These Are the 5 Cybersecurity Skills You’ll Need in 2021

Security teams everywhere will have to adapt to this new normal—and these 5 skills are the key to doing so.
February 3, 2021
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Now that we’ve left the dreadful 2020 behind, it’s time to look ahead and focus on making the most of this new year. That will obviously depend on what you do but, for cybersecurity experts, the next 12 months are a great moment to hone in some skills while learning some new ones. How come? Because the shift around how we work stemming from the pandemic has completely changed the security landscape.

In other words, the quick rise of remote work and distributed teams across most industries has pushed companies to adopt new cloud-based communication and collaboration technologies, thus multiplying the vulnerable vectors across any given system. This means that security teams everywhere will have to adapt to this new normal, something they’ll only be able to do with the aid of the following 5 skills.

So, are you in cybersecurity? Then these are the skills you’ll need in your skillset for 2021 and beyond.


1. Application Development Security

What is it: Application development security involves all the measures you can take to enhance the security of software while developing it. This encompasses finding, fixing, and preventing bugs, security holes, and vulnerabilities that might pop up during the different stages of the software development lifecycle. 

Why you should focus on this skill: Of all the security-related skills expected to grow during 2021, this will be the fastest-growing. Experts predict that application development security will see a five-year projected growth rate of 164%. When you look at the current landscape, it’s easy to see why: security is becoming the top priority for more and more companies, and the increased digitalization of workflows through digital acceleration processes is pushing the demand for highly-secure systems.


2. Cloud Security

What is it: Cloud security covers a wide range of policies, technologies, tools, and protocols you can use to protect any cloud-based system from breaches and attacks. In a sense, this is a subdomain of the broader computer security but that focuses especially on platforms hosted online, be it on a private, public, or hybrid cloud. 

Why you should focus on this skill: The widespread adoption of remote work as the main working model has forced companies to integrate highly flexible and scalable tools that were readily available. In other words, remote work nudged companies in the direction of cloud computing tools. Naturally, moving to the cloud isn’t an easy task because there are plenty of moving parts and vulnerable endpoints to care about. That’s when cloud security experts come in, which explains why they’ll be in high demand in 2021, to the point where this skill is expected to grow 115% in the next 5 years


3. Risk Management

What is it: Risk management applied to security involves identifying, analyzing, and prioritizing existing and potential risks that can affect the security of an organization’s infrastructure. It implies a complex process to understand the factors that might affect a company in the future while considering the available resources to mitigate the risks and pointing out opportunities that could be capitalized. 

Why you should focus on this skill: As 2020 has shown us, we can never know what kind of disruptions wait for us. That’s why risk management specialists will be so important – because the new normal will bring all kinds of new risks and challenges all companies will have to navigate through. Developing risk management as a skill can position you as an expert that can interpret a highly fluctuating reality to mitigate the impact of all kinds of risks while maximizing the possibilities that stem from unforeseen changes. 


4. Threat Intelligence

What is it: Threat intelligence is data-based insights about the context, methods, and impact of existing or emerging threats to a system and its assets. Thanks to those insights, you can inform your security-related decisions and act based on the advice you get from this skill. That allows you to better respond to known threats and lets you design better security strategies for the future.

Why you should focus on this skill: While not expected to grow as the skills mentioned above, threat intelligence is predicted to grow 41% over the course of the next 5 years. That means that 2021 won’t be the year that this skill will explode in popularity. This might have you believe that threat intelligence isn’t relevant right now – but you’d be wrong. With so much data floating around right now, it’d be naive if you don’t learn how to leverage it in your security-related efforts. In a sense, developing this skill will have you thinking like an attacker, as you’ll see systems and try to come up with ways to breach them based on the data you already have. 


5. Incident Response

What is it: Incident response is the way in which you handle the consequences of a security breach or cyberattack. The main goal of this skill is to manage the sensitive scenario in such a way that prevents further damage and mitigates the costs and the time it takes for the company to get back on track after the incident. As such, incident response experts need to know how to deal with different factors, from the technical side to the regulatory aspect. Naturally, such a broad scope of work turns incident response into a team effort rather than being an individual responsibility.

Why you should focus on this skill: Unfortunately, cyberattacks won’t be slowing down any time soon. In fact, it’s estimated that there will be a cyberattack every 11 seconds during 2021. So, having a robust strategy in place to deal with potential breaches is a must for all kinds of companies. In such a strategy, there has to be an incident response plan that contemplates different scenarios while offering comprehensive solutions for all of them. That’s the job of a security expert with incident response knowledge – to orient an incident response team when a cyberattack strikes.


Raising the Security Bar

2021 promises to be a tough year for security experts. The increased adoption of remote work and cloud-based technologies multiplies the opportunities for cyberattackers to strike. What’s more – bad actors are investing in more sophisticated threats with the help of cutting-edge technologies. That means that security systems will have to rise to the challenge to meet that level of sophistication.

The only way forward for security teams, then, is to count on seasoned experts that have the necessary skills for the challenges ahead. And while it’s difficult to anticipate all 2021 has in store for us, I’m pretty sure that these 5 cybersecurity skills will play a major role in our business landscape. 

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