Whether they occur in financial institutions or brick-and-mortar businesses, a majority of today’s business transactions rely on some type of information technology system. These transactions may be minor in most instances, but even then, the transmitted information may be highly sensitive. For example, if someone spends $1 online to make a purchase, that dollar may have a small value, but the account information of the credit card used to make the purchase is extremely sensitive. Cybersecurity managers lead teams of IT professionals who work to keep sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands. Due to the immense risk they are responsible for managing, cybersecurity manager salaries have become quite competitive for graduate-level candidates.
CYBERSECURITY MANAGER JOB OVERVIEW
Cybersecurity managers monitor the channels through which information flows into and out of an organization’s information network. They are responsible for observing all of the operations occurring across the network and managing the infrastructure that facilitates those operations. This means implementing software upgrades when necessary and performing maintenance and upkeep on computer hardware systems.
Resource management is also a key responsibility for cybersecurity managers. In order to reduce risk, cybersecurity managers have to ensure that they have an efficient amount of resources dedicated to critical tasks. These resources include employees, but cybersecurity managers must also make decisions on how to properly use their organizations’ computers, network bandwidth, and other technological resources. By optimizing resource allocation, cybersecurity managers can keep their employees’ efforts focused on actions with the highest payoff, minimizing the overall risk to their companies.
This job involves keeping track of changes to internal and external policies as well. As managers, it is their responsibility to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations established both by their internal leadership and by public agencies. This ties into one of their other duties: sourcing the best cybersecurity tools for the organization. For instance, if a policy change requires that a new software tool be installed across all systems used by the organization, the cybersecurity manager would have to find a cost-effective supplier that offers a quality product.
If there is a threat to their networks, cybersecurity managers are in charge of mitigating the risk by adapting their strategies. This may involve taking steps such as auditing business practices to illuminate areas of the business that should receive attention. Routinely auditing business practices keeps cybersecurity strategies moving forward rather than letting them become outdated and less effective. Taking measures such as performing regular audits helps demonstrate that cybersecurity is a top priority for the company.
HOW TO BECOME A CYBERSECURITY MANAGER
The first step toward becoming a cybersecurity manager is to pursue the proper educational credentials. A bachelor’s in cybersecurity is a great start, as it teaches the basic tenets of information assurance, security, and computer skills. Afterward, acquiring a license in a specialized field of IT may also be necessary, but this varies across states. If the goal is a management position, IT professionals should gain a few years of work experience to sharpen their skills. Finally, earning a master’s in cybersecurity management further strengthens their competencies and makes them more competitive candidates for management positions.
TYPES OF CYBERSECURITY
Cybersecurity managers may specialize in one area of information security or have a more comprehensive understanding of all the different types. Prospective cybersecurity managers can aspire to work in the following fields, among others:
Critical Infrastructure. Critical infrastructure is any societal infrastructure that relies on physical and digital systems to operate properly, such as traffic lights, hospitals, and electricity grids. Cybersecurity managers who are employed by these types of organizations focus mostly on performing due diligence and drafting incident response plans that can be used to reinstate failed infrastructure as quickly as possible. Network Security. Network security managers secure information systems against unauthorized intruders and malicious employees. Managers must determine how to deter attacks as reliably as possible without slowing down employee productivity.
Cloud Security. Cloud computing involves storing and processing data using “the cloud.” When working with cloud-based systems, cybersecurity managers ensure that the cloud system is configured properly and data are not vulnerable.
Application Security. Mobile and web-based applications can have hundreds, thousands, or even millions of regular users on a daily basis. Cybersecurity managers who specialize in application security guide teams of IT professionals while ensuring that they code securely and perform penetration tests on their products.
CYBERSECURITY MANAGER WORK ENVIRONMENTS
Cybersecurity managers are employed in a variety of industries. In health care, they work to defend patient privacy and other confidential proprietary information. Others may work in the tech industry, where the focus might be watching over company communications that contain details about upcoming products or changes to the business. Public institutions need cybersecurity managers as well — government agencies hire extremely skilled cybersecurity professionals to keep sensitive government information away from people who may seek to exploit it. Working in any of these industries may require some professional experience in the field of choice, but a master’s in cybersecurity management positions graduates to start the transition toward a management role.
The cybersecurity manager position can be a challenging one, since managers often have to balance a great deal of responsibilities and duties. Because of the demanding nature of the position, however, cybersecurity manager salaries can be quite competitive. Computer and information systems managers earned a median annual salary of $139,220 in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Job growth is faster than average in the U.S. for this job as well, as BLS estimates a 12 percent growth in employment between 2016 and 2026.
Those interested in becoming cybersecurity managers should consider earning an online Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management. This graduate degree can help aspiring cybersecurity professionals learn the skills needed to begin the process of pursuing a career in this unique and ever-growing field.
Are you looking for a unique path forward in your IT or cybersecurity career? The Tulane School of Professional Advancement can prepare you for a challenging career in cybersecurity. We’d love to speak with you to help you decide if this is the next step in your professional career. Request information about SoPA or call us today at (504) 303-4224 to learn more.