Information Security Analytics


Quick Facts: Information Security Analysts
2017 Median Pay $95,510 per year 
$45.92 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation Less than 5 years
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2016 100,000
Job Outlook, 2016-26 28% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2016-26 28,500

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Information Security Analytics Career, Salary and Education Information

What Information Security Analysts Do

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization's computer networks and systems. Their responsibilities are continually expanding as the number of cyberattacks increases.

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Information Security Analytics

Duties of information security analytics

Information security analysts typically do the following:

  • Monitor their organization's networks for security breaches and investigate a violation when one occurs

  • Install and use software, such as firewalls and data encryption programs, to protect sensitive information

  • Prepare reports that document security breaches and the extent of the damage caused by the breaches

  • Conduct penetration testing, which is when analysts simulate attacks to look for vulnerabilities in their systems before they can be exploited

  • Research the latest information technology (IT) security trends

  • Develop security standards and best practices for their organization

  • Recommend security enhancements to management or senior IT staff

  • Help computer users when they need to install or learn about new security products and procedures

IT security analysts are heavily involved with creating their organization's disaster recovery plan, a procedure that IT employees follow in case of emergency. These plans allow for the continued operation of an organization's IT department. The recovery plan includes preventive measures such as regularly copying and transferring data to an offsite location. It also involves plans to restore proper IT functioning after a disaster. Analysts continually test the steps in their recovery plans.

Information security analysts must stay up to date on IT security and on the latest methods attackers are using to infiltrate computer systems. Analysts need to research new security technology to decide what will most effectively protect their organization.


Work Environment for Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts held about 100,000 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of information security analysts were as follows:

Computer systems design and related services: 28%

Finance and insurance: 19%

Management of companies and enterprises: 9%

Information: 8%

Administrative and support services: 6%

Many information security analysts work with other members of an information technology department, such as network administrators or computer systems analysts.

Work Schedules for information security analysts

Most information security analysts work full time. Information security analysts sometimes have to be on call outside of normal business hours in case of an emergency. About 1 in 4 worked more than 40 hours per week in 2016.


How to Become an Information Security Analyst

Most information security analyst positions require a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. Employers usually prefer analysts to have experience in a related occupation.

Education

Information security analysts usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information assurance, programming, or a related field. 

Some employers prefer applicants who have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in information systems. Programs offering the MBA in information systems generally require 2 years of study beyond the undergraduate level and include both business and computer-related courses.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Information security analysts generally need to have previous experience in a related occupation. Many analysts have experience in an information technology department, often as a network or computer systems administrator. Some employers look for people who have already worked in fields related to the one in which they are hiring. For example, if the job opening is in database security, they may look for a database administrator. If they are hiring in systems security, a computer systems analyst may be an ideal candidate.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

There are a number of information security certifications available, and many employers prefer candidates to have certification, which validates the knowledge and best practices required from information security analysts. Some are general information security certificates, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), while others have a more narrow focus, such as penetration testing or systems auditing.

Advancement

Information security analysts can advance to become chief security officers or another type of computer and information systems manager.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Information security analysts must carefully study computer systems and networks and assess risks to determine how security policies and protocols can be improved.

Detail oriented. Because cyberattacks can be difficult to detect, information security analysts must pay careful attention to computer systems and watch for minor changes in performance.

Ingenuity. Information security analysts must anticipate information security risks and implement new ways to protect their organizations’ computer systems and networks.

Problem-solving skills. Information security analysts must respond to security alerts and uncover and fix flaws in computer systems and networks.


salaries for Information Security Analysts

The median annual wage for information security analysts was $92,600 in May 2016. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $53,760, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $147,290.

In May 2016, the median annual wages for information security analysts in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Finance and insurance: $97,680

Computer systems design and related services: $98,100

Information: $96,250

Administrative and support services: $91,510

Management of companies and enterprises: $90,940

Most information security analysts work full time. Information security analysts sometimes have to be on call outside of normal business hours in case of an emergency. About 1 in 4 worked more than 40 hours per week in 2016.


Job Outlook for Information Security Analysts

Employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 28 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Demand for information security analysts is expected to be very high. Cyberattacks have grown in frequency, and analysts will be needed to come up with innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or creating problems for computer networks.

Banks and financial institutions, as well as other types of corporations, will need to increase their information security capabilities in the face of growing cybersecurity threats. In addition, as the healthcare industry expands its use of electronic medical records, ensuring patients' privacy and protecting personal data are becoming more important. More information security analysts are likely to be needed to create the safeguards that will satisfy patients' concerns.

Employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 56 percent in computer systems design and related services over the next ten years. The increasing adoption of cloud services by small and medium-sized businesses and a rise in cybersecurity threats will create demand for managed security services providers in this industry.

Job Prospects for information security analysts

Job prospects for information security analysts should be good. Information security analysts with related work experience will have the best prospects. For example, an applicant with experience as a database administrator would have better prospects in database security than someone without that experience.

Employment projections data for Information Security Analysts, 2016-26

Employment, 2016: 100,000

Projected Employment, 2026: 128,500

Change, 2016-2026: +28%, +28,500


Careers Related to information security analysts

Computer and Information Research Scientists

Computer and information research scientists invent and design new approaches to computing technology and find innovative uses for existing technology. They study and solve complex problems in computing for business, medicine, science, and other fields.

Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and information systems managers, often called information technology (IT) managers or IT project managers, plan, coordinate, and direct computer-related activities in an organization. They help determine the information technology goals of an organization and are responsible for implementing computer systems to meet those goals.

Computer Network Architects

Computer network architects design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Intranets. These networks range from small connections between two offices to next-generation networking capabilities such as a cloud infrastructure that serves multiple customers.

Computer Programmers

Computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications and software programs to function properly. They turn the program designs created by software developers and engineers into instructions that a computer can follow.

Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to computer users and organizations. These specialists either support computer networks or they provide technical assistance directly to computer users.

Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts, sometimes called systems architects, study an organization's current computer systems and procedures, and design solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively. They bring business and information technology (IT) together by understanding the needs and limitations of both.

Database Administrators

Database administrators (DBAs) use specialized software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They make sure that data are available to users and secure from unauthorized access.

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Computer networks are critical parts of almost every organization. Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks.

Software Developers

Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or another device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or that control networks.

Web Developers

Web developers design and create websites. They are responsible for the look of the site. They are also responsible for the site's technical aspects, such as its performance and capacity, which are measures of a website's speed and how much traffic the site can handle. In addition, web developers may create content for the site.

OccupationENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION2017 MEDIAN PAY
Computer and Information Research ScientistsMaster's degree$114,520
Computer and Information Systems ManagersBachelor's degree$139,220
Computer Network ArchitectsBachelor's degree$104,650
Computer ProgrammersBachelor's degree$82,240
Computer Support Specialists$52,810
Computer Systems AnalystsBachelor's degree$88,270
Database AdministratorsBachelor's degree$87,020
Network and Computer Systems AdministratorsBachelor's degree$81,100
Software DevelopersBachelor's degree$103,560
Web DevelopersAssociate's degree$67,990

Citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Information Security Analysts,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm