What Cybersecurity Professionals Do:
Information security analysts, web developers, and computer network architects all use information technology (IT) to advance their organization’s goals. Security analysts ensure a firm’s information stays safe from cyberattacks. Web developers create websites to help firms have a public face. Computer network architects create the internal networks all workers within organizations use. (source: Dept. of Labor, including below).
Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization's computer networks and systems. Their responsibilities are continually expanding as the number of cyberattacks increase.
Information security analysts typically do the following:
- Research the latest information technology security trends
- Monitor their organization’s networks for security breaches and investigate a violation when one occurs
- Help plan and carry out an organization’s way of handling security
- Develop security standards and best practices for their organization
- Install and use software, such as firewalls and data encryption programs, to protect sensitive information
- Recommend security enhancements to management or senior IT staff
- Help computer users when they need to install or learn about new security products and procedures
Information security analysts must continually adapt to stay a step ahead of cyberattackers. They must stay up to date on the latest methods attackers are using to infiltrate computer systems and on IT security. Analysts need to research new security technology to decide what will most effectively protect their organization. This may involve attending cybersecurity conferences to hear firsthand accounts of other professionals who have experienced new types of attacks.
IT security analysts create their organization’s disaster recovery plan, a procedure that IT employees follow in case of emergency. The plan lets an organization’s IT department continue functioning. It includes preventative measures such as regularly copying and transferring data to an offsite location. It also involves plans to restore proper IT functioning after a disaster. Analysts continually test the steps in their recovery plans.
Because information security is important, analysts usually report directly to upper management. Many information security analysts work with an organization’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to design security or disaster recovery systems. For more information on chief technology officers, see the profile on computer and information systems managers.
Computer network architects, or network engineers, design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets. These networks range from a small connection between two offices to a multinational series of globally distributed communications systems. Network architects must have thorough knowledge of an organization’s business plan to design a network that can help the organization achieve its goals.
Computer network architects typically do the following:
- Create a plan and layout for a data communication network
- Present the plan to management and explain why it is in the organization’s best interest to pursue it
- Decide what hardware, such as routers or adaptors, and software, such as network drivers, will be needed to support the network
- Determine how cables will be laid out in the building and where other hardware will go
- Research new technology to determine what would best support their organization in the future
- Consider information security when designing a network
Architects often work with their organization’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to predict the highest need for new networks. They spend most of their time planning these new networks. Some network architects work in the field, supervising engineers and workers who build the networks an architect has designed. Network architects are often experienced staff and have 5 to 10 years of experience working in network administration or with other IT systems.
Web developers design and create websites. They are responsible for the look of the site. They are also responsible for the site’s technical aspects, such as performance and capacity, which are measures of a website’s speed and how much traffic the site can handle. They also may create content for the site.
Web developers typically do the following:
- Meet with their clients or management to discuss the needs of the website and the expected needs of the website’s audience and plan how it should look
- Create and debug applications for a website
- Write code for the site, using programming languages such as HTML or XML
- Work with other team members to determine what information the site will contain
- Work with graphics and other designers to determine the website’s layout
- Integrate graphics, audio, and video into the website
- Monitor website traffic
When creating a website, developers have to make their client’s vision a reality. They work with clients to determine what sites should be used for, including ecommerce, news, or gaming. The developer has to decide which applications and designs will fit the site best.
The following are some types of web developers:
Web architects or programmers are responsible for the overall technical construction of the website. They create the basic framework of the site and ensure that it works as expected. Web architects also establish procedures for allowing others to add new pages to the website and meet with management to discuss major changes to the site.
Webmasters maintain websites and keep them updated. They ensure that websites operate correctly and test for errors such as broken links. Many webmasters respond to user comments as well.