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8 Essential Cybersecurity Roles and Their Most Important Responsibilities

Anyone investing in cybersecurity opportunities must understand cybersecurity professionals’ roles and responsibilities. This knowledge will help you verify that a business and its stakeholders are equipped to guard against current and emerging threats.

Cybersecurity is paramount for businesses of all sizes and across all industries. Yet, a lack of clear-cut cybersecurity responsibilities puts these businesses, their employees, and their customers in danger. Here is what you need to know about the people who keep cyber crime at bay.

Defining Cybersecurity Roles and Responsibilities

Cybersecurity professionals protect an organization’s IT infrastructure, edge devices, networks, and data from malicious threats. They are tasked with identifying potential vulnerabilities, responding to security incidents and breaches, auditing systems for compliance with security standards, and managing access controls.

The National Initiative of Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Framework outlines the tasks, knowledge, and skills required to perform cybersecurity work. This helps businesses develop a workforce that can handle a wide range of cybersecurity roles and responsibilities.

Comparatively, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) defines cybersecurity roles and responsibilities under the umbrella term “information security analyst.” An information security analyst, according to BLS, is responsible for developing and implementing security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems.

cybersecurity roles and responsibilities

The terms used to discuss these roles need to be standardized regardless of whether you go by the NICE Framework, BLS, or another authority. This will allow you to use appropriate terms and definitions to explain how different staff members support a company’s security posture so you can evaluate whether the structure fits the needs of that organization.

8 Types of Cybersecurity Roles 

Standard cybersecurity roles fall into the following categories:

1. Executive Leadership

C-suite executives have the final say on a company’s cybersecurity strategy. They review security data and reports, analyze cyber risk, and make the decisions that determine cybersecurity initiatives and budgeting.

2. Steering Committee

A steering committee typically encompasses professionals from different departments. Committee members analyze cybersecurity policies, procedures, and their impact and explore ways to enhance the company’s security posture.

3. Auditor

A third-party consultant or regulator audits cybersecurity strategy. This professional is not directly tied to the business’s day-to-day operations. This allows them to provide an objective view of the company’s cybersecurity strategy and how it can be improved.

4. Data Owner

How data is classified can have far-flung effects on cybersecurity. The data owner determines how data is classified, managed, and secured, which plays an important role in the company’s cybersecurity controls.

5. Data Custodian 

A data custodian is responsible for information storage and transport. The custodian handles the technical environment and database structure associated with data, ensuring this information remains secure and accessible to authorized users.

6. Network Administrator

A network administrator ensures resources are available to stakeholders across the business and manages access control to these resources.

7. Security Administrator

Security administrators audit the business’ security posture and its ability to guard against cyber threats. They usually enforce security access controls but do not have to change them.

8. Engineer

Three types of engineers can contribute to a company’s cybersecurity planning:

  • network security
  • software security
  • security appliance

Together, these engineers create secure software and IT environments that keep cybercriminals at bay. Defining these responsibilities across different roles ensures the right staff is in place to know what to do in the event of a cyberattack.

8 Common Cybersecurity Responsibilities

Many responsibilities are associated with cybersecurity roles. These can be organized into the following categories:

1. Access Controls 

Cybersecurity professionals responsible for access controls dictate who can access data and systems across the business. These pros must determine who needs access to data and systems to perform their everyday duties effectively. They must also keep access controls up to date—otherwise, employees who leave the business could still access the company’s data and systems.

2. Application and Network Performance

The performance of the company’s applications and networks must be closely monitored. This allows security issues that hamper app or network performance to be identified and remediated quickly before they cause downtime, outages, or service interruptions.

3. Patch Management

Software must be updated regularly to ensure business systems can run optimally and are protected against new cyber threats. Automated and continuous patch management allows the business to install security patches and updates as soon as they become available. This keeps the company’s systems continuously updated with patches for known security threats.

4. Vulnerability Management

Security vulnerabilities can crop up anytime, and they must be addressed immediately. Vulnerability management allows your business to use defined processes and procedures to identify and remediate vulnerabilities. You can also use vulnerability assessments in combination with vulnerability management tools to understand the overall security posture and map out an appropriate cybersecurity strategy.

5. Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

EDR involves persistent monitoring of endpoint and network events. A business can use EDR tools to monitor and report on internal and external threats, including malware, ransomware, and other advanced cyberattacks.

6. Business Continuity Planning (BCP)

BCP is a method for the business to define the steps it will take to restore data and systems after a security incident. A business continuity plan includes processes and procedures to recover data and systems and who is responsible for executing the different stages of the plan. It empowers cybersecurity pros to track data throughout a security incident and use this information to enhance a cybersecurity strategy.

7. Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR)

BDR supports business continuity. It involves backing up data and systems and ensuring they can be seamlessly recovered following a security incident.

8. Cybersecurity Training 

Cybersecurity training should be held at least twice a year to educate personnel about threats and offer tips and recommendations to help them identify and address cyberattacks. These sessions enable workers to come forward with security concerns and questions and explore ways to minimize risk at all levels of the business. 

Finding qualified cybersecurity professionals is easy once you know who is responsible for each role.

3 Tips to Fill Cybersecurity Roles 

Assess the roles and responsibilities of any cybersecurity business’ current personnel before making an investment. This will help you determine if the company is truly positioned to grow and thrive against today’s rising cyber threats. 

The global cybersecurity talent pool is limited, and research indicates that a cybersecurity skills shortage plagues companies worldwide. Businesses that define cybersecurity roles and responsibilities in the terms we’ve discussed will be more likely to attract and recruit top talent, especially if they take these steps:

1. Establish Realistic Expectations

Create a job description that outlines a cybersecurity role and its responsibilities. This gives cybersecurity pros a clear understanding of what to expect if they pursue the role and helps them determine if they can handle its responsibilities.

2. Look Beyond Technical Skills

Search for candidates who possess hard and soft skills. These candidates should contribute to the company’s cybersecurity planning and work well with colleagues and superiors to optimize the business’ security posture.

3. Offer Training Programs

Provide educational opportunities that let cybersecurity pros enhance their existing skills or develop new ones. A business can help these pros grow their careers by offering training programs.

Common Pitfalls of Filling Cybersecurity Roles

Keep in mind that the top cybersecurity roles can be tough to fill. In addition to a shortage of cybersecurity talent worldwide, many issues can hamper a company’s ability to bolster its team, including:

  • Unclear definition of duties associated with the cybersecurity role
  • Inability to offer salaries commensurate with their industry skills and experience
  • Poor cybersecurity brand reputation caused by a prior security incident and/or data breach
  • Lack of training and/or career advancement opportunities
  • Subpar communication between candidates and the business throughout the interview and hiring processes

Start with a thorough understanding of the roles and responsibilities your team needs. Then you can establish a plan to identify top talent capable of handling the responsibilities of these essential roles.

The strategy you approach cybersecurity investing with is key. Understanding these roles and responsibilities will help you make an informed decision about investing in a cybersecurity company

Contact an Expert With Any Questions About Cybersecurity Investing 

Cybersecurity investing is an imperfect science. Understanding the different roles and responsibilities of cybersecurity professionals is only the first step, and you will need additional insights to help you weigh the pros and cons of any potential investment. 

Option3Ventures is a cybersecurity venture capital fund with extensive industry expertise. Cybersecurity investing is all we do, and we strive to be the best at it. With our support, you can explore attractive investment opportunities in cybersecurity and find ways to get the most value out of your investments. To learn more about cybersecurity investing opportunities, contact us today


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