In a broad sense, security specialists, who are also referred to as information security specialists; computer security specialists; and/or information technology security specialists, are professionals saddled with the responsibility of planning, formulating, designing, implementing and supervising the smooth running of the overall security measures of an organization. These specialists evaluate inherent security protocols and make recommendations aimed at improving efficiency and output. In addition, information security specialists modify these pre-existing security policies. In sum, these professionals are responsible for tasks such as administering facility visit certifications, managing security portfolios, verifying identities of personnel as well as compartmentalization of clearances and authorization of access codes. Information security specialists predominantly work in security-consulting firms, computer companies, and in various businesses and organizations. They can also work in financial service institutions, government departments and universities/ colleges.
Security Specialist Job Duties
- Continuously tests and analyses the existing security measures in order to establish their continued functionality and reliability.
- Provides support and technical advice to relevant personnel and stakeholders if and when due.
- Supervises the management of overall system security.
- Periodically reviews and suggests modifications to existing system security frameworks for improved functionalities and efficiencies.
- Protects the system from unlawful intrusion, modification and/or sabotage.
- Formulates safeguarded by-passes, short cuts and remote access control pathways to act as alternatives in the case of a malfunction or threat. This ensures temporary usability until the error is identified and fixed.
- Liaises with other units in order to promote information security awareness and protocols.
- Evaluates clearance validity and conformity in the identification verification process.
- Investigates breaches and makes valid recommendations in situations of operational security infractions.
- Information security specialist
- Computer security specialist
- Information Technology security specialist
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2016), the job outlook for information security specialists is very high. The predicted growth in personnel between 2014 and 2024 is put at 18%.
Security Specialist Skills and Qualifications
- Proficient analytical and problem-solving skills.
- Adept at multitasking and functioning under pressure.
- Effective written and oral communication and information dissemination skills.
- Superlative ability to be observant and pay attention to detail.
- Outstanding teamwork spirit.
- High organizational skills and ample resourcefulness.
- Appreciable versatility and flexibility to be able to resolve pressing issues with dispatch and alacrity if and when they occur.
- An impressive result-oriented mindset.
- Adroit ability to anticipate challenges and also to make appropriate resolutions accordingly.
- Profound knowledge of the principles and concepts of information technology such as computer operating systems, computer programming languages, computer networking and routing, firewall sabotaging as well as anti-malware detection.
Security Specialist Salary Details
Information security specialists earn an annual average wage of $96,040 according to the May 2016 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Education and Training
Some organizations are comfortable with employing candidates with only high school diplomas and/or associates’ degrees, while most contemporary institutions prefer their security specialists to possess bachelors’ degrees or even masters’ degrees in fields like computer science, cybersecurity, information technology or network engineering. In addition to the educational qualifications, it is advisable that security specialists enroll in a number of professional certification programs in order to remain conversant with emerging innovations and being relevant in the overall scheme of things. Examples of such career advancing professional programs include Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) qualifications.