In today’s business climate, with companies of every description digitizing their services and internal operations, there is perhaps no department more important than information security. Organizations need qualified teams to protect their infrastructure and the vital company and client data contained within.
When you’re searching for roles that provide you with opportunities to be a truly pivotal member of an organization ― with the job security and pay that come along ― it makes sense to gravitate toward roles such as that of an information security analyst. These employees make up the backbone of a given business’s data protection strategy.
If you can build the educational and professional experience to earn an information security analyst job title, the opportunities for advancement and success are considerable. This means building your information technology skills with every chance you get, showing hiring managers you can cope with the advanced threats facing businesses of all kinds.
What Is an Information Security Analyst?
An information security analyst is a versatile and capable member of the IT department. The Balance specified that these analysts must be familiar with the many aspects of digital security today. Organizations have numerous endpoints and networks in need of protection, and many kinds of data to defend against attacks of all kinds.
Not only must information security analysts oversee the continued implementation of existing protective measures, but they also have to constantly assess those systems’ weaknesses and oversee the upgrade process. Since hackers don’t stand still, constantly developing new attack types and testing companies’ defenses, security personnel have to stay proactive about developing countermeasures.
The Balance added that there are plenty of “soft-skill” aspects to being a good analyst in addition to the harder technical aspects of the job. For instance, the people in these roles will have to teach their colleagues, both in and out of the IT department, to adopt better practices for protecting their data. Furthermore, IT security analysts are the messengers tasked with telling upper management when there is a gap in protective systems that must be filled through a new tech deployment.
Information security analysts have to prepare for all kinds of threats to IT systems ― not just those coming from attacks. As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted, analysts are responsible for IT disaster recovery plans. These essential strategies come into effect when an attack or any other type of incident, such as a natural disaster or a fire in a server room, impacts infrastructure. Companies today place enormous value on their data, and as the people protecting that information, security analysts are pillars of their organizations.
How Much Does an Information Security Analyst Make?
Information security analyst salary figures reflect the demand for these employees, with relatively high starting rates and the potential for significant advancement. According to PayScale data retrieved in June 2020, the average salary for an information security analyst is $71,977. The highest-paid 10%of information security analysts make well into the six-figure range, with security analyst salaries over $109,000.
Information security analysts have an opportunity to make more than the national average salary in metropolitan areas with high demand for IT experts due to a large concentration of modern digitally enabled companies and government organizations. PayScale specified that in Washington, D.C., with its vast collection of federal agencies in need of cybersecurity, the typical information security analyst salary is 18% over the national average. Boston follows at 14% above national salary estimates, then New York at 12%.
How Do You Become an Information Security Analyst?
Due to the importance of information security, taking a role in this department will likely depend on having the right educational background alongside several years of experience in entry-level IT positions. Companies will not risk their security posture by giving such a vital role to someone they don’t feel is competent and knowledgeable regarding present-day cyber threats.
The BLS explained it typically takes a bachelor’s degree in an IT subject to become an information security analyst. At most employers, this level of education is the minimum bar applicants must clear.
On top of the educational background, you should seek out technology roles that will help you build hands-on familiarity with the kinds of systems you will be protecting. The BLS noted that this may involve doing specific IT work in preparation to apply for a security role, for example becoming a systems analyst in anticipation of working as an information security analyst focusing on systems, or being a network architect to move into network security.
The online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems from the University of Alabama’s Collat School of Business is a program designed for people who want IT knowledge relevant to today’s companies. Courses on topics such as Systems Analysis, Information Systems, Database Management, and more ensure you are fully immersed in modern IT, and the knowledgeable, connected faculty make learning a positive, engaging experience in this 100% online program.
Visit the program page to find out how this degree could help you on the path to an information security analyst career.