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Can a cyber security analyst work from home?

Are you interested in cyber security and looking for a work from home job? Perhaps you already work as an office-based cyber security analyst but would prefer to work from home if possible.

Either way, you’ll want to know whether a cyber security analyst can work from home. Read on to find out.

What is a cyber security analyst?

A cyber security analyst is an IT professional who specialises in protecting computer systems and networks from cyber attacks, such as online hacks.

Some cyber security analysts work as consultants, either as self-employed individuals or as a member of a consultancy firm. Consultants work with a number of client businesses, which they advise on cyber security issues.

Other cyber security analysts work for a single large organisation. Often as part of a larger cyber security or IT team, they are tasked with protecting that organisation’s systems.

Most cyber security roles are office based, though it is not always a 9 to 5 job. Some cyber security analysts work shift patterns, including evenings and nights. Others may need to be on-call at unsociable hours, ready to respond to any security incidents.

So, if the role is usually office based, can a cyber security analyst work from home?

The good news is that it is possible to work from home as a cyber security analyst.

However, there are a few issues that need to be considered.

What are the challenges to a cyber security analyst working from home?

Before deciding that you’re going to work from home as a cyber security analyst, you need to ensure that you have the right home office environment and equipment.

You also need to be absolutely sure that remote working is right for you.

Reliable internet access

Cyber security is a hugely important job. If a company’s network is breached it can lead to the loss of sensitive commercial information or customer data. This can have enormous financial consequences for the company in question, and can erode customer trust in the business. For this reason, it’s vital that cyber security analysts are able to respond quickly to any security threat.

If you’re working from home and have unreliable internet, you may not be able to get online to do your job. For less urgent jobs, that might not be a big deal, but for a cyber security analyst, it could be catastrophic.

Reliable internet access is therefore essential for any home-based cyber security analyst.

Secure remote access

If a cyber security analyst is working from home, they will need remote access to company systems. It goes without saying that this access needs to be secure!

The last thing any cyber security analyst should be doing is jeopardising a company’s security by conducting work on unsecured networks or setting up remote access that could itself lead to a security breach.

Team working & communication

While you may think of cyber security as a solo job – with the analyst delving deep into code and working with computers and networks rather than people – it is actually a role that requires a lot of communication.

A cyber security analyst working from home may regularly need to speak to:

  • Colleagues in the IT or security team
  • Colleagues in the wider business
  • Representatives from various client companies
  • Suppliers and other third parties – for example, contacts at security software providers

All of this means that a cyber security analyst must be set up with the necessary tools for video conferencing, phone calls, and collaborative working.

It may also mean that even cyber security analysts who work from home will need to travel sometimes. For example, to the office for in-person meetings or to client businesses.

Learning opportunities

An important part of developing a career in cyber security is staying up-to-date with the latest technologies and developing new skills.

It’s absolutely possible to do this from home, but it can be harder than when you are working in an office.

This is particularly true when you are first starting out in your cyber security role. In an office, you’ll find that you pick up valuable skills from colleagues with decades of experience. When working from home, you may miss out on these opportunities and feel more isolated.

Pressure to work 24/7

As with most work from home jobs, there is a danger of being tempted to work more than you should.

When your work is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it can be difficult to force yourself to stick to your contracted number of hours.

This is particularly true when your workload piles up or when you have clients in other time zones. However, it’s important to not allow yourself to be sucked in to working all day and night. Even when working from home, you must have a separate work and home life.

Home office set up

Like any homeworker, a home-based cyber security analyst will need a suitable home office setup.

For this role in particular, considerations such as multiple monitors – and enough desk space to put them on – may be especially important.

You’ll also need a place to work without any distractions, such as children or pets.

What are the advantages to working from home as a cyber security analyst?

There are challenges to working from home, but there are lots of positives too.

No more commuting

High up most people’s lists of working from home advantages is escaping the daily commute. Getting ready for the day, making a coffee and simply strolling into your home office certainly beats spending hours stuck in gridlocked traffic or squeezed on to overcrowded public transport.

Do things your way

When working from home, you create your own schedule. At least, to some extent. You’ll still need to be available to clients and colleagues at agreed times. And you’ll still have deadlines that need to be met and emergencies that need to be responded to straight away. However, outside of these tasks, you can work without anyone looking over your shoulder telling you what to do every minute of the day.

You also get to choose your own environment and customize your surroundings far more than you would in an office. You can choose to play your own music, drink your own coffee from your coffee machine, cook your own lunches, and sit on the type of office chair you like best.

Peace and quiet

When you work from home, the opportunities for chatting with co-workers is limited and you don’t have a noisy office distracting you from your work.

This can be a positive or a negative, as it does mean that you miss out on social interactions. It really depends on your personality type. Some people prefer to work alone, while others would get unbearably lonely within a couple of days.

Remember though – you will still need to communicate with others frequently, even when working remotely. A remote-working cyber security analyst is not a job for the total recluse!

Global opportunities

This is a big advantage of remote working for both individuals and companies.

By allowing their cyber security analysts to work from home, companies can access a bigger pool of talent – potentially from all around the world – rather than only employing workers from their local area.

Equally, individual analysts can look beyond their town or city to find better opportunities further afield.

Cyber security is an industry that places a high value on individual talent, knowledge and experience. It’s crucial that companies hire the best people and they’re often willing to pay high salaries to do so. Working from home allows you to compete for the best roles within this global market.

The verdict: can a cyber security analyst work from home?

It is absolutely possible for a cyber security analyst to work from home.

While most analysts work in an office, there are lots of remote roles available and modern technology means that working from home is more common than it once was.

Home-based cyber security roles include positions within corporate IT teams and consultancy work, where the analyst works for several clients. Whether or not homeworking is an option will depend on the employer. You should always discuss this at the point of interviewing for the job if possible, rather than assuming that remote working will be possible.

Even when an employer does allow their cyber security analysts to work from home, it’s important to consider factors such as secure remote access, internet reliability and office setup. These are the basics of ensuring that a cyber security analyst can work well remotely.

Finally, as with any work from home job, you should think carefully about whether working from home is right for you. Will you love the lack of commute and freedom to create your own unique work environment? Or will you hate the social isolation and find it difficult to avoid working 24/7? Only you can answer that.

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