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Safe Hands

11 Feb 2020

Ian Donnelly

A safer internet is only made possible by the IT professionals behind the scenes.

Safer Internet Day is an EU wide initiative to promote a safer internet for all users especially young people. It’s primarily focused on educational programmes that are aimed at raising awareness about being safe on the internet for children, parents, carers and teachers. But when it comes to anything on the internet, behind every great initiative is an IT professional working in systems or software development or cyber security!

Who makes the internet safer?

IT professionals create both the websites and the infrastructure that the internet is delivered on and there is a whole host of jobs that they do. When it comes to making the internet safer, it is primarily systems & network administrators, analysts, cyber security/ IT forensics specialists and software developers that are at the cutting edge. Global multinationals too are constantly developing programmes and apps to increase safety on the internet. Microsoft, in their efforts to make the internet safer which also involves finding and removing illegal content, work in partnership with the Internet Watch Foundation on various tools including a cloud-based automated system. They’re not the only ones. Software houses too do their bit to create apps or write programmes to find and remove illegal content. Hosting companies, online file storage organisations and social media giants are all highly aware of their own responsibilities for safety on the internet and while many might say the social media organisations aren’t doing enough, they are at least trying.

 It should come as no surprise that governments, state agencies and law enforcement bodies are significant employers of forensic experts and cyber security analysts. Cyber security specialists can work for all types of companies however and while not specifically employed to make the internet safer, they are responsible for making their own systems network safer. They do that by monitoring firewalls and by ensuring no viruses get into the system and that no employee is accessing illegal sites on work computers either knowingly or unknowingly. Companies like DarkTrace which sets up tools to advise the IT department if an employee is on a suspicious site and Eset which allows disabling access to illegal sites offer valuable resources to an organisation’s cyber security team. Spamhouse too creates a blacklist of known threat websites which cyber security analysts can access in order to block them from their servers.

How to start

If you’re just starting out, it’s possible to gain basic experience in IT security as a security administrator, network administrator or systems administrator. Forensics is also an option and job titles here vary from computer forensics engineer, IT forensics technician or analyst. Forensics essentially are digital detectives, finding and analysing evidence from devices, PCs and networks. You could be investigating white collar crime, cyber terrorism or crimes against children depending on your specialised area. 

Skills needed

Technical skills required to work in IT forensics include network administration, a knowledge of Windows, UNIX and Linux operating systems as well as C, C++, Java and similar programming languages. Analysts also need to be experts in using technical internet tracing techniques.

Whether it’s whitehat hacking, penetration testing, incident response or forensics, working in any form of IT security means that there will always be a career for you.

 If you’re working in cyber-security, software development or network administration and want to explore your career options, call Ian Donnelly, Principal Consultant on + 353 1 6621000 or email Ian Donnelly for more information.