Incident responders seek to protect and improve organizational security by preventing, averting, and mitigating security threats. Prevention duties include system monitoring, assessment, testing, and analysis designed to identify and correct potential security breaches. Incident responders often create security plans, policies, protocols, and training that prepare organizations to respond efficiently and effectively to incidents.
Incident responders need considerable applied knowledge and skills working with many kinds of systems. Comprehensive understanding of operating systems, hardware and software systems, and network systems are essential. Related hard skills include system monitoring tools, forensics software, and e-discovery tools. Incident responders also must understand programming languages to do the work often needed to address cybersecurity threats.
Soft skills such as versatility, persistence, and grounding prove useful for this often stressful and unpredictable job. Incident responders also need advanced analysis and problem-solving skills to quickly identify causes and solutions for cyber breaches. Communication skills benefit incident responders as they compose, present, and explain incident reports to executives and law enforcement.
Cybersecurity degree programs cultivate skills through coursework in operating systems and information systems security, cybercrime forensics, and object-oriented programming. Aspiring incident responders interested in leadership positions benefit from courses on cybersecurity operations management, cybersecurity law and policy, and global trends. Other relevant courses include cyberwarfare and ethical hacking.