How to become an Information Security Analyst
What is an Information Security Analyst?
An information Security Analyst is typically an organization’s first line of defense against cyber-attacks and vulnerabilities, working with a team to manage access control and reporting to Compliance Officers and Technical Solutions Directors.
As a current listing at Amazon says, Information Security Analysts, leverage data analysis techniques, human intuition, expert security knowledge and an array of tools to uncover malicious activity; maintain familiarity with multiple systems and attacker tactics, techniques, and procedures; perform rapid analysis of real-time data feeds, looking for indicators of compromise; perform preliminary malware analysis to help determine initial infection vectors, behavior or to assess the extent of an issue; and develop original detection rules for various monitoring systems based on current threats, vulnerabilities or discoveries.
As you can see, an Information Security Analyst wears a lot of security hats and really holds together a security team, making this role highly sought after and a great direction to take your career.
What is the Average Salary?
According to Payscale.com, the minimum salary for this role is $47,555 and the maximum is $104,537, making the median salary $70,400. Which also makes the Information Security Analyst role a competitively attractive one.
What are an Information Security Analyst’s Responsibilities?
Information Security Analysts have a slew of responsibilities regardless of what organization you’re applying for. Many of them require knowledge of specific scripting languages and environments, but all will appreciate a well rounded understanding of multiple environments and languages for a holistic understanding. Here’s a few responsibilities I found across multiple job listings:
- Analyze system vulnerability scans, penetration tests and risk assessments
- Triage and short-term analysis of real-time data feeds for potential intrusions
- Basic malware analysis
- Authoring and implementing original detection rules for various monitoring systems
- Configure and analyze security tools and software
- Design and development of custom security tools and solutions
- Document access management procedures
- Document, prioritize and analyze security threats, incidents and key metrics
- Overtime, weekend and evening hours (sometimes expected)
- Collaborate across departments and support partner relationships
- Support strategic business objectives
- Follow up on alerts to mitigate compromised endpoints
- Assist in analysis and reporting of computer forensic investigations
- And many, many more
What Educational Background is required?
A BS in computer science, technical security or a related field is often suggested to make you a competitive applicant, but experience can supplement this requirement.
It seems the absolute minimum requirement for an applicant is to have at least three years of experience in the cyber security field, though some ask for more specific experience. Most job listings also detail environments, scripting languages and tools they would like applicants to be familiar with. Some of these typically include: Windows, Mac, Linux familiarity and intimate knowledge of Python scripting language among others.
Also, this is one of the cyber security career paths which require applicants to have obtained critical certifications such as CISSP and CEH, as well as the willingness to continue their education throughout their career to ensure you are up-to-date on the most current tools, techniques and methodologies.
What Certifications should I take?
The more certifications the better for this job role. Here are some musts along with some suggestions:
Ethical Hacking with Python (no associated certification)
Where should I start?
Becoming an Information Security Analyst requires advanced knowledge and experience. If you’re just starting your cyber security career path, starting with a BS in computer science or CompTIA’s Security+ certification is a great way to get started. For those with a technical background, start working towards crucial certifications such as CISSP as well as more current and up-to-date certifications as well as finding mentors and gaining practical experience working in a variety of environments and with one or two of the more popular scripting languages.
Information Security Analyst not for you? Learn how to become an Incident Responder here!
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