Information Security Analyst: Skills, Outlook, and Salary
With advances in communication technology and the logistical considerations resulting from COVID-19, more companies have embraced remote work in recent years. A 2022 survey from McKinsey & Company and Ipsos found that 58% of Americans have the opportunity to work from home at least one day a week, with 35% having the option to work from home five days a week. This allows companies to draw from a wider pool of talent less tied to geographic location, and it means that employees can create a more productive and fulfilling work-life balance.
However, added freedom means added risk, especially for information security. In 2021, 86% of companies were hit by successful cyberattacks, according to CyberEdge Group—that’s a 24% increase over the previous seven years. While not directly attributable to remote work, the increase of off-site employees using potentially unprotected devices can make systems vulnerable. A substantial increase in cyberattacks has occurred over the last decade, potentially impacting a company’s bottom line and damaging its reputation.
This is where information security analyst skills play a key part in preventing cyberattacks from compromising organizations in the first place and knowing how to react if they do. Individuals interested in pursuing this promising career should look into ways to acquire the education and training to help guide them on how to get a job in cybersecurity.
What Is an Information Security Analyst?
Information security analysts develop and implement security solutions to safeguard a company's networks and systems and create plans for recovery in case an attack occurs. Their work ensures that employees can access networks and data when they need them without leaving them vulnerable to hackers and other cybercriminals. In the event of a cyber attack, these measures minimize the impact by helping all involved parties respond quickly and effectively.
Information Security Analyst Job Description
The role of an information security analyst can be broken down into two areas: research and planning. Information security analysts perform a range of duties within these areas, including:
Researching the latest hacking trends and those that are on the horizon to create the best defense against potential attacks
Monitoring cybersecurity issues and studying emerging security innovations to determine the best methods for safeguarding their organizations
Establishing contingency plans in case of an attack
Implementing preventive steps, such as routine data copying and regularly transferring critical information to off-site servers, so organizations can continue operating should a system become unusable or corrupted and can restore lost data as quickly as possible
Routinely testing systems as part of regular maintenance to identify and correct flaws
9 Information Security Analyst Skills
Developing the tools to become an effective information security analyst requires commitment and persistence. Individuals interested in becoming information security analysts should consider enrolling in a cybersecurity bootcamp to sharpen and refine their skills. Here are a few of the top skills individuals should strengthen to stand out among their peers in this profession.
1. Information Technology Proficiency
Information security analysts must have a solid grasp of network protocols, as cyberattacks frequently target computer networks. Information security analysts can also increase their proficiency by monitoring technological news and trends, as the field is constantly evolving.
2. Programming Language Fluency
To accurately assess the activities of hostile users on their networks, information security analysts must comprehend coding principles, and they must be able to develop code to execute their own work more efficiently and effectively.
3. Analytical Ability
Information security analysts monitor computer networks and look for potential vulnerabilities. Being able to identify, evaluate, and address problems requires strong analytical abilities.
When they detect a security issue, information security analysts must frequently make snap judgments to choose the most effective strategy to respond to the attack without jeopardizing their organizations’ data.
Information security analysts may also use problem-solving skills to fix difficulties in their organizations’ computer systems and build innovative approaches to prevent these vulnerabilities.
Information security analysts must be able to communicate security requirements and potential risks to both technical and nontechnical audiences. They often have to distill highly technical information down to what the average employee needs to know to mitigate threats from hackers.
6. Attention to Detail
Information security analysts must pay close attention to computer systems and keep an eye out for slight performance decreases, as cyberattacks may be hard to catch.
7. Data Encryption
Another key skill for information security analysts is data encryption, in which a piece of data or access to a server requires a key from the user. Sometimes, these keys are simply elaborate passwords, but they can be physical keys, as in the case of flash drives required to access sensitive materials. Because it protects sensitive data from unauthorized users, knowing how to properly encrypt data is a crucial skill for information security analysts.
Cryptography is the study of various techniques, such as encryption, that allow for secure communication. It also features techniques to ensure that the sender, recipient, and message itself are authentic. Understanding and implementing cryptography tactics is an essential information security analyst skill because it assists in safeguarding information and communications and preventing unwanted access to private information.
9. Security Threat Identification
The security threat identification process examines vulnerabilities within an organization’s network and determines a threat’s ability to compromise the system. Identifying these threats in advance gives information security analysts time to alter their defenses and counter them, preventing a system breach.
Information Security Analyst Salary and Job Outlook
Given the rise of cybercrime in recent years, it’s no wonder that information security analysts are so widely in demand and well compensated. The median annual salary for information security analysts was $102,600 as of May 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Plus, future job prospects look very strong, with 33% projected employment growth between 2020 and 2030.
Some information security analyst positions prefer a bachelor’s degree in computer science; cybersecurity; or a related field, such as mathematics, but others are open to candidates with other field-specific training.
Many employers prefer candidates to have relevant certifications and licenses to verify that they know the latest standards, such as CompTIA Security+ certification. Those interested in learning specific information security analyst skills and improving their resumes with cybersecurity certifications should consider resources that can help them prepare, such as a bootcamp.
Become a Leader in Cybersecurity
As technology continues to advance, giving workers greater freedom to work remotely on networks that span the country, even greater opportunities are available for you to embark on a rewarding career protecting those networks. Fullstack Academy’s online Cybersecurity Analytics Bootcamp offers the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of security and networking while gaining hands-on experience with systems and devising protective measures—all in a live online format over 13 to 26 weeks.
Learn more about how Fullstack Academy’s cybersecurity training programs can help you develop your information security skills to support your professional goals.