Please tell us about yourself
A cyber forensic & information security analyst probes into crimes in the cyber world just like a detective/ investigator fights crimes in the real world! With advances in technology and its penetration into our lives, there has also been an increase in the frequency of cyber crimes and offenses. Just like we safeguard our money & valuables, it is necessary to secure information in digital space.
Mihir Shukla, an analyst (cyber forensic & information security) with Stickman & Nevagi Cyber Forensic Investigation Services Private Limited, explains the nuances of his job to us:
What are your areas of expertise?
My core competence lies in the field of Information Security & Cyber Forensic. I have completed my B.Sc. (Hons) in Computer Security & Forensics from the University of Bedfordshire, UK. I hold expertise in the following:
1. Vulnerability assessment
2. Penetration Testing
3. Cyber crime investigation
4. Digital forensics
5. Information security auditing
6. Data recovery
8. Risk Assessment
I also have also garnered experience in implementing ISO 27001:2013 in key national and international projects.
How did you get started in such an offbeat, unconventional and uncommon career? What motivated you to get into this career?
I always had an inclination towards the field of forensics, however I couldn’t find any related course for the field, also I wanted to gain some field experience in order to understand how strong my passion was for the field.
I started working as a network & system administrator at a small computer institute from where I had pursued my Hardware & Networking Diploma. Simultaneously, I completed my Bachelors in Commerce.
Computers always fascinated me; I would read about the latest computer technology and new research going on around the world. I was exploring the concepts of ethical hacking & computer forensics and realized my inherent curiosity for the subject. This curiosity turned into passion and determination to explore the field further.
My interest intensified when I learnt how forensic science plays such a crucial role in our day to day life, be it mobile technology, banking, education, media etc. Often this factor is not realized by the common man, but this doesn’t diminish its importance. This was the key factor which drove me to build my career in this field.
What is this career like?
This field is full of excitement and thrill of learning something new. You face tough problems and develop a creative way to solve them. Honesty, ethical compliance to rule and regulation, privacy of confidentiality of information is core to the field.
I definitely believe that forensic science can prove to be platform with tremendous growth in the current scenario.
A basic graduation, couple of computer security certifications and good communication skills can yield you a decent job. Globally recognized certifications are really important. Moreover the exposure to a professional environment, learning new technologies & developments in the field of information technology, client interaction understanding of how the business works will help you develop yourself.
One should be prepared to work in long and flexible shifts. Working for international clients will give a global exposure.
What is a normal work day in the life of an information security analyst?
My day generally starts at 9:30 in the morning. I start with making my to-do list, checking what meetings and calls are scheduled on my calendar. I have a daily meeting with our team and our Director – Operations and plan activities for the day. The meeting also helps us and the management to understand if there are any issues in the organization or regarding a particular project.
Then I start working on my project which is assigned to me. Mostly I have client calls scheduled. 7-8 days a month I am traveling to client locations to perform the audits or to investigate some crime. When I am in office I work on reports, information security policy & procedures drafting or performing audit off-site.
In between all of the above activities there are a couple of tea and lunch breaks. At the end of the day (which sometimes ends at 6:30 pm or can even go up till the next morning!), I generally make a note about the tasks that were completed and finally go home.
How was your journey from your first job till the current one? Where do you see yourself 5-10 years from now?
The journey has been fabulous! From my first job of being a system & network administrator in a small institute to an MNC now has been amazing. There are so many things I’ve learnt in these years and am still learning. I have seen success and failure, ups and downs, but this has definitely made me strong. Staying alone in UK for my studies has also taught me time management, which is very crucial in this industry.
After 5-10 years I will continue my journey in this same industry, I aim to keep upgrading myself with new technologies and gathering experience in my field. I would want more global exposure in my related field; this would bring me both professional and financial growth.
What specialized training and education did you choose to succeed in this field? What inspired you to build the skills?
You need to be very specific in this industry to get your share of success. I did my B.Sc.(Hons) in Computer Security & Forensics from the University of Bedfordshire, UK. I also did a couple of global Information Security certifications. The most important thing to succeed in this industry is to always stay updated and to give your 100%. You need to have a passion for Information Security & Forensics to survive in this field.
Communication skills, working in a team, time management and discipline are very important. I always had a keen interest in information security and forensic – so, “love what you do, do what you love”.
Which skills have you found most helpful, and which will be most important in the future?
The most important are the technical skills, other skills like communication skills and time management. With excellent communication skills, you can become a good leader, trainer, presenter and a scrupulous professional. This field is very new and niche so the passion has to be very high and constant. As long as you are updated with the latest technologies and are enhancing your technical skills, you can survive the competition.
Do you have any other `words of wisdom’ that you would like to pass on?
Be passionate, make your work place exciting but don’t lose your focus on work. Always learn from your mistakes, and don’t let your success get into your head. Give time to your friends and family. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.