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At the core of a security consultant’s position is risk management. In a time when data breaches seem to occur constantly, putting highly sensitive information at risk, security consultants are responsible for ensuring that doesn’t happen to their company or client. As highly computer-focused individuals, security consultants are always up-to-date on the latest technical trends.
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Security Consultant Duties and Responsibilities
A security consultant’s duties vary depending on the type of company and industry they work for, but based on our analysis of job listings in the field, these are some common tasks performed in this role:
Assess Security Solutions
Whether focusing on internal security or working to provide security services to external customers, security consultants are responsible for identifying, developing, and implementing security solutions to meet their client's needs. Consultants are protecting highly sensitive and important information and must do so appropriately.
A security consultant might help the sales team's effort to secure new customers. The security consultant will be expected to effectively educate potential new customers on the security solutions the company offers.
Research Threat Risks
In a world where data has become invaluable, the security consultant must constantly be assessing potential threat risks to properly protect the company. Security consultants closely monitor these potential risks across many different platforms, including email, databases, and websites.
Those who rely on security consultants to keep their information safe want regular updates. To reassure clients about their information security, these consultants must report on their efforts on a consistent basis.
It is the responsibility of a security consultant to oversee and implement a company's encryption management tools. One of the most effective ways to keep information safe is to encrypt it, making it impossible for potential hackers to decode it for their own use.
Security Consultant Skills and Qualifications
Security consultants must be deeply familiar with risk management tools and how to best utilize them for optimal protection. Typically, five to seven years of experience in the field is required, along with a strong grasp of the following skills:
- Security architecture - security consultants build a company's overall security structure across multiple platforms, so they should have the technical expertise to create architecture that's appropriate for the company's needs
- Endpoint security skills - these days data travels further than desktop computers, to cell phones, laptops, tablets, and more. Security consultants build solutions that address these multiple points of risk entry at a rapidly changing pace
- Computer coding - effective security consultants are well-versed in the many different programming languages
- Communication skills - security consultants communicate highly complicated and technical information to internal and external teams, so strong communications skills are required
- Technical expertise - security consultants' work is highly technical. They must be analytical thinkers with the ability to discern risks and solutions in multilayered web systems
Tools of the Trade
Endpoint security systems (such as Malware Prevention, HIPS, and Disk Encryption)
TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)
Microsoft servers, such as SharePoint
Security Consultant Education and Training
A bachelor’s degree in computer science or engineering is required. Most companies would prefer industry training for security consultants rather than internal training on the job.
Security Consultant Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that those in the security field earn approximately $96,000 per year on average. The job is growing at intense speeds. Employment for security consultants is expected to grow by 28 percent through 2026, which is must faster than average.
Security consultants are often eligible for comprehensive benefits packages, including health and dental coverage.
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The industry of security is very complex. Want to learn more about it? Check out some of these resources:
While this group is focused on helping small to midsized companies determine their own security solutions, the "Hot Topics" section of its website offers informative articles about security issues trending now.
This read shines a spotlight on the failures of common cybersecurity practices. Authors Douglas W. Hubbard and Richard Seiersen offer insight on how to implement better measurements for safer security.
This LinkedIn group with more than 8,000 members encourages people in the field to share their experiences and information to encourage better security overall.
Author Rob Arnold shares strategies companies can consider implementing to beef up their security efforts, as well as information about common pitfalls within the industry. This wellrounded read is intended for company leaders but would be a good start for someone interested in learning more about the field.
A strong understanding of the laws surrounding cybersecurity would be beneficial for a security consultant. Author Jeff Kosseff uses realworld examples to help readers understand the regulations surrounding this industry.