Cyber attacks have been on the rise around the globe, with hackers and other criminals targeting businesses large and small to steal valuable information or bring computer networks to a halt.
Information security analysts are valued for their ability to protect an organization’s data and information from such attacks.
These information technology (IT) professionals are often employed by IT service providers, banking and financial services, government agencies and healthcare companies.
Job duties typically include planning and implementing security measures to protect computer systems, networks and data. Information security analysts are expected to stay uptodate on the latest intelligence, including hackers’ methodologies, in order to anticipate security breaches. They also are responsible for preventing data loss and service interruptions by researching new technologies that will effectively protect a network
• Creating, testing and implementing network disaster recovery plans
• Performing risk assessments and testing of data processing systems
• Installing firewalls, data encryption and other security measures
• Recommending security enhancements and purchases
• Training staff on network and information security procedures
Employment opportunities and salary potential generally vary based on work experience, educational level and local market factors.
Most information security analysts have earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming, engineering or a related field, the BLS reports. Some employers prefer candidates with specialized
knowledge of information security, which may be obtained through a formal training program. Certain positions require work experience or advanced degrees, such as a Master of Business administration in Information Systems.
Information security analysts generally have a variety of competencies – creativity, ingenuity, leadership and teamwork, among them.
A number of professional certifications are available to information security analysts, including Certified Information Systems Security Professional and Certified Information Security Manager, as are vendor credentials offered by companies such as Microsoft and Cisco.
Advancement from information security analyst to information security manager or information security officer may be possible with experience and/or advanced educational qualifications
According to a BLS nationwide survey, information security analysts earned a median annual wage of 77,990 in 2011. The top 10% earned in excess of 124,860. Those figures represented increases over 2010 of about 2,300 and 5,000, respectively..