What are the responsibilities of an Incident Responder?
An Incident Responder is sometimes also called an Intrusion Analyst or CSIRT Engineer. These folks are best known as cyber firefighters who rapidly address threats and security incidents given within an organization or company they are working for.
As an Incident Responder, you will have access to a variety of different forensics tools to find the root cause of any given problem in order to minimize the damages and deal with it in order to keep it from ever happening again. You are called a cyber firefighter simply because your job basically involves prevention and education.
As an Incident Responder, your main aim is to prevent an attack from happening or keep an attack from getting worse if it has already initiated. During your work hours, you are expected to:
Identify security vulnerabilities and flaws in the system or network
Perform reverse engineering and malware analysis
Establish different protocols to communicate with law enforcement or an organization during a security event
Produce technical briefs and detailed incident reports for administrators, end users and management
Actively monitor work systems and networks for possible threats
Perform risk analysis, network forensics, security audits and penetration testing
Develop a series of responses for security problems happening within the organization
Come up with a program development plan that puts security gap assessments, procedures, policies, training, tabletop testing and playbooks on the top
As an Incident Responder, you can also work as a private consultant or get hired by a big organization; it all comes down to your experience and personal preference. If however you are a member of Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT), you will usually report to a CSIRT Manager.
Keep in mind due to the similar nature of computer forensics expert and incident responder, a lot of companies are considering it the same job. You can read more about computer forensics expert.
If you are just starting out, you can gain fundamental experience to take on the incident responder job through working as:
Or you can always go for Computer Forensics Expert position which leads you to this next level job.
After you have spent some time working as an incident responder, you can advance your career and become a CSIRT manager or Director of Incident Response.
Job titles that are equivalent to Incident Responder include:
Cyber Incident Responder
Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) Engineer
Computer Network Defense (CND) Incident Responder
Incident Response Engineer
Cyber Security Incident Responder
The average annual salary of an incident responder is around $81,000. This varies depending on your job, company, experience and other factors. However, you can expect to reach annual salary ranging anywhere from $55,000 to $110,000 per annum.
To become an incident responder, you do not need to have a specialized degree. You can become one by holding a bachelor’s degree in computer science or Math, Cyber security and Electrical Engineering. A degree is never necessary for this position.
But if you really want to make a nice career out of this job, you may consider getting a master’s degree in Information security or Information Assurance that focuses mostly on Incident Response. Some universities do offer these specialized degrees.
Popular work experience requirement can range anywhere from 2-3 years in incident response or security. For a senior position in incident response, you’ll need at least 5+ years of relative work experience.
A lot of companies are looking for adaptable, flexible and simple folk for the incident responder positions. This is because the job position has to deal with a lot of pressure and stress. If you panick very quickly, you’ll have trouble in the job.
Incident Responder’s work is best described as a detective work. So you need to have puzzle solving and good analytical skills. You also need to be able to write concisely and clear on every matter. You’ll also be expected to have good communication skills because you will be translating technical stuff to people who have no technical knowledge.
Incident Responder jobs require a lot of technical knowledge, hence you will be expected to hold a good set of hard skills. Some of the most important ones are listed below:
- C,C++,C#, Java, PHP, PERL and other computer languages
- Windows, Linux and UNIX operating systems
- Software systems
- Computer Hardware
- Understanding of backup and archiving tools
- eDiscovery tools
- System monitoring tools for enterprises
- Cloud Computing
- TCP/IP network configurations
- Web based application securities
- Forensics applications like Cellebrite Encase etc.
- Installing operating systems and updating them with new configurations and patches
Incident Responders have a lot in common with Forensics Experts. So naturally, all the recommended certifications that are applicable for forensics experts apply here. But a lot of companies require different accreditations. Make sure you check with them before going for a certification. Here are some of the top recommended ones:
CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
GCFA: GIAC Certified Forensics Analyst
GCIA: GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst
CPT: Certified Penetration Tester
CCE: Certified Computer Examiner
GCFE: GIAC Certified Forensics Examiner
GCIH: GIAC Certified Incident Handler
CCFE: Certified Computer Forensics Examiner
CREA: Certified REverse Engineering Analyst
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