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It has always been an uphill battle for cybersecurity professionals to keep their networks and assets secure from bad actors. And as the relentless pace of cyber-attacks and data breaches worldwide continues unabated, the stakes are higher than ever for companies, government agencies, and consumers.
Take, for example, the July 2019 data breach of Capital One that impacted tens of millions of credit card applicants, exposing users’ transaction history, balances, credit scores, and addresses. There was a 212 percent increase in compromised credit cards, a 129 percent increase in credential leaks, and a 102 percent increase in malicious apps over last year, according to research cited by Forbes.
What makes it so difficult to deflect these attacks is the financial incentive hackers have for constantly improving their techniques and deploying ever-more creative forms of malware, ransomware, and other attacks that can compromise corporate networks. That puts cybersecurity teams on the defensive.
To stay ahead of the curve, it’s important for organizations to see the world from the perspective of cyber criminals. This is, essentially, what ethical hacking is all about.
How to Fight Back with Ethical Hacking
The core problem for companies is that cybersecurity professionals don’t fundamentally think like hackers and cybercriminals. To be successful, they must understand what goes through the mind of a hacker, what tools they use, and how they leverage their assets to penetrate networks and steal data. That’s why ethical hacking is becoming one of the most prized skill sets in the cybersecurity arena.
Certified Ethical Hackers (CEH) are trained to leverage the same techniques as hackers but without the danger of law enforcement knocking at their doors. CEH certification training is geared to help IT professionals master the advanced concepts of writing virus codes, exploit writing, reverse engineering, social engineering, and the tactics hackers use to penetrate corporate networks, firewalls, IDS wireless systems, and IoT networks.
Ethical or “white hat” hackers learn how to assess potential vulnerabilities and utilize the latest hacking tools by thinking like cybercriminals. They’re also in high demand. In fact, CEH practitioners are so valuable to cybersecurity teams that they can earn as much as 44 percent higher salaries than their non-certified counterparts.
Build Supplemental Cybersecurity Skills
And while ethical hacking training adds tremendous value to cybersecurity teams, many CEH certification holders got their start by earning other credentials to establish themselves as viable IT security practitioners. The most popular and valuable skills and certifications include:
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
CISSP, or the Certified Information Systems Security Professional, is one of the most widely recognized certifications (considered the gold standard in the IT security world). Those with a CISSP degree are trained in eight distinct domains to protect their IT infrastructure, including:
- Security and risk management
- Asset security
- Security architecture and engineering
- Communication and network security
- Identity and access management
- Security assessment and testing
- Security operations
- Software development security
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
Another key certification is the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), which trains individuals to manage, design, oversee, and assess enterprise information security. CISM-certified IT professionals learn the strategic value of cybersecurity, linking information security programs with business goals.
Consider that even after experiencing a cyber attack, almost 50 percent of IT security professionals don’t change their security strategy substantially, according to a 2018 CyberArk survey. CISM holders have the strategic and tactical knowledge to take charge and learn from previous attacks.
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
Meanwhile, systems auditing and governance have become new organizational imperatives, making the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) a key player on cybersecurity teams. CISA-certified professionals are able to identify and assess vulnerabilities and report on compliance and institutional controls, making them critical players in governing IT.
For example, as many as 80 percent of multinational companies may fail to comply with the 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe. CISA certification holders are well-positioned to meet those needs.
Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
Companies are deploying cloud instances faster than ever before. More than one-third of organizations see cloud investments as a top-three investing priority and more than 30 percent of technology investments will shift from cloud-first to cloud-only by the end of 2019, according to surveys from Gartner. That puts additional urgency on cybersecurity teams to develop cloud-specific security expertise.
CCSP training is designed to help practitioners master cloud security architecture, design, applications, and operations. Designed around (ISC)², CCSP is a globally recognized certification and the highest standard for cloud security.
Update Your Skills and Win the Battle Against Cybercrime
In the end, the stakes are extremely high. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that the annual global cost of cybercrime is expected to exceed $6 trillion by 2021. With that backdrop, cybersecurity teams must take the initiative to fight hacker knowledge with hacker knowledge and build the skills with courses like that of Simplilearn’s Certified Ethical Hacker Course acumen to win the battle against cybercrime.