Qualified IT Security Professionals Needed – IT Security Certifications can help

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Qualified IT Security Professionals Needed – IT Security Certifications can help

With IT security threats increasing and the number of qualified IT security personnel decreasing, organizations, both public and private, are facing a serious problem. Countless organizations are realizing they need more IT security man power to handle the growing number of threats that can harm their business and their valued customers. The small number of IT security staff is just not cutting it these days, and because of this, IT security is the fastest growing field in IT. Data from Indeed, a popular job site, showed help ads for security professionals increased by 100% during the past five years.  So do you think investing in IT security education is a good idea right now? I would think yes! Not only would a career in IT security provide job security, but the pay isn’t too shabby either. The average salary of a Security Specialist or Network Administrator is almost $94,000. Be the solution organizations are looking for by getting qualified in IT security.

Getting qualified for an IT Security CareerIT Security Certifications

Pursuing a career in IT security is an excellent path to travel down, when deciding how you want to create job and financial stability. So where should you begin? There are several ways that you can build your resume to showcase your IT security skills. What can you do to land the security job you are looking for? What will help you stand out from the group?

1)      Know IT Security – Be knowledgeable on the subject. Read about IT security news and events both historical and current. Follow the trending topics. There are plenty out there, as you can’t turn on the TV without hearing about some IT security threat. These threats are even making great story plots for Hollywood.

2)      Obtain Security Certifications – Having a solid foundation, understanding, and skillset is also crucial to successful deployment of IT security practices. It’s these skills that save organizations money and hassles, and also give them peace of mind. Certification and specialized training are excellent ways to get those skills and build the knowledge of a highly respected IT security professional. There are various certifications you can get, which we will discuss in more detail.

3)      Hands-On Experience – Set-up your own “working lab”. Take things apart, and put them back together. Hack into your system, and then create security features to prevent those break ins. Hands-on experience is always best. Experience allows you to put your skills and knowledge to use. Get in an entry-level position as soon as possible, or volunteer. Experience is developed by working through the problems.

Security Certifications

When it comes to IT security there are several certifications that are worth looking into and obtaining. Depending on your level of IT experience, you will want to start with more entry-level certifications, and build up to the more advanced ones as you feel more comfortable, gain more experience, and are ready to advance your IT security career.

CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ is an international, vendor-neutral certification. It is an entry/foundation –level certification that demonstrates competency in:

  • Network security
  • Compliance and operational security
  • Threats and vulnerabilities
  • Application, data and host security
  • Access control and identity management
  • Cryptography

CompTIA Security+ not only ensures that candidates will apply knowledge of security concepts, tools, and procedures to react to security incidents; it       ensures that security personnel are anticipating security risks and guarding against them. Candidate job roles include security architect, security engineer, security consultant/specialist, information assurance technician, security administrator, systems administrator, and network administrator. Kick start your IT security career – start training for your CompTIA Security+ certification.

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Certified ethical hackers aka “Whitehats” are those highly skilled IT professionals that have the ability to beat hackers at their own game by uncovering systems’ weaknesses and vulnerabilities. By revealing these vulnerabilities and identifying the access points, these can be addressed before the “bad guys” have the opportunity to penetrate the system and create havoc on the company as well as its customers. The CEH credential is an intermediate certification, and demonstrates competency in:

  • foot-printing and reconnaissance,
  • scanning networks, enumeration
  • system hacking
  • Trojans
  • worms and viruses
  • sniffers
  • denial of service attacks
  • social engineering
  • session hijacking
  • hacking webservers, wireless networks and web applications
  • SQL injection
  • Cryptography
  • penetration testing
  • and evading IDS, firewalls, and honeypots

Those with a CEH certification are good candidates for the following positions: Network Testing, Systems Analyst Specialist, Information Technology Security Specialist, IT Vulnerability Specialist, and Tester/Ethical Hacker. To kick-off your IT security career, and start training for your Certified Ethical Hacker certification click here.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

For those IT professionals that are serious about a career in IT security the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is a must. These IT professionals possess expert knowledge and technical skills necessary to develop, guide, and then manage security standards, policies, and procedures within their organizations. This is an advanced vendor-neutral IT security credential that is recognized world-wide, and demonstrates competency in:

