employee roles and responsibilities.

  • Mobile-Remote Computing

The pandemic saw the rise of remote working culture. Security teams spend a huge chunk of their time managing Remote Desktop Protocol servers and rolling out VPNs to allow employees to access corporate applications from home. Despite successful vaccination drives, several companies still support hybrid work situations.

Therefore, organizations will need security team members with the ability to manage RDP servers and VPNs. They also need to work well with employees and teach them how to divide their home networks for increased security.  

Wrapping up

If you want to acquire all the skills necessary to succeed as a cybersecurity consultant, you should enroll yourself in a professional course. The average annual salary of cyber security consultants is $116k per year. Experienced cyber security consultants can withdraw a monthly salary of six figures.

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