Ever since Snowden exposed that ‘we are being watched’ and ‘how our personal data is being used by agencies’, data security, data privacy and data protection have become crucial for all business. Not just to secure qualified information related to their venture, but also to build trust among their users, businesses are actively investing time and resources in security. This not only includes data security but also network security, wherein businesses have to protect their systems from malware. All this directly affects the growing importance of a security engineer in the industry.
According to a Job Outlook Report, the profile of a Security Engineer is projected to grow by 12 per cent between 2016 and 2026. This rate is a faster rate than that of the average for all other fields.
So who exactly is a Security Engineer? What does he do? And how can you become one? Here’s all you need to know about the profile of a Security Engineer.
Who Is A Security Engineer?
As a Security Engineer, you are responsible for the IT security of the company. This means that you have to protect the systems, projects and softwares designed by your organisation from IT threats. So, does this mean that you fight threats as and when they come? No, you prepare for them. You build and maintain security systems that prevent such situations. You identify software vulnerabilities and possible threats that can arise due to them. Taking those into account, you build and test security systems. Basically, you plan ahead and combat issues even before they’ve occurred.
Along with that, you also monitor networks and systems for security breaches and intrusions. You keep track of the network security and keep your team abreast of any issues that arise. You also recommend methods, from a security perspective, for overcoming those issues. During active attack situations, your role is to mitigate damages as much as possible.
Role Of A Security Engineer
The role of a security engineer can be broadly classified into three major buckets.
Prevention And Preparation
First and foremost, as a security engineer, you build a process of prevention. You put in place systems, processes and tools that together become a protective shield for the IT systems of your company. This includes:
- Developing and executing security plans and policies.
- Building a response and recovery strategy for potential security breaches.
- Implementing tools for efficient prevention, detection and analysis of IT breach like firewalls, data encryption, etc.
- Preparing the workforce for possible security threats by making them aware of the security standards and policies.
Monitoring And Testing
Once you have security standards in place, your work doesn’t end there. Now you monitor networks and systems for security breaches. You are on the lookout for vulnerabilities, malware, breaches and anomalies. This includes:
- Conducting network scans regularly to identify vulnerabilities.
- Testing the strength of the system by conducting penetration tests wherein you launch an attack and gauge whether the system can combat it.
- Monitoring networks and systems for security breaches by detecting intrusions and anomalies.
Treatment And Recovery
This part of your role comes into play during an active attack. Once your system’s security has been breached, you not only mitigate the situation, you also ensure that your system recovers from the damages and is prepared for a similar situation in future. This includes:
- Investing the breach and figuring out how it occurred.
- Calculating and monitor the damages and minimizing the impact.
- Recovering from the impact and undoing the damages.
- Devising a plan of action to combat similar breach in future.
Security Engineering is a data-heavy job. Another data-centric role is that of a Data Scientist. Here’s all you need to know about the role.
Knowledge And Skills Required
Security Protocols And Standards
As a security engineer, you should be familiar with:
- Firewall and intrusion detection/prevention protocols
- Secure coding practices, ethical hacking and threat modelling
- Network and web-related protocols (e.g., TCP/IP, UDP, IPSEC, HTTP, HTTPS, routing protocols, etc.)
Security Tools And Technologies
Right from subnetting, DNS to VPN, VLANs and VoIP, you must know all network routing and security technologies. Along with that, you must be familiar with application security and encryption technologies too.
You should work towards finding the best tools for risk assessment and for testing your system. For that, you should have the expertise in penetration testing, vulnerability testing, and IDS/IPS. As an add on, you should also know about tools that can help you automate system testing and detection of breaches.
You should have knowledge about designing secure networks and systems. You must know about secure network architectures and ensure that your system or networks are designed adequately.
As a version control platform, GIT helps you detect anomalous changes to your projects. It is also important for collaboration. So, you must be familiar with GIT as a security engineer.
Certifications For A Security Engineer
You can stand out as a security engineer by getting certified in certain skills that are required for the profile. Some of them are:
- CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
- CCNP Security: Cisco Certified Network Professional Security
- GSEC / GCIH / GCIA: GIAC Security Certifications
- CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
In The End
In the industry, you’d often find the role of a security engineer packaged under synonymous profiles like Network Security Engineer, Information Assurance Engineer, Information Security Engineer, Information Systems Security Engineer. All of these profiles include similar roles and responsibilities and require you to have similar skills. Except for Network Security Engineer, wherein your primary focus becomes network security. And for that, your work gets more directed towards monitoring and maintaining LAN, WAN and server architectures. However, basic responsibilities remain the same.
Does the profile of a security engineer interest you? Wish to work in the field of IT security? Find opportunities for the role of security engineer in exceptional companies at Worskhip.