Information Analyst Job Description
Information analysts monitor and test the security of computer systems, design plans to protect system data from cyber attacks, and analyze security data. They work full-time office hours, though some night and weekend work may be required in the event of a security system breach. Information analysts work with little supervision and are responsible for consulting with everyone who may be using the secure system that needs protecting, keeping them informed of best security practices.
Information Analyst Duties and Responsibilities
Information analysts are hired by any company that has secure data to protect, or by security firms tasked with providing services to companies that want to keep their data safe. In any work environment, the basic tasks of the information analyst are essentially the same as follows:
Test Security Systems
Information analysts look for potential problems that could cause security breaches in computer systems, mobile apps, and cloud software, which requires constant testing and scanning to be sure that data remains secure.
Write Risk Reports
When potential threats to computer systems are discovered, information analysts write detailed risk reports that show exactly where the problems are, proposing solutions to secure the data.
Create Security Plans
Information analysts write detailed security plans designed to protect system data, offering step-by-step instructions for everyone to follow to safeguard computer systems.
Put up Firewalls
Information analysts erect firewalls to guard data and protect systems from potential dangers.
Consult with and Train Staff on Systems
Everyone who uses the computer system must be well-versed in security practices to protect data, which requires training and consultation from the information analyst in charge of keeping systems safe.
Information analysts must monitor data logs to check for possible data breaches and find problems the moment they happen.
Stay Up-to-Date on Current Viruses
The information analyst must stay up-to-date on current viruses, and be aware of new potential security threats.
Information Analyst Skills and Qualifications
In addition to computer skills, information analysts need to possess a variety of abilities to successfully complete their daily tasks. Companies hiring information analysts will look for professionals who have experience with the following:
- Communication – information analysts write a variety of detailed reports and memos regarding system security relaying complex information in a simple, readable way
- Critical thinking – information analysts look for potential problems, finding ways to solve them
- Attention to detail – analyzing data logs and looking for security dangers is time-consuming, sometimes tedious work, requiring focus and a keen attention to detail
- Creativity – not all security problems are easy to solve, and some solutions will require new programs to be written, so the ability to think creativity is a must-have for information analysts
Information Analyst Tools of the Trade
Information analysts work with a variety of software on a daily basis, such as:
- Operating system software (Linux, Windows, Bash)
- Virus protection software (Symantec, HP WebInspect)
- Microsoft Office (Word, Excel)
Information Analyst Education and Training
To become an information analyst, professionals need a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, IT, or cybersecurity. Employers also want candidates to have CISSP certification. To be eligible to take the CISSP, cyber security certification exam, candidates must have five years of full-time work experience.
Information Analyst Salary and Outlook
In 2016, the median pay rate for information security analysts was $92,600 per year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. Information analysts earn about $45 per hour and receive full job benefits, such as health and life insurance and paid vacation leave. Some companies offer additional perks, such as stock options and profit bonuses for keeping systems safe. In 2016, there were 100,000 jobs available in this field, with a projected job growth of 28 percent through 2026. This is much faster than the national average.
Information Analyst Helpful Resources
Stay educated on the latest security developments and threats and hone the skills needed to become an information analyst with these resources:
Association of Independent Information Professionals – This association keeps members up-to-date on the latest security threats, provides information on continuing education, and offers forums so professionals can communicate with each other.
Head First Data Analysis: A Learner’s Guide to Big Numbers, Statistics, and Good Decisions – This book provides information on how to organize and analyze data, draw conclusions, and come up with solutions for data problems.
Society of Information Risk Analysts – The SIRA offers information-sharing platforms for professionals in the risk analysis industry to provide the latest data on security threats.
Information Systems Analyst (Passbooks) – This book contains the materials information analysts need to pass the CISSP exam successfully.
Association for Information Systems – This website provides resources for information analysts to keep them informed of the latest news, conferences, and educational resources related to securing computer systems.
Information Security Analyst Career (Special Edition): The Insider’s Guide to Finding a Job at an Amazing Firm, Acing the Interview & Getting Promoted – Use this book to find out how to get and keep a job as an information analyst.
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