  • Access Control
  • Application Development Security
  • Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning
  • Cryptography
  • Information Security Governance and Risk Management
  • Legal Regulations
  • Compliance and Investigations
  • Operations Security
  • Physical Environmental Security
  • Security Architecture and Design and Telecommunications and Network Security

The CISSP certification is meant for experienced IT professionals and offers three concentrations for targeted areas:

  • CISSP Architecture
  • Engineering
  • Management

Those with a CISSP certification are good candidates for the following positions: Senior Analyst, IT Security Threat & Vulnerability Director, Principal Security Strategist, and Network Engineer. To advance your career in IT security, start training for your Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP) certification.

Certified Penetration Testing Engineer (CPTE)

Another certification based around ethical hacking, Certified Penetration Engineer (CPTE) specializes in penetrating systems – they learn how to locate a system’s vulnerabilities and exploit a system’s weakness, which allows them to create safeguards against the real threats. The CPTE certification demonstrates competence in several area of penetration testing:

  • Information Gathering
  • Scanning
  • Enumeration
  • Exploitation
  • Reporting

Through utilizing and mastering these important techniques, penetration engineers are able to discover the latest vulnerabilities, threats, and techniques blackhat hackers are using today. To build a career with a focus penetration testing, start training for your Certified Penetration Testing Engineer (CPTE) certification..

Job Security through IT Security

IT Security threats are everyday occurrences that organizations world-wide, both private and public, need to be aware of and face head-on. They need to be pro-active in preventing breaches and penetration of their valuable and confidential systems. These are real threats that can be devastating to any organization, big or small. This is the reason the need for IT security professionals is increasing on a daily basis, with no sign of slowing. The world needs more, many more, qualified IT professionals to handle the growing threat. Get knowledgeable in the IT security world. Know the threats that are out there. Even better, get certified! Contact TechSherpas to start your journey of a successful career in IT security.

Can you hack it? Ethical Hacking skills in demand

Turn on the news and you will undoubtedly hear about some new cyber-attack. They happen to individuals, large organizations, financial institutions, retailers, and even government agencies. The latest and now very public issue regarding our nation’s security is the persistent computer-hacking problems the US has been having with China, spanning a decade! These cyber-attacks are quite disturbing because hackers can steal intellectual property, weapons, financial data and other corporate IT-Security-300x261secrets. You may have also heard claims that the US government could be the biggest hacker in the world, investing millions of dollars in offensive hacking operations. Hmmm, that will get you thinking. The point is, Cybersecurity is crucial in this age of advancing technologies, and hacking is one skill that can provide insight and solutions to the rampant stream of cybercrime. President Obama recently stated, “Cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation” and “America’s economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity.” With cyber-attacks on the rise with no sign of slowing, the demand for hackers is higher than ever.

White Hats off for Ethical Hackers
Although there are those who will not support hacking in any way, shape, or form, the growing threat on information systems is evident, and we need to be able to counteract, or even better, prevent these attacks. The terms hacker and hacking typically carry a negative connotation as they are commonly associated with the skill of unlawfully breaking into computer systems. But not all hackers are bad. In fact, through ethical hacking, these ridiculously skilled people have the ability and knowledge to navigate computer systems, diagnose security flaws, and provide insight and solutions to the problems created by “crackers”. An ethical computer hacker, or a computer security expert, aka White Hat hacker, specializes in penetration testing and other testing methodologies to ensure the security of an organization’s information systems. Their job is not to break-in and cause damage, but to determine how to break-in current systems, point out vulnerabilities, and provide suggestions on how to make penetration of the system less likely by Black Hat hackers. Ethical hacking jobs are done with consent from the target.

Although hackers are constantly teetering the gray area, by following certain guidelines hackers can stay within the legal boundaries and out of trouble. Unfortunately, not all do, and eventually some cross over to the dark-side of “cracking” aka Black Hat hacking. On the flip-side, some Black Hat hackers have found the light (mostly after being busted and serving time) and are now White Hat hackers working for government agencies, or running their own consulting firms. (We dive into the famous and infamous hackers in our “Cracker busting Hackers” blog.)

