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Data Security Analyst Duties and Responsibilities

The tasks a data security analyst must complete vary from place to place and depend on a variety of factors, including their time on the job and personal talents. Despite these factors, the majority of data security analysts will be asked to do the following at some point:

Install Data Protection Software Data security analysts are responsible for installing and uninstalling various security programs These programs often protect sensitive data using firewalls and data-encryption technology, and they must be updated on a regular basis to remove bugs and add new features.

Conduct Testing Data security analysts perform "penetration testing" on their own systems. This type of testing exposes a system's shortcomings and flaws, and analysts use the results to improve security and prepare for outside attacks.

Create Security Standards The primary goal of most data security analysts is to ensure the systems they are tasked with overseeing remain safe from hackers. They may help the companies they work for draft and implement security plans depending on the company's needs and current threats.

Educate Others Data security analysts serve an important function, but many of the professionals they work with lack a full understanding of the data security process. Analysts may educate their coworkers and supervisors and help integrate system security in the company's overall plans.

Report Security Breaches Since data system analysts are responsible for all aspects of a data system, they are obligated to report any breaches in security. They may present these reports in a formal manner or during meetings. The data they collect may be used to prevent future breaches.


Data Security Analyst Skills and Qualifications

Data security analysts must possess a number of skills and qualifications if they wish to find employment. These skills may vary from employer to employer, but in general, data security analysts must have a strong background in network security and at least a bachelor's degree. They must also have the following skills and abilities:
  • Information technology experience - many employers will only consider data security analysts if they have prior experience as a network or computer systems administrator. This experience provides them with the experience they need to keep networks safe
  • Computer skills - data security analysts should have an advanced understanding of computers and software as well as programming and other technologies
  • Industry-related knowledge - individuals in this role should understand their industry's security needs. For example, if they work for a bank, they should be familiar with financial concepts
  • Analytical thinking - data security analysts should have strong analytical skills and be capable of thinking critically
  • Attention to detail - small details are of major importance in the data security field, so analysts must pay close attention to minor details at all times. These minor details could easily indicate a serious problem

Data Security Analyst Education and Training

To become a data security analyst, interested individuals need at least a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field, such as computer science or engineering. To obtain higher-ranking or more senior positions, data security analysts may need a master's degree, such as a Master of Business Administration. As mentioned above, most companies prefer to hire analysts with prior IT experience. There are countless professional certifications available to data security analysts, and some employers may require their employees to obtain them either prior to or during their employment. Many of these certifications focus on a specific aspect of data security, such as systems auditing or testing.

Data Security Analyst Salary and Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for a data security analyst is $95,510. Analysts in the top 10 percent earn more than $153,090 annually, while those in the lowest 10 percent earn less than $55,560 annually. Data security analysts typically have access to employment benefits such as health insurance, retirement, and paid time off. The employment rate for data security analysts is expected to grow 28 percent through 2026. This is a massive rate of growth, especially when compared to the national average of 7 percent for all professions. This high rate of growth is attributed to society's increased reliance on technology and software, which increases the need for data security professionals in almost every industry.

Helpful Resources

What is it like to work as a data security analyst? Our list of career resources can answer your question and help you decide if becoming one is right for you:

International Association of Professional Security Consultants - the IAPSC is a nonprofit professional organization founded in 1984. It strives to provide cybersecurity and network security professionals with a wealth of professional, academic, and personal resources. The organization is worldwide, and it even holds annual conferences

Cybersecurity for Beginners - written by a security expert, Cybersecurity for Beginners is perfect for those just entering the data security field as well as career veterans who simply need to brush up on their skills. The book's strength lies in its easy-to-read format and the author's use of plain English when describing normally complex technical terms and concepts

The Practice of Network Security Monitoring - anyone interested in the field of network security should pick up a copy of The Practice of Network Security Monitoring. No previous IT experience is required to understand this book, and the author outlines simple, step-by-step processes for building, running, and maintaining a network security monitoring operation

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