What Is Information Security?

Information security is the area of the information technology field that plays a major role in protecting highly confidential information stored on companies' computers. Employers are reaching out to hire talented people trained in information security to implement the necessary technologies, standards, polices, and management techniques essential to securing data. Schools offering Computer Forensics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Field Overview

For most businesses and organizations, information is just as important an asset as capital, employees, and other resources and must be properly protected from numerous threats and vulnerabilities. Information security can be accomplished by implementing a plan that incorporates the appropriate components for providing the required protection, including controls, rules, procedures, user training, and computer hardware and software. Once the plan is completed, the following steps must be taken to ensure that the organization's information security objectives include:

  • Installing firewall and data encryption software
  • Monitoring network logs to verify compliance and identify problems
  • Measuring and reporting on the results
  • Identifying potential improvements
  • Recommending enhanced processes and procedures

Important Facts About Information Security Analysts

Median Salary $98,350 (May 2018)
Professional certification Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISP) is available
Work Environment Usually full time, in an information technology department; nights and weekends may be required for some on-call work
Similar Occupations Computer network architects and systems analysts, database administrators, network and computer systems administrators

Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education and Training

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most information security analysts have at least a bachelor's degree in information technology or a related field. Some employers look for job applicants who hold a master's degree in information systems. Experience in a related IT occupation may also be required.

Students or working adults already employed in the information technology field can prepare for careers in information security by taking courses at community colleges, technical schools, or universities. Students who have a busy schedule should look at distant learning programs that deliver the same quality of education offered at traditional institutions. Depending on a student's current level of education and experience, he or she can enroll in undergraduate or graduate degree programs to gain entry-level jobs or advance into higher-paying positions.

Skills and Abilities

An accredited program provides the problem-solving skills to identify, devise, and solve technical issues related to information security. Graduates should also possess analytical skills required to for designing networks, implementing solutions, and testing vulnerabilities. Another essential ability, observing detail, will help to detect small changes in system performance that may signal a cyber attack.

Job Outlook

According to the BLS, the number of employed information security analysts was expected to increase 28% between 2016 and 2026. Demand for information security professionals is due in part to the growing number and complexity of cyber attacks.

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