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.


Full Responsibilities

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.




Career Paths

If you are just starting out, you can gain fundamental experience to take on the incident responder job through working as:


Network Administrator

System Administrator

Security Administrator


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.


Related Jobs

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


Expected Salary

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.


Soft Skills

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.


Hard Skills

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


Recommended Certifications

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



Jake Ciber

Jack of all trades... master of none... ABL... Always Be Learning! I love what I do and I love helping people.