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What does a
Cyber Security Specialist do?

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Other common names for this position: Security Administrator, Network Security Specialist, Systems Security Administrator, Information Security Architect, Cyber Security Manager, Cyber Security Consultant, Cyber Security Director


In a world where a Security Guard protects assets and a Bodyguard protects people, a Cyber Security Specialist protects information from theft, illegal duplication, and unauthorized access. The work of a Cyber Security Specialist focuses on finding risks and possible leaks. Cyber Security Specialists deal with protecting information on computer networks, cloud servers, mobile devices, and payment software, to name a few. They analyze where these risks are and develop strategies to prevent breaches. Cyber Security Specialists fight against cyber criminals, people who use the internet and various hacking methods to steal sensitive or private information from computers.

Many of the job aspects of a Cyber Security Specialist overlap with those of someone working in the field of Information Technology due to the nature of their work being closely tied to computers and technology. Like most positions related to Security, Cyber Security Specialists rely heavily on teamwork due to the broad scope of the Computer Science field and the security measures that need to be applied to it.

Primary Responsibilities

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Cyber Security Specialists are required to complete.

  • Understanding the information that needs to be protected:
  • Determining security measures best suited for the type of information; and
  • explaining the security measures taken to employers using non-technical language.
  • Protecting sensitive or personal information from unauthorized access or use:
  • Identifying potential security risks;
  • designing strategies and defensive systems against intruders;
  • monitoring systems for unusual activities (e.g. unauthorized access, modification, duplication, or destruction of information);
  • running counteractive protocols; and
  • reporting incidents.
  • Testing security strategies and defenses:
  • Attempting to break in to uncover potential weaknesses;
  • acting like a hacker to test defensive systems;
  • trying to access information without proper credentials;
  • trying to breakthrough firewalls and other security applications; and
  • writing reports based on test results.
  • Developing new defensive systems and protocols:
  • Creating new layers of protection;
  • updating security systems; and
  • developing new counteractive protocols.
  • Granting permission and privileges to authorized users.
  • Running diagnostics on information changes to check for undetected breaches that may have occurred.
  • Analyzing new methods of intrusion by cyber criminals:
  • Keeping up-to-date on trends and new procedures in the industry; and
  • taking the necessary precautions, updating and fortifying defenses accordingly.

Daily Tasks

  • Protecting information from unauthorized access, duplication, modification, or destruction.
  • Analyzing security measures taken to protect information.
  • Testing for and correcting possible weaknesses or openings.
  • Configuring security programs and tools.
  • Running vulnerability tests and updating defensive protocols and systems accordingly.
  • Granting access and credentials to authorized users.
  • Monitoring all access to the information.
  • Checking for unregistered changes of information.
  • Running defensive protocols and programs when breaches occur.
  • Writing regular reports on systems status.

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Required Skills and Qualifications
  • Outstanding computer and IT skills:
  • Being familiarized with computer security systems;
  • having an understanding of network safety protocols; and
  • being able to run, configure, monitor, and maintain security programs.
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills:
  • Being able to identify problems or breaches in security software; and
  • understanding the necessary procedures to solve problems and implementing the proper protocols.
  • High levels of creativity and patience:
  • Being able to think of creative new ways to develop and implement security measures and preventive protocols; and
  • imagining how a hacker would attempt to access information.
  • Strong decision-making skills:
  • Having a logical and analytical approach to problem-solving, being able to assess situations and decide on the best course of action;
  • understanding test results and developing the best solutions; and
  • reacting properly when breaches occur.
  • Outstanding organizational and time management skills:
  • Being able to work with complex systems and equipment;
  • completing tasks in a timely manner;
  • being detail-oriented, able to run repetitive tests in a thorough manner; and
  • being able to work on several tasks at the same time while being able to meet goals and deadlines.
  • Good communication skills:
  • Explaining updates and breaches to employers in a polite and clear manner, using non-technical language.
  • Excellent teamwork skills:
  • Helping other staff members; and
  • working as a unit.
  • Outstanding levels of honesty, integrity, and objectivity:
  • Being highly objective when running tests and analyzing weaknesses;
  • being trustworthy enough to handle sensitive or private information.

Cyber Security Specialists work for a wide variety of companies and agencies. Given the necessity to protect sensitive and personal information from hackers and other cyber criminals, Cyber Security Specialists are highly sought after. For most entry-level jobs, applicants are required to possess a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Information Technology, or Systems Engineering. Companies usually look for people with the necessary preparation and experience to protect their information from outside access. They also require applicants to have one (1) or two (2) years of previous experience working with computer systems and networks.[1]

Depending on the company, some Cyber Security Specialists work 35 to 40 hours a week. Nevertheless, some companies require a 24-hour vigilance of their systems and servers and set their employees on rotating shifts. Other companies have Cyber Security Specialists on call during weekends, nights, or holidays to respond in case of a breach. While the vast majority of big companies have their own Cyber Security Specialists working as part of their staff, there are also Cyber Security agencies that tend to smaller businesses that can’t afford or simply don’t need to have a specialist in their staff.

Most of the work for these professionals is office-based, at the location of the company. However, self-employment and working from a distance is quite common in this area, since the nature of the job does not require Cyber Security Specialists to be physically near the servers they’re protecting; they just need an internet connection and a computer to work from.

Being that they work with sensitive or private information, Cyber Security Specialists are expected to maintain a high level of professionalism and restrain themselves from discussing the information they work with outside of their work environment. Some of the information may even be classified, hence, aspiring Cyber Security Specialists will have to go through background checks and possess a clean criminal record in order to obtain a job.[2]

Job Offers
There are currently "78" available job offers for the Cyber Security Specialist position on Below is a list of available jobs, based on Canada's most populated metropolitan areas.