Corporate Security Jobs: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for corporate security specialists. Get the facts about education and certification requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Criminal Justice & Security degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Corporate Security Specialist?

Corporate security specialists analyze, maintain and restore the privacy of corporate data stored on computers. One of the most vital areas of technology professionalism, corporate security specialists are tasked with safeguarding the assets of a company from outside invaders. They set up firewalls, password and username encryption, and they may have to perform total system restoration. In the event of an attack, corporate security specialists will work directly with law enforcement to bring prosecution against any suspects involved in a hack.

The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Key Responsibilities Secure a company/organization's computer network
Assess risk and weakness of systems
Assist in crisis management in the event of a breach
Licensure/Certification Required Certification available, not required
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 18% (for information security analysts)*
Average Salary (2015) $93,250 (for information security analysts)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Does Corporate Security Entail?

As a corporate security specialist, you protect your company's assets, thwart break-ins and catch criminals like any security professional would. The only difference is that you are guarding digital information instead of physical goods. You may be responsible for setting up secure networks with features that prevent outside access to proprietary company data; examples include encryption, encoding, firewalls and password protection. You also perform sporadic risk management maintenance checks to identify and eliminate vulnerabilities in company networks or any individual computers connected to them. If a security breach occurs, you take crisis management measures like running systems restorations, reinstalling programs, encrypting data and changing passwords.

Most corporate security specialists work in office environments. In a larger company, you may work in the information technology department; if a smaller company employs you, you may single-handedly comprise this department. You frequently communicate with other employees in your company to inform them of system updates, perform security checks on their computers or instruct them in secure networking or Web-surfing habits. This may require translating complicated technical jargon into layman's terms. In the event of an illegal security violation, you may consult with law enforcement officials to help them solve cases or catch hackers.

What Training Is Required?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), corporate security specialists usually need a bachelor's degree for entry-level employment (www.bls.gov). Degree programs in cyber security or information security are available. However, a degree in a related area, like computer science or information systems, is generally also considered adequate training; many such programs offer courses or minors in information security.

Bachelor's degree programs in computer information systems and related areas teach you about the basic structure of computer networks and the storage of information within them. You learn about the foundations of computer networks and networking, including topics like operating systems architecture, file storage, basic programming, data algorithms, network communications and database management. In networking security courses, you learn how to perform security assessments, risk management and crisis response measures on all components of information systems. These include software applications, databases, operating systems and network communications. You also take courses teaching you about different kinds of cyber-crimes and how to detect them.

What Is the Salary Potential?

According to the 2015 data from the BLS, individuals working in information security analysis earned an average yearly salary of $93,250 (www.bls.gov). The demand for information security analysts is expected to grow by 18% between 2014 and 2024, which is a much higher rate of growth than average. There is increasing demand for specialists who can secure the ever growing amount of computerized data that makes up the world today.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Many options exist for technology professionals who work with computers and have bachelor's-level education. Computer and information systems managers help to establish goals for an organization's IT department and manage all of the computer activity. Computer programmers write and test the code that acts as the functional part of a software program or application. Database administrators are in charge of organizing data and making it easy for others in an organization to find and access information stored in the given database. There are also computer systems analysts, who determine how to improve the infrastructure of an organization's computer networks.

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