Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. Their responsibilities are continually expanding as the number of cyberattacks increases.
Information security analysts typically do the following:
IT security analysts are heavily involved with creating their organization’s disaster recovery plan, a procedure that IT employees follow in case of emergency. These plans allow for the continued operation of an organization’s IT department. The recovery plan includes preventive measures such as regularly copying and transferring data to an offsite location. It also involves plans to restore proper IT functioning after a disaster. Analysts continually test the steps in their recovery plans.
Information security analysts must stay up to date on IT security and on the latest methods attackers are using to infiltrate computer systems. Analysts need to research new security technology to decide what will most effectively protect their organization.
Most information security analyst positions require a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. Employers usually prefer analysts to have experience in a related occupation.
Information security analysts usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information assurance, programming, or a related field.
Some employers prefer applicants who have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in information systems. Programs offering the MBA in information systems generally require 2 years of study beyond the undergraduate level and include both business and computer-related courses.
Information security analysts generally need to have previous experience in a related occupation. Many analysts have experience in an information technology department, often as a network or computer systems administrator. Some employers look for people who have already worked in fields related to the one in which they are hiring. For example, if the job opening is in database security, they may look for a database administrator. If they are hiring in systems security, a computer systems analyst may be an ideal candidate.
There are a number of information security certifications available, and many employers prefer candidates to have certification, which validates the knowledge and best practices required from information security analysts. Some are general information security certificates, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), while others have a more narrow focus, such as penetration testing or systems auditing.
Information security analysts can advance to become chief security officers or another type of computer and information systems manager.
Analytical skills. Information security analysts must carefully study computer systems and networks and assess risks to determine how security policies and protocols can be improved.
Detail oriented. Because cyberattacks can be difficult to detect, information security analysts must pay careful attention to computer systems and watch for minor changes in performance.
Ingenuity. Information security analysts must anticipate information security risks and implement new ways to protect their organizations’ computer systems and networks.
Problem-solving skills. Information security analysts must respond to security alerts and uncover and fix flaws in computer systems and networks.
The median annual wage for information security analysts was $103,590 in May 2020. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $60,060, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $163,300.
In May 2020, the median annual wages for information security analysts in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
|Finance and insurance||106,430|
|Computer systems design and related services||104,820|
|Management of companies and enterprises||102,330|
|Administrative and support services||99,860|
Most information security analysts work full time. Information security analysts sometimes have to be on call outside of normal business hours in case of an emergency. Some work more than 40 hours per week.