Updated April 8th, 2020
What does it mean to be an Incident Responder?
An organization has just experienced a major security breach – it’s 4 o’clock in the morning. A team of specialists receive the call and leap into action. Immediate steps are taken to address the issue, determine source of the “fire,” assess the damages, and restore the network.
If this sounds like an exciting and fulfilling day at the office to you, then we have great news. The cybersecurity industry is looking for people like you to act as part of an incident response team. Incident Responders are the heroes who come to the rescue when an organization’s security system has been compromised. Incident Responders are often referred to as the firefighters of an organization’s network.
A Day in the Life
While much of the position could include “down time,” a seasoned Incident Responder is always ready at a moment’s notice. One of the greatest advantages to an Incident Responder is the team dynamic and the direct interaction with clients and their internal teams. According to Dark Reading, Incident Responders work in harmony with other cybersecurity analysts. For example, an Incident Responder will receive a briefing from team members about current events or suspicious incidents that need monitoring. When a cyber attack does occur, Incident Responders tend to respond in two modes: reactive mode, where they urgently respond to alarms and information within their resources; and proactive mode, where they can calmly hunt and target activity that they think could lead to further hemorrhaging.
In essence, keeping a close eye on the security of an organization’s network is a team sport. Clear cut strategies and easy answers are a rarity when debunking cyber attacks. Strategic game plans from a team of analysts can be a company’s saving grace.
SAP explains that the demand for Incident Responders is moving only in one direction: up. Here’s why: cybercrime is escalating at an alarming rate; in fact, cyber attacks and incidents have increased by 38% across all industries – that’s the biggest leap cybersecurity has seen in 12 years. Network vulnerabilities aside, industries are embracing technology to improve the productivity and efficiency of their respective organizations. How does this relate? Well, companies of all sizes are increasingly entrusting sensitive information to digital databases and processes, thus creating more attack surfaces that could be targeted by hackers, and they expect those systems to be safeguarded. Point blank, they’ll need the manpower to ensure their network integrity will not be compromised.
Most Valued Skills
Incident Responders, after putting out their fair share of fires, can add several appealing skills to their resume, such as performing security audits and penetration testing, conducting malware analysis and reverse engineering, and designing measures that minimize damage and prevent further breaches from occurring. Possessing these skills could easily open doors to transition into cybersecurity consulting, security architecture, or security engineering.
- Information Security
- Project Management
- Forensic Analysis & Reverse Engineering
- Network Security
More organizations are realizing they need to have at least a small team of in-house Incident Responders who can target and assess cyber criminal activity quickly, so the odds of securing a great place of employment are in your favor. CyberSeek reports that there are over 7,000 Incident Responder job postings with an average salary of $89,000/year and Glassdoor lists available positions currently ranging in salary from $59k to $109k per year. Indeed reports 4,000 open positions as well.
- Senior Analyst, Information Security
- Disaster Recovery Specialist
- Network Technical Specialist
- SOC Incident Response Lead
- Audit Project Manager – Information Security
Doesn’t Sound Like You?
If you’re interested in another area of cybersecurity, be sure to review other roles within this series:
- Cybersecurity Architect
- Malware Analyst
- Penetration Tester
- Cybersecurity Auditor
- SOC Analyst
- Threat Hunter
- Threat Intel Analyst
- Vulnerability Management Analyst