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Information Security Analyst Career Guide

Are you good at problem solving and have expert technical skills? Do you enjoy fixing issues and designing ways to prevent them? You might be right for a career as an information security analyst where you can put your detail-oriented skills to work. 

Information security analysts design and employ IT security systems to protect an organization’s computer networks from cyber attacks. They monitor computer networks for security issues, install security software, and document all security issues or breaches. They also help develop, implement, and maintain security standards.

Information security analysts have experience utilizing penetration testing and techniques, installing security software, and documenting security issues. They have excellent written and oral communication skills, as well as a good understanding of patch management, firewalls, antivirus, and intrusion detection system concepts.

Sample job description

This position assists the information security officer (ISO) in developing and maintaining a comprehensive security program for [Your Company Name]. Providing functional and technical support is important to maintaining security posture and protection of electronically and physically stored information assets across our systems. Tasks include reviewing and updating university-wide policy relating to information security, supporting design, implementation, configuration, and maintenance to mitigate risk to the university and its computing endpoints.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Designs, evaluates, and implements IT security systems
  • Monitors computer networks for security issues
  • Investigates security breaches and cybersecurity incidents
  • Documents security breaches and assesses impact
  • Performs security tests, risk assessments, and audits to uncover network vulnerabilities and provides training to ensure violations do not persist
  • Mitigates vulnerabilities to maintain a high-security standard
  • Develops best practices for IT security
  • Performs penetration testing
  • Researches security enhancements and makes recommendations to management
  • Stays current on information technology trends and security standards
  • Prepares reports that detail risk assessment findings 
  • Installs and updates security and antivirus software
  • Uses data encryption, firewalls, and other related security tools and applications to protect confidential digital information

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field
  • MBA in information systems preferred
  • 3+ years experience in information security or related field 

Required skills and qualifications

  • Experience with computer network penetration testing and techniques
  • Solid understanding of firewalls, proxies, SIEM, antivirus, and IDPS concepts
  • Ability to identify and mitigate network vulnerabilities 
  • Good understanding of patch management
  • Proficient with various OS
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Knowledge of firewalls, antivirus, and intrusion detection system concepts

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience installing security software and documenting security issues
  • Experience administering information security software and controls
  • Experience defining process for managing network security
  • Network and system administration experience

Typical work environment

The typical work environment for an information security analyst is an office setting. They spend most of their days reviewing security reports from the previous day or shift, looking for threats, and identifying malware that may have infiltrated the system. They may have to respond quickly to system breaches or attacks at any time. Part of their day involves meeting with other IT professionals in the organization and collaborating on efforts to protect data and network infrastructure.

Typical hours

Information security analysts typically work a regular 40-hour week from Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM.  During technology releases or program updates, they might be required to work longer hours. System and software maintenance and updates are generally performed after hours during specific change windows, which are usually overnight and on weekends.

Available certifications

Information security analysts work in a variety of industries. Many institutions offer certifications for information security analysts, including:

  • CompTIA Security+ Certification. The CompTIA Security+ is for entry-level professionals and demonstrates that you have the baseline skills needed to perform core security functions. The program provides hands-on troubleshooting, equipping you with practical security problem-solving skills. Certification proves your ability to assess the security of an enterprise environment and recommend and implement appropriate security solutions. It also shows you can monitor and secure hybrid environments and identify, analyze, and respond to security events and incidents.
  • Certified Penetration Tester (CPT). The CPT certification is offered by the Information Assurance Certification Review Board and designates your working knowledge and skills in the field of penetration testing. The program covers nine domains, including penetration testing methodologies, network protocol attacks, network reconnaissance, vulnerability identification, windows exploits, and Unix/Linux exploits. The CPT certification is good for four years.
  • Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP). The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium administers the SSCP certification, which demonstrates your advanced technical skills and knowledge in implementing, monitoring, and administering IT infrastructure using security best practices, policies, and procedures. Candidates for certification must have at least one year of experience in the field. 

Career path

The path to becoming a Press Operator begins with earning a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers may prefer j

The process of becoming an information security analyst typically begins with earning a bachelor’s degree in information security or a related field. Some employers look for applicants with a master’s degree in cybersecurity, information security, computer programming, or related fields. Many information security analysts achieve IT certifications, either as part of their undergraduate or graduate studies, or after graduation. Aspiring information security analysts typically gain experience working in various security-related positions. 

Information security analysts work in many different industries, although most work in the computer and information technology industries. Opportunities for advancement for experienced information security analysts include becoming chief information security officers, who oversee security teams in an organization, and security engineers, who create and implement security systems to protect private data and systems.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1212

2020 Employment141,200
Projected Employment in 2030188,200
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 33% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift47,100 increase

The biggest threat to cyber security today is ransomware, and ransomware attacks are expected to continue. Ransomware is malware that denies users and system administrators access to files or entire networks then holds the files or network ransom while the bad actors responsible typically demand payment in Bitcoin.

Many organizations are not prepared to repel a ransomware attack. Healthcare providers are especially vulnerable because personal health information can sell for hundreds of dollars per record. The need to catch up to and get ahead of ransomware attacks is of utmost importance. 

Supply chain attacks are also expected to grow and become more focused on specific targets. Supply chain attacks are especially dangerous in that they can impact many thousands of customers, as well as hundreds of companies and government agencies. Attacking a supplier can give bad actors entries to larger organizations by bypassing their sophisticated security controls. Attackers might attempt to gain control over an organization’s systems or lie dormant while exposing and collecting data. One way security analysts are working to fight against supply chain attacks is by implementing zero trust architecture.