How to become a Cybersecurity Architect
Security architects, or cybersecurity architects, are responsible for creating a safe and secure environment for the data/information stored in devices, applications, and also those that are moving in a network during any transaction. They design, build and manage the implementation of network and computer security for an organization. Senior cybersecurity architects have to develop complex structures as a deterrent, and also should be able to provide a functional system. Moreover, they also have a role in managing the security systems like installing firewalls and checking for weak points in the systems. They are also the ones who handle the situation when systems are under threat.
To be precise, cybersecurity architects are the professionals who build a secure infrastructure for organizations, provide technical guidance to safeguard the systems and network, create security policies and procedures, evaluate the potential risks, prevent the cost of such risk and resolve the threats.
Security architects have additional hard-skills of management to assess the risk procedures along with a set of IT and security skills. Furthermore, they have a strong base of experience in the same field, which is an advantage. One cannot become a cybersecurity architect just after acquiring a degree in cybersecurity or with only a couple of years’ experience. It requires a good number of experiences, and aspiring professionals generally achieve the position through hard work and after working through the roles in engineering, analysis, and consulting.
What are the Job Responsibilities?
It is a job that requires a lot of patience and perseverance. It also involves a lot of skills and clarity about the technology, risks, threats, and deterrents.
Required skills are:
- Ability to plan, research and design powerful security architectures for any IT project
- Should be able to perform various security testing on systems and networks, like susceptibility testing, potential risk analysis, and also assess the security of systems, projects, and organizations as a whole
- Should be aware of the company’s technology and information systems
- Continual research on security standards, security systems, and authentication protocols
- Create security requirements for LAN, WAN, VPN, routers, firewalls, and other related network devices
- Design public critical infrastructures (PKIs) that also include the application of certification authorities (CAs) and digital signatures
- Review and approve the installation of VPN, routers, firewall, IDS scanning technologies and servers
- Once everything is in place, do final testing of security structures to ensure they are working as expected
- Supervise and guide the team of cybersecurity professionals
- Design and adopt corporate security policies and procedures
- Manage programs related to security awareness
- Estimate the cost and find issues with integration
- Should be quick in responding to threats and cyber incidents that are not safe for the organization
- Do proper post-event analysis
- Responsible for updating and upgrading security systems from time to time or as and when needed
- A Cybersecurity architect keeps control over every aspect of the security system in organizations and projects. They are responsible for guiding the team in handling the security issues and updating the concerned people in the organization according to the process set.
Career Graph of a Security Architect
It is similar to other top positions in any organization. It takes years of experience for someone from entry-level to reach the position of a security architect. The role is neither for freshers nor for professionals with just a few years’ experience.
One starts as a Security Administrator or Network Administrator or System Administrator and then enters into intermediate-level positions like Security Analyst, Security Engineer or Security Consultant, and then you reach the topmost position of Security Architect.
Some organizations have positions like Senior Cyber Security Architect or even Chief Security Architect, to which one can get promoted as they progress. One can also become a CISO.
Other similar positions are Information Security Architect or Information Systems Security Architect. However, companies often define their responsibility at the highest level. All the more, these are a similar level of jobs with different job titles.
Usually, it takes almost 15 to 20 years to reach this position anywhere in the world. In exceptional cases, it can be 5 to 10 years. But in that case, the candidate should be skilled enough to take the responsibilities defined by an organization.
Most organizations look for degrees in IT security or an associated field from a college or university of repute. One should at least have five years of experience in the relevant field and a thorough knowledge of security strategies and architectures. The person should have excellent communication and interpersonal skills along with managerial capabilities. Moreover, security certifications like CISSP and CSSA are an additional advantage. There are other certifications that can be acquired.
The position requires a lot of responsibilities. No top posts are available to professionals below the graduate level, be it any organization. Hence, even Security Architects should hold a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Cyber Security or similar subjects. Candidates can later gain relevant certifications that play a crucial role in not only getting promotions but also learning the required skills.
Important Certifications for Security Architects
The organization wants candidates applying for this position to hold certifications in cybersecurity courses from accredited institutions. Some of the relevant certifications that aspiring candidates can consider are:
- CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
- CISM: Certified Information Security Manager
- CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- CISSP-ISSAP: Information Systems Security Architecture Professional
- GSEC / GCIH / GCIA: GIAC Security Certifications
- CSSA: Certified SCADA Security Architect
The job of a Cybersecurity Architect is a highly dependable job, which carries a lot of responsibilities. Professionals holding this position should be in alert mode all the time. As said, ‘prevention is better than cure,’ it is the job of every Cybersecurity Architect, to create a deterrent system for projects and organizations so that no outside threat can ever invade the systems and cause any damage. And if by any chance, the systems or organization is affected, they should have an immediate solution in hand to resolve and continue to work to safeguard the future.