What Does an Information Security Analyst Do?
An information security analyst keeps an organization’s data secure. An analyst focuses on the confidentiality, integrity and availability (CIA) of data. (That’s not a reference to the famous intelligence agency, but the acronym makes it easy to remember.)
The title cybersecurity analyst is sometimes used interchangeably with information security analyst. In some companies, the two roles overlap — but there’s a difference. A cybersecurity analyst is a type of information security analyst who focuses on protecting data in cyberspace from unauthorized sources. An information security analyst focuses on data that exists in both physical and electronic form. The two roles are sometimes merged into one job.
Information security analysts and cybersecurity analysts are in demand at all types of businesses, financial institutions and government agencies. More companies need their skills because hacking is becoming more common. In fact, job growth in this field is increasing much faster than it is in most industries.
- Assess the value of data and the specific risks a company may face
- Secure systems and perform security audits
- Monitor access to the network and look for vulnerabilities
- Verify the security of third-party vendors
- Install software to help protect the company’s data
- Analyze security breaches
- Create and maintain a disaster recovery plan
- Develop best practices for the organization and train users
- Stay up-to-date on threat tactics and computer viruses
How To Become an Information Security Analyst: FAQs
What kind of training is required for an entry-level security analyst?
Employers often look for experience in a related field, such as network and computer systems administrator roles. As a result, some people reach the analyst level through cross-training and certifications. However, most employers require a bachelor’s degree in computer science or cybersecurity. Information security analysis is a specialized degree that may provide more job opportunities.
Courses cover several areas of security, including physical security, software security (firewalls) and network security. Programs dig into privacy laws, security infrastructure and risk management. Some programs also include programming or coding knowledge, but that isn't typical.
Certifications can validate general expertise — such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) — or they can increase specialization and expertise. Areas of specialization include systems auditing, computer forensics, application security as well as governance, risk and compliance.
How long does it take to become an analyst?
It depends on the path you take to get there. A bachelor’s degree takes four years, but as mentioned, some people work their way up to this role through certifications and training. The timetable for that approach varies by company and individual. For example, a person who has experience as an IT support specialist or a network and computer systems administrator would have a good foundation to build on.
Is there a demand for this job?
Yes. Jobs are projected to grow 33% from 2020 to 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's not surprising considering the increase in cybersecurity threats. It's a concern that affects businesses of all sizes.
What skills and qualities would make someone a good fit for this job?
Successful candidates share these traits:
- Excellent analytical skills
- Excellent listening and communication skills
- A knack for finding innovative solutions
- Embraces continuous learning of technology and legal requirements
- Excels in a complex work environment
The bottom line on becoming an information security analyst:
If you work well under pressure and changing technology excites you, consider this career. There’s no lack of opportunity, there’s the promise of a healthy salary and — if you play your cards right — you can reach this level without the debt of a four-year degree. That’s uncommon, but it is possible. Does the idea of protecting company data interest you? If so, look below for nearby training opportunities.