Cybercrime is a huge threat today, affecting businesses, governments, organizations, and individuals. Every small or large-scale business wants to protect its online information from hackers, scammers, and malicious actors.
In our day-to-day lives, we use the internet for many things, such as storing personal data, making financial transactions, working online, and much more.
Having said that, cybersecurity architects play a vital role in an organization and ensure the data is safe. In this article, we will explain what cybersecurity architecture is and what cybersecurity certification covers.
Who is a Cybersecurity Architect?
A security architect is responsible for designing, creating, and maintaining the security systems that protect an organization’s IT network, including its computers and data.
They assess the organization’s systems for security weaknesses and conduct penetration tests, risk analyses, and ethical hacks on network types, such as LANs, WANs, and VPNs. Apart from that, security architect also tests the performance and security of routers, firewalls, and similar systems.
What is the role of a cybersecurity architect in information security?
A cybersecurity architect is one of the essential roles in an organization that protects networks, data, and sensitive information from cyber threats and vulnerability attacks.
Cybersecurity architect plans and executes security features for networks and computers, evaluate the systems for weaknesses, and devise strategies for incident response and recovery.
They also establish and follow policies and procedures related to the security of the IT infrastructure they are managing. A position with this kind of role and responsibilities requires a professional with a comprehensive understanding of computer systems and network architectures.
On top of that, these professionals must be familiar with the skill of various technologies from VPNs to clouds.
Other than this, cybersecurity architects may also suggest secure solutions, such as using essential security tools for vulnerability discovery and intrusion prevention systems for the team and colleagues.
Depending on the specific security needs and goals, a cybersecurity architect can have various titles and responsibilities in an organization. Some of the possible roles are:
The security architect’s job is to create and implement secure solutions across complex enterprise environments; also setting up an architecture program to protect the enterprise's systems and information assets from external and internal threats.
The information architect mainly collaborates with teams to develop efficient systems and software. Helps secure a company’s architecture by identifying and driving appropriate initiatives.
Computer network architect:
The computer network architect often works with computer systems engineers who help build the network; also plays a crucial role in designing data communication networks, such as local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), virtual private networks (VPNs), and Intranets that are usually part of the IT infrastructure found in most enterprise workplace environments.
Cloud security architect:
The cloud security architect supports an organization’s on-premise and cloud security infrastructure at all design, development, and implementation levels from the most sophisticated cyberattacks. They tend to have knowledge and skills in cryptography to safely store data while building secure systems from the application development security perspective.
Best certification programs for cybersecurity architects
Microsoft Certified: Cybersecurity Architect Expert
As a Microsoft cybersecurity architect, you help an organization secure its assets, business, and operations by designing and implementing solutions that follow a cybersecurity strategy.
You apply Zero Trust principles and best practices to create security solutions for domains such as identity, devices, data, applications, networks, infrastructure, and DevOps. You also design solutions for GRC, security operations, and security posture management.
You work closely with IT security, privacy, and other organizational stakeholders to align the cybersecurity strategy with the business needs and goals. To earn this certification, you need to have experience in the following areas:
- Identity and Access
- Platform protection
- Security operations
- Data security
- Application security
- Hybrid and multicloud infrastructures.
You should be an expert in at least one of these areas and have experience with Microsoft security technologies.
CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
The CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification is an internationally recognized credential for information security professionals. It demonstrates their standardized knowledge and ability to design, implement, and manage cybersecurity programs for large organizations.
The CISSP certification covers eight domains of the CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK), including disaster recovery planning, management practices, cryptography, and networking security. The certification is more technical than the CISM certification, which focuses more on management.
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification is a widely-recognized credential for cybersecurity professionals. It validates their skills and knowledge to perform ethical hacking, which is the practice of testing the security of computer systems by using the same tools and techniques as malicious hackers, but with permission and for the benefit of the owners.
The CEH certification covers a wide range of topics related to ethical hacking, such as reconnaissance, scanning, enumeration, system hacking, malware, sniffing, social engineering, denial-of-service, session hijacking, web application hacking, wireless hacking, cryptography, and more. The certification aims to provide a comprehensive and practical understanding of the hacking landscape and the latest threats and countermeasures.
To obtain the CEH certification, candidates must meet the following requirements: Have at least five years of cumulative paid work experience in two or more of the eight domains of the CEH Common Body of Knowledge (CBK), which are aligned with the latest industry standards and best practices.
In order to crack this certification exam, you need to pass a four-hour exam comprising 125 to 175 multiple-choice and advanced innovative questions. The passing score is 700 out of 1000 points.
CompTIA Security+ is one of the well-known and widely-accepted certifications that focuses on hands-on practical skills, preparing the security professional to solve a wide range of real-world issues. CompTIA Security+ is the foundational certification for cybersecurity professionals.
It validates the core knowledge and skills needed to work in the field and pursue advanced-level cybersecurity jobs. Security+ covers the best practices for hands-on troubleshooting and equips you with the practical security problem-solving skills to:
- Implement appropriate security solutions for an organization based on its needs and goals
- Monitor and protect hybrid environments, including cloud, mobile, and IoT
- Operate with an awareness of applicable laws and policies, including principles of governance, risk, and compliance
- Identify, analyze, and respond to security events and incidents
CompTIA PenTest+ certification validates the offensive skills of cybersecurity professionals who perform penetration testing and vulnerability assessment. Cybersecurity professionals with CompTIA PenTest+ can plan, scope, and manage weaknesses, not exploit them.
CompTIA PenTest+ is suitable for IT cybersecurity professionals with three to four years of hands-on information security or related experience or equivalent training who want to start or advance a career in pen testing.
- Successful CompTIA PenTest+ candidates will have the following skills:
- Plan and scope penetration tests
- Conduct passive reconnaissance
- Perform non-technical tests to gather information
- Conduct active reconnaissance
- Analyze vulnerabilities
- Penetrate networks
- Exploit host-based vulnerabilities
- Test applications
- Complete post-exploit tasks
- Analyze and report penetration test results
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification is a globally-recognized credential for information security professionals with experience managing, designing, overseeing, and/or assessing an enterprise’s information security (IS).
The CISM certification demonstrates that the holder has the knowledge and skills to provide effective security management and consulting services, following international best practices.
The CISM certification also assures executive management that the holder is part of an elite peer network of information security managers with unique and valuable credentials.
The CISM job practice defines a global job description for the information security manager role and a method to evaluate existing staff or compare prospective new hires.
The final thought
As a security architect, you’ll be responsible for creating and maintaining your IT network's security systems and infrastructure. You’ll need to master various programming languages, understand the technical aspects of IT infrastructure, and have excellent analytical skills.
These skills will help you design security solutions that can cope with the dynamic nature of cyber threats. Some people may think that security is a trade-off for efficiency. However, security architects strive to avoid this dilemma in their networks.
They aim to implement security measures that do not compromise the performance and productivity of the network.
Security architects will deal with proactive and reactive security actions on the network. They must be familiar with firewalls, penetration testing, and incident response techniques, but that’s not all.
They also need to have a solid background in computer networking, such as routing and switching, since they will also be involved in building networks.
If you are looking for a career that combines networking, security, and some management aspects, you must consider becoming a cybersecurity architect.