Information Security Analyst: Skills You Need to Become One

Information Security Analyst

An information security analyst combines their resourcefulness and excellent analytical abilities to protect a company’s most valuable asset: its electronic data. This person’s work enables their company to operate safely and efficiently. IT professionals who want to work as information security analysts are embarking on a career that’ll undoubtedly be tough — but lucrative and ever-evolving. As a result, the occupation of information security analyst has become one of the most appealing in the IT industry.

What is an information security analyst?

Information security analysts are responsible for analyzing security risks and vulnerabilities in a company’s network, computer systems, and software. They design and implement security measures to help protect company data.

They’re also responsible for identifying sources of information leaks. They use tools like firewalls, anti-virus software, encryption, and intrusion detection systems to monitor networks. An information security analyst’s job is incredibly important; the person in this role needs to be aware of all potential information security threats and prevent them from happening. In general, they also need to be familiar with computer systems, networks, and malicious software.

Cyber Crime

Technology evolves, fast. That means hardware and software required for data transmission, processing, encryption, and storage has to evolve fast, too. Information security analysts are only as good as their knowledge of existing and emerging security systems and cyber-attack techniques. Though these methods change, the overarching goal of keeping a company’s important information safe stays constant.

Steps to become an information security analyst

This occupation tends to be particularly appealing to curious people who enjoy learning how things work and disassembling and reassembling systems. It’s rare to become an information security analyst by chance, as this path does require a combination of concentrated education and experience.

Step 1: Earn a bachelor’s degree

A bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity is offered by many colleges and universities. This degree can prepare students for entry-level positions in the field of cybersecurity.

To complete a Bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, students need to take courses focusing on computer security, cryptography, and network security. These courses are designed to prepare students for professional careers in the field of cybersecurity.

A Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems is a good option for those who want to dive deeper into computer-based security as an undergraduate. Students can use their growing computer security skills in a business management environment, which is a function that goes beyond finding bugs and understanding the latest computer security strategies.

Students with a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems are expected to be able to plan, develop, implement, and supervise a company’s computer security system, all while working within the limits of a normal modern organization. The program provides students with an up-to-date understanding of various IT-related systems and trends, showing expertise that industry professionals employ.

The information gained from a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems degree allows students to handle various key computer-related concerns. The degree program, for example, teaches the fundamentals of developing, assessing, and implementing a data disaster recovery plan. In the aftermath of a disaster, tasks may include relocating data to an off-site location, restarting a whole IT system, and restoring its integrity.

Step 2: Gain on-the-job experience

While a degree can help students stand out in the job market, skilled applicants have better chances at securing a great gig if they include work experience on their resume. An intermediate-stage protection analyst is usually someone with several years of experience in statistics protection, so this type of on-the-job experience shows potential employers that applicants understand how to use their knowledge in real-world settings, making the candidate more likely to get hired.

As with most jobs in the technology business, staying up to date on new technologies and techniques in cybersecurity is an important aspect of on-the-job experience. The range of these advancements includes everything from cutting-edge firewall systems to new methods built around incident responses. Information security analysts can obtain real experience in staying one step ahead of any cyber intrusions by being aware of such advancements.

Step 3: Get certifications and training

In addition to being up-to-date on cyber security challenges, it’s also critical to stay current with state-of-the-art trends on the other side of the equation — namely the cyber assault side. Malevolent attempts to access computer networks and systems, as well as virus deployment and denial of service (DoS) attacks, are always evolving. Information security analysts must be capable of dealing with new versions and variants.

Security certifications are the best way for an information system analyst to keep up with the ever-changing world of cybersecurity. Some organizations demand that job hopefuls — and even current workers — have specific technology certifications, which serve as additional proof of a candidate’s aptitude and core capabilities.

Some badges, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), mirror general information security expertise. Many other specialist certifications, on the other hand, guarantee a greater understanding of a certain component of cybersecurity. A CREA (Certified Reverse Engineering Analyst) certification focuses on malware analysis, whereas a Certified Ethical Hacker certifies a legitimate breach into a network’s security system to uncover faults.

A candidate for CISSP certification must have at least five years of experience in two or more of the eight CISSP domains, which include asset security, communication, network security, identity management, and access management (IAM). Candidates must have at least two years of experience in the information security domain or have completed an officially sanctioned training course to apply for the initial Certified Ethical Hacker certification. 

Step 4: Pursue a master’s degree in cybersecurity

Although it takes years of on-the-job experience to become an information security analyst, an advanced degree such as an MS in Cybersecurity will help you get there faster. This type of curriculum usually combines academic study with practical work experience in a corporate setting. This component of experience not only helps to enhance cybersecurity abilities but also helps to acquire insight into the commercial side of the industry. Real-life case studies and studies of the profession’s legal repercussions may be part of the exposure.

A cybersecurity advanced curriculum usually aids in the development of skills in related fields such as computer engineering and business. This can give graduates a more well-rounded and comprehensive view of the information security analyst profession, which, when combined with relevant work experience, can help them be considered for higher-level positions or development.

Potential job titles and responsibilities

It’s time to apply for information security analyst jobs when you’ve completed the procedures above. These positions can be found in a range of industries, including computer systems design, finance, insurance, company management, administrative services, and more. People in this position could work for government agencies, banks, retailers, healthcare services providers, and in many other industries.

