One of the biggest threats that companies face is cyberattacks. Hackers are continuously finding new techniques to access different organizations’ sensitive information and damage it. As the rate of these attacks keeps growing, so does the need for professionals who can protect that data, including information security analysts.
In this article, we will cover all you need to know about information security analysts, starting with an answer to the question of what is an information security analyst and then continuing with how to become an information security analyst.
What Is an Information Security Analyst?
An information security analyst is a trained professional responsible for creating security systems that protect a company’s sensitive information. They thoroughly understand cyberattacks and malware so they can stay one step ahead of cyber attackers and ensure the company’s computer networks are inaccessible for anyone who tries to steal, damage, or compromise the data.
What Does an Information Security Analyst Do?
Since information security analysts work to protect the company’s network, hardware, and software, they have to fulfill many duties, such as:
- Regularly updating systems with the latest antivirus programs and firewall protection.
- Continuously performing tests to identify the network’s vulnerabilities and potential risks.
- Monitoring and managing security breaches.
- Informing and helping the other employees about security procedures in the company.
- Verifying that the protection programs used work efficiently.
- Planning the route of action and ways to recover data in case of emergencies.
- Researching potential viruses or other threats and coming up with ways to prevent them.
- Installing password protectors, vulnerability management tools, and virus software.
- Reporting to the cyber security and management team what is well-protected and what could be at risk.
Information security analysts are always looking for ways to increase the level of security within the company.
How to Become an Information Security Analyst?
The key to becoming an information security analyst is to put in the work and prepare for the position. Through a bachelor’s degree, additional certifications, and practical experience, you will develop and improve the necessary skills for the job. Let’s look into each step of the way.
Get a degree
Information security analysts often have an IT degree, a background in computer science, or in programming. In other cases, they graduate from programs directly related to security, such as a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. Upon earning such a degree, you will be qualified for entry-level information security analyst positions.
If you want to take a deeper dive into the field, further your education, and qualify for higher positions, then you can pursue a master’s degree. Most employers prefer applicants who have a cyber security degree or an MBA in information systems. By earning a master’s degree, you show your employer that you have attained the necessary knowledge and skillset to handle critical security issues.
Obtain IT certifications
Getting certified is a big plus in your career. The certificates show that you are dedicated and have invested your time and money into improving your IT and security skills. Some certification choices that will help you achieve success in your career are:
- CISM: Certified Information Security Manager
- CISSP: Certified Information Security Systems Professional
- CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
- CCSP: Certified Cloud Security Professional
- CompTIA Security+ or PenTest+
- CySA+: CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst
- CASP+: CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner
- CISA: Certified Information Security Auditor
- CISM: Certified Information Security Manager
- GSEC: SANS GIAC Security Essentials
- OSCP: Offensive Security Certified Professional
Some of the certification programs, such as Security+, are great for recent graduates or employees in entry-level positions because they have no requirements, whereas some more advanced certifications do. For instance, CISM candidates must have a minimum five years of work experience, with at least three of them being in the information security field. Similarly, CISSP requires five years of work experience, or less if you have a bachelor’s degree.
Gain experience on a related field
Having prior experience working in the cybersecurity field can help you to succeed as an information security analyst. You can gain professional experience from working as a computer systems analyst or administrator. Other helpful positions include network administrators and database administrators. This way, you can learn about the career sector and gain the necessary skills.
Gaining experience will not only increase the chances of a promotion but will also help you qualify for the various IT certifications listed above as well.
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Develop the skills
The position of information security analyst requires specific knowledge and abilities to perform the needed tasks. Some of the demanded skills are:
Through your problem-solving skills, you can find out how to keep cyber attackers from accessing the company’s systems. Even if you are not familiar with their hacking style, these skills can help you find the right solution to fixing any complication you encounter.
As an information security analyst, you will need to have strong analytical skills. They are crucial at any stage of your information security career, as they help you assess potential risks and make informed decisions about what to do next in case of a cyber attack.
When working as an information security analyst, you will face complex issues. But, by being detail-oriented, you focus on every element so you can find the vulnerabilities in the company’s security systems and measures. Then, you can fix them to ensure that no attacker will get into the system.
As listed above, one of the tasks you will deal with as an information security analyst is explaining security protocols to the firm’s employees. For non-professionals, complex security policies can be difficult to understand. You will need good communication skills to effectively communicate all the security steps the employees need to follow.
With technology evolving and changing the future of business and other sectors of the economy, the information security analyst position will continue to be in demand. The growth rate of this career is projected at 31%, one of the highest in the US.
The position of information security analyst is itself considered an entry-level job for many higher cybersecurity positions. So, if you choose this path, you will have plenty of room to grow and further advance in your career. And last but not least, with each task, you will be helping to make the digital world a safer place.