Ever been hacked? Spam sent from your email account? Been asked to change your password on a site because it “may” have been compromised? These events are becoming more and more common – so who’s taking the fight to the bad guys?


The adoption of mobility, the cloud, BYOD, and the Internet of Things has changed the network – increasing the surface of attack, making the network easier to infiltrate and harder to defend.


The idea that security architecture can defend a network in a “set and forget” fashion and without human intervention is defunct. Network security means ongoing vigilance.


The network security analyst is the person whom we count on to ensure our networks are secure. They monitor traffic, and look for anomalies and suspicious patterns, tuning their security event alarms and stopping the bad guys in their tracks.


In 2014, we find ourselves in a position where the general public is not surprised when it hears of a large network being compromised. Strangely, it has become an accepted side effect of the digital age.


Where the public does draw the line, though, is when it finds out that an organization has been unable to respond appropriately to an attack. When the network is exposed for hours and those hours turn into days, we tend to be less forgiving.


Network security analysts are the front line of our defense. They are the police, forensic investigators, firefighters, and ambulance service of the network world. It’s a stressful and difficult role, and they have to keep their wits about them in order to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.


I would go as far as to say that they are heroes. Without them, where would we be?


But there is a problem.


Globally, the industry needs more. Latest figures indicate that we are a million down worldwide and the gap is increasing.


Are you willing to step up and take the challenge? Are you willing to defend the network? Are you wondering how to take the first steps?


Luckily, I have the plan of attack for you. It requires training, practice, and the certification of your skills.


The perfect place to start for those just beginning their career in networking would be the Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1 (ICND1) training course. This course will give you the skills required to achieve your CCENT certification.


This lays the foundation and leads you to the CCNA Security certification and related training.


Then, find a Cybersecurity class near you. The class is called Securing Cisco Networks with Threat Detection and Analysis (SCYBER) and is a five-day, instructor-led, lab-intensive offering using real data to demonstrate and educate you on combating threats.


This course will prepare you for Cybersecurity Specialist certification and provide the job-ready skills required to work as a network security analyst.


The cape, of course, is optional.