How To Become An Information Security Analyst
Career Video: Information Security Analyst
Are you interested in computer security? Do you want to work in a setting where you will be keeping the organization’s computer systems safe and secure? If the answer to both questions is yes then you can consider becoming an information security analyst. In this profession, you will be performing the very important task of defending your company’s computer network. As such, you need to be up-to-date on the latest trends in information technology. This means researching new technologies to determine which one will best protect the organization you belong to and attending conferences on the subject.
You will be developing and carrying out standards for security for the company as well as the best practices to follow in ensuring that all members of your organization will follow safety protocol. In order to safeguard sensitive information, you will be installing firewalls and encrypting data. If there is a need to make security improvements, you will be making recommendations to the firm’s senior leadership. An important part of your work is doing penetration testing or simulating an attack to determine your system’s security vulnerabilities.
Your skills as an information security analyst are going to be put to good use in the event of a security breach. You will be in charge of tracking the breach the moment it becomes known and conducting an investigation to ascertain where it came from and who the possible perpetrators are. You will also be preparing the report about the cyber attack, making sure that the extent of the damage is included in the documentation.
Another crucial part of the job of information security analysts is crafting the disaster recovery plan of the company. This refers to the protocol that the IT department follows in the event of an emergency. Obviously, the plan includes the procedures that the employees will follow in order to restore the proper functioning of the firm’s information technology system after any kind of emergency. In addition to that, it also includes preventive measures like the regular backing up of files and transfer of data to another offsite location. It also details such steps as how the IT department will work before, during and after any emergency. Information security analysts are responsible for carrying out regular testing of this disaster recovery plan to determine if it is still relevant.
You will need to be highly analytical if you want to succeed as an information technology analyst. Sometimes, cyber attackers carry out very subtle attacks that it takes a very analytical and observant information security analyst to determine that something is amiss with the system. You also need to have an eye for detail to be able to detect that your system is not performing optimally. You also have to remember that cyber criminals are updated on the latest security technologies so if you want to keep your system protected you have to be a step ahead of them.
Why Become An Information Security Analyst
A career as an information security analyst is for those who have a passion for computer security. It is for those who are really intent on keeping digital information safe and secure no matter which organization they belong to. They understand that in today’s age of information technology, people and companies put vital data in their computer systems. If these happen to get into the wrong hands, they know the damage it would cause. Information security analysts derive their inspiration from the fact that their job will secure digital and online data.
The fact that the world is increasingly relying on computers and the Internet provides another reason to become an information security analyst. Data shows that it is a fast-growing occupation that will provide many job opportunities to aspiring security analysts. It also pays quite well.
Information Security Analyst Work Environment
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that 27 percent of information security analysts worked for companies in the computer systems design and related services industries in 2012. It also showed that 19 percent were employed with finance and insurance firms, 10 percent worked for information companies while 8 percent were employed with firms engaged in the management of companies and enterprises.
They often work fulltime in an office in the company’s information technology department. They also collaborate with network administrators or computer systems analysts in the course of their duties. In the event of emergencies, such as during breaches or disasters, information security analysts may have to work longer hours.
Information Security Analyst Salary
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed in its May 2013 Occupational Employment and Wages report that the mean annual wage of information security analysts is $91,210. This is higher than the $85,320 paid to computer systems analysts.
In May 2012, the agency reported that the highest-paid information security analysts worked for finance and insurance companies and were paid $92,080. They were followed by those working for information companies ($91,440), computer systems design and related services ($88,270) and those employed by firms engaged in the management of companies and enterprises ($81,130).
Information Security Analyst Career Outlook
For the ten-year period covering 2012 to 2022, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a very good career outlook for information security analysts. In that time period, the employment rate of this occupation is set to grow 37 percent. This rate is much faster than the average for all job types. The driver for demand comes from the increasing frequency of cyber attacks and the advanced methods and techniques with which these are carried out.
The federal government and the healthcare industry are also going to contribute to the growth of information security analysts. This is because the United States is beefing up the protection of its critical information technology systems while the healthcare industry is pushing for the safeguarding of patient’s personal data as it moves toward the use of electronic medical records.
Information Security Analyst Degree
Information security analysts need to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming or related fields. While a four-year bachelor’s degree may serve as an entry point to the profession, those who obtain a Masters of Business Administration in information systems are bound to have an edge. This will require two more years of study after obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
In addition to fulfilling the educational requirement, employers also prefer analysts that have previously worked in a related occupation. This usually means having experience in a company’s information technology department as a network administrator, systems administrator, database administrator or computer systems analyst. Moreover, they also put premium on certifications. Becoming a Certified Information Systems Security Professional is certainly going to enhance one’s credentials.