Enterprises are embracing digitalization for efficient designing of their business processes. Cyber security is a crucial aspect to be considered when companies adopt a digital business model. With the growing number of cyber attacks across the world, it is imperative to secure digital resources and sensitive information from hackers. This is where the role of the Information Security Analyst comes into play.
Companies require information security analysts to protect their computer systems and networks from data breaches by looking for vulnerabilities before they get exploited by malicious hackers. These professionals deal with infiltration by using firewalls, data encryption, penetration testing, and various other techniques.
Increased adoption of cloud services by small and mid-sized companies has become one of the driving factors for the demand of information security analysts. If you are planning to start a career in the field of cyber security, now is the right time to enter since companies are investing hugely to counter cyber attacks. Taking up a cyber security course is beneficial for developing the relevant skills in this domain.
Before exploring these skills, let us understand what does an information security analyst do.
Roles and Responsibilities
Listed below are some of the tasks handled by an information security analyst of an organization:
- Protect sensitive information by using various security tools and data encryption techniques.
- Create a disaster recovery plan to restore proper functioning
- Monitor the system for any suspicious activity and take necessary actions
- Regularly update themselves with the latest techniques that hackers employ to get unauthorized access to the systems
- Communicate with teams to ensure they follow the best practices of data security
- Inform the management about any security updates needed in a software
- Carry out audits from time to time and perform penetration testing to look for vulnerabilities
If the above-mentioned responsibilities are the tasks that you are willing to do, then the role of an information security analyst is best suited for you. However, you should also have the right blend of skills that are needed for this role.
Skills Required to Become an Information Security Analyst
A variety of career options are available to an individual who wishes to work in the field of information security. Some of the common skills expected from a candidate are:
- Programming fundamentals – Knowledge of programming languages like Java, C++, etc. is beneficial to understand the system better
- Problem-solving – Identifying loopholes and finding solutions to be implemented
- Analytical skills – Analyzing computer systems is important to identify potential risks and how to mitigate them
- Hacking skills – It is important to think like a hacker and use similar techniques to check for any threats or even minor issues in the system
- Knowledge of concepts like Security architecture, Security tools administration, Security risk management.
- Understanding of advanced malware prevention, application security development, audit and compliance, and incident handling
- Knowledge of Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), Firewall, Security Information Event Management (SIEM) Tools, and more
- Creativity and alternative thinking to get ideas about possible threats and how to secure the system against them
Working as an information security analyst will help you enhance your capabilities as you will face various challenges in securing your organization’s data. Technology is advancing with every passing day, and so are the techniques used by hackers. You can broaden your skills by constantly upgrading yourself and gain expertise in dealing with the possible cyber attacks.
Salary is a major deciding factor when people make a career choice. So, for starting a cyber security career, it is necessary to know about the salary prospects of such professionals. Information Security Analysts earned an average salary of $95,510 in the U.S in 2017, according to USNews. This job role also ranked 4th in the USNews’ Best Technology Jobs of 2019. This explains why a job in the field of information security is recommended for IT professionals.
With the growing digital transformation, securing data is the need of the hour, and so is the demand for skilled cyber security professionals. There is a massive shortage of security talent with the number of vacancies around 3 million across the world. Companies now understand the risk of cyber attacks and data breaches and are ready to invest more in information security. So, there can be no better time than now to fill this talent gap and explore your skills in IT security.
Become an Information Security Analyst
To start working as an information security analyst, a bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field is required at the least. To demonstrate your level of expertise, you can also pursue cyber security certifications. These certifications can help you gain relevant skills and stand out among your peers while applying for a job. Some of the best certifications in this field include:
- CEH – Certified Ethical Hacker
- CISM – Certified Information Security Manager
- CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- CompTIA Security+
Each certification comes with its own set of prerequisites. So it is necessary to select the right certification depending on your skills and interests. You can also consider taking a cyber security certification course that can assist you in achieving these certifications. The course is helpful in understanding all the concepts from basic to advanced levels like reverse engineering, penetration testing techniques, risk analysis and mitigation, audit process methodologies, performing disaster recovery, and more.
The world of cybercrime posed serious challenges through data breaches that compromised the sensitive data of millions of people globally. Some of the biggest data breaches of 2018 include names like Aadhar, Quora, Starwood Marriot, and Facebook as well. These attacks are indicative of the growing attention of enterprises to secure their data and growing job opportunities for IT professionals in the field of IT security. As the world continues to be driven by data, the field of cybersecurity is here to stay; so become an Information Security Analyst and pave your way to a rewarding career.