How to Become a Security Consultant

security consultant

An information security consultant’s job is to keep their clients’ networks and data safe from hackers. There are several positions in the field of information security, also known as cybersecurity. Some are broad in scope, with a wide range of responsibilities. Others are highly trained in a particular aspect of cybersecurity. The majority of cybersecurity consultants are generalists, but some specialise in one or more fields.

As the list below from George Washington University indicates, a security consultant may specialise in a variety of positions. Throughout their jobs, most security consultants will rotate through some of these positions. It’s not uncommon for a security contractor to work in several capacities at the same time (including many of the roles listed on the career hub).

Getting Ready to Work as a Security Consultant

  • Learn the fundamentals of networking – Security experts safeguard data and equipment on a network. To be successful in defence, you must have a solid understanding of networking.
  • Learn the fundamentals of cybersecurity – You may be eager to learn how networks are hacked, but first learn the fundamentals. Check out TechRadar’s post on free online cybersecurity instruction.
  • Learn coding and/or scripting languages such as Python, Javascript, PowerShell, Node.js, Bash, Ruby, and Perl.
  • Construct a lab – Book information alone can not provide you with the skills you need. Practical knowledge is also important. People who are interested in building a home lab should receive some instruction. Don’t be put off by the word “laboratory.” With minimal resources and little money, you can create a good lab. Infosec Reference is a great place to get ideas.
  • Obtain certification – This is a difficult task. There are several cybersecurity certifications to choose from, and you never know which ones would be valued by a future employer. Some certifications have free online classes, but the tests themselves are very costly. Many employers will compensate workers for further education and certification. It is much more necessary to be able to demonstrate cybersecurity expertise and skills than it is to obtain a certification. Your abilities will land you the position, and you can then seek qualification.

What does it mean to be a security consultant?

A security contractor is a qualified specialist in information security who is responsible for ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data and network devices. There are a variety of options for providing such security. If Alice and Bob work as cybersecurity consultants, Alice would be a security architect, designing security controls for a variety of clients, while Bob might be a network administrator, configuring and managing his company’s security equipment.

Security consultants may work as employees or as freelancers. Consultants at the entry level can begin by configuring security devices. Many with years of advanced-level experience will consult as a virtual chief information security officer (vCISO), assisting organisations in developing and implementing security strategies.

Cybersecurity consultants are hackers — not malicious hackers, but in the true sense of the term; people who are curious about technology and learn how to solve problems with it. They are natural lifelong learners, which is a valuable quality for many reasons:

  • As threats grow more complex, the security environment is continuously evolving. Attackers are still changing their tactics.
  • Since technology advances at a rapid rate, information and defences must keep up. Cloud computing, for example, necessitates a different approach to security than on-premise security.
  • Organizations are seeking more effective security solutions than ever before as the number of major breaches rises.

Skills and expertise as a security consultant

Both technological and soft skills are required of a good security consultant. It’s easy to get caught up in technological skills and overlook the importance of soft skills. Make sure you don’t make the same mistake!

This list covers both technological and soft skills that information security consultants are expected to possess. They’re culled from work postings on sites like Indeed and Glassdoor.

Technical Expertise

  • Safety certifications such as CISA, CISM, CISSP, and CGEIT are useful for understanding the overall security/threat landscape and recommending ways to mitigate risks in this area.
  • Working with firewalls, load balancers, proxies, VPNs, and endpoint protection tools
  • Experience advising customers on architectures that follow industry standards such as PCI DSS, ISO 27001, HIPAA, and GDPR Platforms for antivirus, intrusion prevention, SSL verification, SIEM, or security monitoring
  • A thorough understanding of the OSI Layer 7 Model, Network Architecture, and Network Topology is needed.

Soft Skills

  • Experience as a project manager, as well as the ability to accelerate projects to completion and stick to deadlines.
  • Excellent organisational and documentation skills
  • Oral, written, and presentation skills are all excellent.
  • Must be a smart, articulate, and persuasive person capable of serving as an effective advisor to senior client security leadership.
  • Should be able to explain security principles to a wide variety of technical and non-technical personnel, as well as push security through multiple teams.
  • Ability to fly to customer locations when necessary
  • Ability to think creatively about market, product, and technological problems has been demonstrated.