Avoid the underground – the dark side of “cracking”
Although Black Hat hacking can create an exciting big screen drama, the damage it can create in real life can be devastating, costing large amounts of resources and money. Black Hat hackers are those who unlawfully break into computer systems for malicious reasons or personal gain. They can be motivated by profit, protest, or challenge. These are the ones that give hackers the bad rap. These are the bad guys you hear about on the news – the ones that steal confidential information from credit card companies, or money from financial institutions. They cause major damage, comprising security and functionality of websites and networks. They steal:

Client or customer information or other business data
Credit card details and social security numbers, for identity fraud or theft
Passwords for access to our online bank, ISP or web services
Email addresses, which may be used for spamming
Children’s names, photographs, ages or other of their personal details held on the computer
DDoS (Distribution Denial of Service) attacks

Andrew Auernheimer, a 26-year-old independent security researcher, was sentenced to 41 months in prison for programmatically scraping user information from a public AT&T website and sharing it with Gawker.com. Auernheimer was charged under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act, which many feel is too broad. After he was convicted, Auernheimer wrote for Wired that the selective prosecution of some security researchers will deter future hackers from ever disclosing exploits, even critical ones that effect national security. Do you think Auernheimer has a point?

Certified Ethical Hacker Training & Certification
With so many types of cyber-attacks, protection is vital and many people rely on the ethical hackers to help with their protection strategies. People who enter into this particular field are typically computer savvy, and have acquired much of their computer knowledge through self-teaching methods. They likely have a solid understanding in computer programming, and possess creativity skills. In addition to computer programming courses, those interested in ethical hacking should explore certified ethical hacking training, and certifications. The International Council of E- Commerce Consultants offers a professional certification – Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). CEH training courses provide students with interactive environments where they learn to scan, test, and penetrate their own systems, through various techniques and tools used by black hat hackers. They learn all about ethical hacking and countermeasures. Students are typically required to provide signed documentation that they will not use this knowledge for malicious purposes.

Some of the techniques that hackers use to penetrate the systems include:

Vulnerability Scanner
Password Cracking
Packer Sniffer
Spoofing Attack (Phishing)
Social Engineering
Trojan Horse, Viruses, & Worms
Key Loggers
In addition to CEH training, inspiring hackers should explore these other IT Security courses:

CISSP: Certified Information System Security Professional
Certified Penetration Testing Engineer
Certified Forensics Examiner
Job opportunities and salaries for Ethical Hackers
With the majority, if not all, important business information being stored on computer networks, IT security is more important today than ever before. Both public and private organizations face cyber threats, and take security of confidential information very seriously. A CEH is usually employed by an organization who trusts him or her to attempt to penetrate networks and/or computer systems for the purpose of finding and fixing computer security vulnerabilities. Who better protect your information than a Hacker? Because of this way of thinking there are plenty of job opportunities available for Certified Ethical Hackers (CEH). Here are some of the job positions that CEHs in the US currently hold along with their associated salaries:

Median Salary by Job – Certification: Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) (United States)Median Salary by Job

Choose the life of a hacker, not a cracker
If you’re going to lead the life of a hacker, you need to be conscientious and responsible as some areas start to look gray, and less black and white. Becoming certified and knowing the law will help you stay out of trouble. White Hat hackers often become Black Hat hackers, and vise-versa. If you are a hacker, we highly encourage you to use your powers for good versus evil. We get it! Hackers enjoy cracking codes. It’s fun! So why not get paid to do it? Get certified and get paid to do what you love. The outlook on finding a job and keeping a job in this field is very promising, as cybercrime increased 8.3% from 2011 to 2012. Ethical hackers have the opportunity to save people, organizations, and agencies from falling victim to costly cyber-attacks. Avoid crossing over to the dark-side, or be prepared to spend life on the other side of steel bars. Go down in history as a famous Hacker, not an infamous Cracker. Read about the most notorious Hackers & Crackers on our next blog.