Information security analysts are an integral part of protecting an organization’s networks and systems. As cyberattacks and vandalism grow and evolve, so too does the responsibility and need for information security analysts. These individuals are skilled in both hardware and software. Their primary focus resides in managing an organization’s security measures, assessing it for weaknesses, and fixing any issues that could cause a potential security hole.
Most information security analyst positions require a bachelor’s degree in a technology related field (such as computer science, computer programming, or software engineering).
The responsibilities of an information security analyst focus on networks and security. They constantly monitor an organization’s networks for security breaches. Should the analyst find one, he or she will investigate the violation. They must also stay up-to-date on the latest firewalls and data encryption programs in order to secure sensitive data. Information security analysts also carry out penetration tests and analyze the results to gauge vulnerability in the network’s security system.
IT security analyst continually adapt in an effort to “stay ahead” of any potential hackers or intruders. Not only must they know firewalls and security measures, but they also research the latest techniques and software use by cyberattackers. Security Analysts research the newest trends in IT security to discover what does and doesn’t work.
IT security analysts also play a managerial role in an organization. Following the testing and research, analysts develop security protocols for the organizations networks and practices. Also, analysts make recommendations to senior members of the information technology staff. Should a member of the organization experience difficulty using a new security product or adapting to a security procedure, the analysts are generally the first ones to help out.
Training and Education Requirements
A college degree is required in this field since the position involves protecting an organization’s network. Information security analysts typically hold degrees in Computer Science, Computer Programming, or Software Engineering. These degrees center on programming, communication, and managing information systems. These courses make analysts well rounded and provide additional background in management.
Some employers require candidates have a MBA in information systems. An MBA in information systems generally requires two additional years of study. The Master’s program includes both business and computer-related courses.
Salaries and Wages
According to the Bureau of Labor, information security analysts earn salaries that range from $50,000 to $130,000 annually. This annual income fluctuates depending on the industry that the analyst works in. On average, analysts working for finance and insurance earn an average income of $92,000, analysts working in the information sector earn an average of $91,000, analysts working for computer systems design earn an average of $88,000, and analysts who manage general corporate IT networks earn an average of $81,000. Generally speaking, analysts who work for technology based companies earn more than analysts employed by other corporations. Analysts pay can fluctuate depending on experience as well. The median pay for analysts is $86,000.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
A salary increase is also possible with certifications in a particular area.
The Bureau of Labor estimates that employment of security analysts will grow by 37% from 2012 to 2022. This growth rate is much faster than the average of other occupations and the average of all computer based occupations. For the time being, information security analyst is a secure, burgeoning career choice. The Bureau of Labor doesn’t see that changing anytime soon.
The demand for this position is already high. It is expected to increase as time passes. As the frequency of cyberattacks increases and the sophistication of these attacks increases, many organizations worry about the safety of their networks. Analysts are necessary to insure this network safety.
Additionally, the Bureau of Labor expects the federal government to increase use of information security analysts. *
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Information security analysts may join organizations such as the Association of Information Technology Professionals and the Information Systems Security Association. The AIT provides leaders in technology with knowledge based on the IT industry standards, the latest innovations in technology, and how these innovations affect an organization. The ISSA, an international not for profit organization specifically for information security professionals, provides analysts with informational forums, publications, and peer interaction.
The associations are important because they afford analysts the opportunity to gleam knowledge and expertise through the experiences of other leaders in the industry. Information security analysts may connect with other analysts and to discuss insight on the policies and practices that work as well as ones that do not.
This can be tremendously helpful in an area such as computer information systems were there are not abundant opportunities to change entire network systems based on speculation on theories that have not been tested.