What You Need to Know to Become an Information Security Analyst by William G. Perry, Ph.D.

Modern society and economies are literally driven by computer technology. Hundreds of thousands of information specialists are needed to keep the digital processing infrastructure working. This reality isn't going to change. Opportunities for employment in computer and information technology are only going to expand.

One of the job clusters associated with computer and information technology jobs is that of Information Security Analyst. All businesses and organizations need specialists to help them secure information assets from crackers and hackers.

The number of security breaches is on the rise. The cost of intrusions to computer networks is increasing and so is the sophistication of attacks coming in from the Internet. An organization, without a computer security plan, has failed to provide for the confidentiality, integrity and availability of its assets.

Information security analysts are involved in analyzing threats and vulnerabilities that are associated with computer networks. A person who is interested in the field must have an education beyond high school and be comfortable with continual learning. He or she would be working with groups throughout the organization and helping to establish and monitor security policies.

A person who wants to work in computer security must be familiar with what is known as "security best practices" and a number of security standards. Among the security standards would be ISO 17799/27000 series, COBIT and FISMA. Details on each of these standards can be found using the search engine of your choice.

Security analysts are needed in virtually all economic sectors ranging from government to private industry. A number of sectors, the health care industry being one, have special information security requirements. That means that a potential employee must have basic computer security skills and be knowledgeable about specialized rules and laws. In the case of health care, the successful employee would need to know about HIPPA, EPHI and the Hi-Tech Act.

The demand for security analysts is growing at a rate that is faster than average (22% between now and the year 2020). A person who obtains the necessary skills and knowledge can "write his or her own ticket". Security threats are unlikely to diminish. The good news for you is that employers are having a hard time finding qualified information security specialists.

Salaries for information security specialists have a broad range. On the low-end, salaries are in the $89,000.00 range. On the high-end, the salary range for security analyst (likely to be at the management level) exceeds $121,000.00.

A person who is interested in becoming a computer security specialist needs to enroll and obtain a degree (either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree) in a computer information systems or computer science program. Obtaining specialized certifications in security would also enhance an individual's chance to obtain employment.

Among the entry level certifications for information security is Security+ that is provided for by COMPTIA. More advanced certifications are provided for by major software vendors, such as Microsoft™ and Cisco™. Potential employees with a degree and appropriate certification are in high demand.

Organizations today and tomorrow will need employees who are qualified to provide for the security of their mission critical assets. You can build a career with a future by focusing on the job cluster of information security analyst.

Dr. William G. Perry is the publisher of The Learning Net ) and author of Top Jobs: Computer and Information Technology. Dr. Perry is an information technology specialist with significant experience as a university professor, author and contractor for various federal agencies. You are invited to download a FREE copy of "How to Secure Your Computer" from William G. Perry, PhD..

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Webmaster's message: The ISO 17799/27000 series are information security standards published by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization). FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act) is United States legislation that defines a comprehensive framework to protect government information. COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology) is a set of information technology control objectives for day-to-day use by business managers, IT professionals and assurance professionals.

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