What are the responsibilities of security consultants?

Cybersecurity consultants are often on the lookout for the facts, fairness, and… That’s right, that’s Superman. Although, hyperbole aside, security experts are constantly at odds with the bad guys — malicious hackers — in what amounts to an arms race.

Security consultants, at their most basic level, make the internet and corporate networks safer places. They design, build, configure, code, run, maintain, and/or track security controls to keep data and networks secure. Yes, it was a mouthful, but it could have easily been longer.

Security experts take steps to make it difficult for unauthorised users to access data or network devices and cause damage. There’s almost no limit on how many ways you can do it. They can be classified into three categories: prevention, identification, and reaction. Prevention security consultants can design, create, and configure security controls, while detection and response security consultants may code and track.

Do you recall Alice, the security expert? She is in charge of prevention. Her business had been the victim of a major data breach before she arrived. The attacker gained access to the device by using an administrator account with a compromised username and password. It was Alice’s job to keep that and other attacks from happening again.

She evaluated the current security controls and created a new set that she believed would be more reliable. The first change she made was to make all administrator accounts require multifactor authentication. To put it another way, accessing those accounts took more than just a password. This will keep an assault like the one they had from happening again.

The security administrator, Bob, was in charge of detection. He set up security monitoring to identify unauthorised device access attempts. He also aided in prevention by configuring tighter firewall access laws. As a result, security consultants play a variety of roles, and one person may play multiple roles.

Job description for a security consultant

We’ve identified that security consultant responsibilities differ from one job to the next. As a result, job descriptions will differ. Nonetheless, certain elements appear in several job descriptions. Let’s break down a job description for a Senior Security Consultant that Amazon Web Services posted on Indeed.

  • 3+ years of enforcement and security requirements experience
    Safety is heavily reliant on compliance and standards. PCI DSS, ISO 27001, HIPAA, and GDPR are examples of security requirements that must be met. These and other principles should be familiar to security consultants.
  • Technical degree or equivalent experience

The breakdown: Some occupations necessitate a college diploma, while others do not. In this case, candidates should be able to show their experience-based expertise and skills.

  • This position requires a highly technical subject matter expert who can dive deep and collaborate with customers to resolve the security, risk, and enforcement requirements of AWS migrations.

The breakdown: The term “subject matter expert” denotes a high level of expertise in a particular field. However, you’ll also need a broad understanding of a variety of security issues, as well as general networking skills.

  • You’ll be enthusiastic about educating, preparing, developing, and implementing cloud technologies for a complex and demanding group of intelligence community clients. You’ll enjoy honing your current technical skills and learning new ones so that you can contribute effectively to deep architecture discussions.

The breakdown: Technical skills and knowledge are not enough. Being a member of a security team necessitates cooperation. The best way to excel is to share your experience and learn from others.

  • As appropriate, consultants may be required to travel to clients’ locations to provide professional services (50 to 75 percent ).

The breakdown: Most consultant jobs require some travel. Determine how much travel is acceptable, and make sure you understand the job’s expectations.

  • Cloud Computing technology and migration issues are well-understood. Professional experience architecting, installing, and running AWS-based solutions.

The breakdown: Since AWS is a cloud computing environment, familiarity with this field is required. However, given the pace at which businesses are embracing cloud computing, most cybersecurity jobs may require some expertise in this field.

  • Experience or similar expertise in technology/software distribution consulting.

The breakdown: Some security consultants promote their company’s security products and services by sales.

  • This is only one illustration. Coding or scripting is an ability that is often needed but is not mentioned in this job description. PowerShell, Python, Node.js, Javascript, Bash, Ruby, and Perl are all popular requirements. Project management expertise is now in high demand.
Jennifer Thomas
Jennifer Thomas is the Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer at Cybers Guards. Prior to that, She was responsible for leading its Cyber Security Practice and Cyber Security Operations Center, which provided managed security services.