Possible job titles:

  • Security Analyst
  • Senior Security Analyst
  • Senior Consulting Engineer – Information Security
  • Information Technology Security Analyst
  • Senior IT Security Analyst
  • Senior Information Security Compliance Analyst
  • Information Security Engineer

Day-to-day responsibilities:

  • Keep an eye on your networks for security flaws.
  • Install and update security software to keep sensitive data safe.
  • Deploy fake attacks that can be used to identify areas of possible vulnerability.
  • Develop a plan for the company’s recovery following an attack, as well as security standards and best practices.
  • Prioritize, analyze, and document security incidents, threats, and critical metrics.
  • Review data on a daily and quarterly basis to uncover vulnerabilities and generate reports.
  • Analyze and set up security tools and software.
  • Collaborate with IT and end-users to reduce issues and preserve assets.

 Skills needed to become an information security analyst

A good information security analyst is detail-oriented and can see subtle changes in a system’s performance that may signal a security breach, unauthorized software, or malware. The information security analyst detects and diagnoses the system’s “hiccups” accurately, preventing something much larger and more serious from occurring down the road.

A successful information security analyst should master these skills:

Project management: Overseeing teams that collect data and monitor systems for security threats are among the project management skills that an information security analyst will need. They’ll also need to be able to communicate effectively.

Security risk management: An information security analyst keeps an eye on things and strives to keep a system as risk-free as possible. They use security risk management to detect high and low-level threats and develop ways to counteract them.

Tableau software or other Business Intelligence tools: Information security experts utilize Tableau software, a business intelligence, and analytics program, to comprehend the data they collect.

Cybersecurity: An information security analyst must have a general understanding of cybersecurity, as every firm requires an expert who knows risk management and mitigation. They should also have a basic understanding of IT and coding.

Network security management: An information security analyst must be able to apply ways to improve a company’s computer system’s security. This includes putting new security technologies to the test, responding quickly to threats, and managing a staff of IT specialists and analysts.

IT security: An information security analyst will need to know how to use a firewall and a router when it comes to IT security. They can keep an eye on the infrastructure and traffic of the computer system, looking for any potential security or data breaches.

Incident response and handling: While not all security analysts are involved in incident response to some extent, the majority are. The ability to work inside a formal instance detection and response procedure increases the value of the security analyst profession to a firm.

There are ways to protect a company’s digital assets from hackers. When reacting to a crime scene, you must have a broad understanding of the situation. If you remove or change data that was intended to be used as digital proof, you may lose your ability to sue the attackers.

Communicating and documenting incidents: Communication skills are critical in security crises and are essentially measured as soft skills rather than the technical skills listed above. You will almost always work in a larger group. As incidents escalate and are delivered faster, strong communication is essential.

To really drive this point home, consider finding a new zero-day bug. You may need to escalate this to Tier 3 SOC members, vendors, or system users. Also, any activity or action must be properly documented as it may be used in a court proceeding.

Salary and job outlook

Information security analysts will see a 32 percent increase in employment over the next ten years, which points to substantially more growth than the average for all occupations. To provide novel solutions to prevent hackers from obtaining sensitive data, information security analysts will be in high demand in the future.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for information security analysts was $102,600 in 2021 or $49.33 per hour. According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for an Information Security Analyst in the United States is $99,944 per year as of May 28, 2022.

Certifications for an information security analyst

An information security certification is a group of certificates that develop basic knowledge in a variety of disciplines, as well as validate for industry professionals that the person has achieved certain standard levels.

CompTIA Security+

The CompTIA Security+ certification is a fundamental need for an information security analyst. It’s a basic, vendor-neutral certification that teaches network security and risk management fundamentals. The accreditation is the initial stage, but it opens up a lot of doors on its own. Our online training course covers all six categories of knowledge required for certification and includes a test voucher.

Certified Ethical Hacker

The CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) certification teaches advanced logistics, such as viral code development and reverse engineering, to uncover the strategies hackers employ to commit data breaches. This certification helps professionals learn and comprehend a hacker’s thoughts — including learning enemy techniques — and create successful protection measures.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is the gold standard in information security analyst certification. It prepares students to work as professionals in the information security industry. The CISSP covers a wide range of topics:

  • IT security
  • Architecture
  • Design
  • Management
  • Controls

The most sought-after information security certification in the IT business is the CISSP.

CISSP Domains
CISSP Domains

Certified Information Systems Auditor

The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification covers a variety of topics related to enterprise IT governance and control and prepares students to design and perform successful security audits. The CISA certification is a complete cycle that includes security system purchase, development, testing, and implementation.

Start your career as an information security analyst

Companies hire information security analysts to supply security solutions. An information security analyst’s responsibilities include conducting research, gathering data, devising secure tactics, and maximizing productivity. They adhere to rigorous privacy policies while implementing security concepts. When it comes to detecting security threats and other weaknesses, information security analysts are more proficient. They inspect corporate environments regularly and keep a close eye on logs and computer traffic.

To reduce downtime and avert security incidents, information security experts recommend updates for running technology in their companies. They used to document security breaches and follow company procedures. They understand how to successfully operate firm infrastructures, such as routers, firewalls, and other physical devices. They work together with other IT specialists to achieve the company’s objectives.

Information security analysts are in high demand, and technical security experts with the right training and qualifications can work in one of the world’s most diverse job marketplaces. The demand for IT and cybersecurity is only going to grow. In a complicated and extremely volatile security environment, Cloud Academy’s security courses and training can help you achieve job security. 

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