Information Security Analyst  What They Do

Just the Facts

Information Security Analysts Career Video

Insider Info

dotComputer systems security analysts develop and deploy barriers that stop others from accessing sensitive information. That information could include things like medical histories or credit card numbers.

These analysts also ensure that outside computer users do not interfere with the delivery of goods and services through the Internet. And they protect local networks from viruses.

dotSo you can think of computer systems security analysts as defenders of data and information. Who are their enemies? Crackers, of course.

Note that there is a difference between "hackers" and "crackers." Hackers are ethical professionals who try to break into their clients' sites to find the security holes. Crackers are just out to break into systems to cause havoc. People often use the term "hacker" when they really mean "cracker."

"We will build better defenses, and they will try to find ways to get around those defenses," says Dave Kennedy. He is the director of research services for an Internet security company. "That is just the tension that has always existed between defense and offense."

dotThe number of private companies, organizations and government agencies that do not employ or contract computer systems security analysts is getting smaller each day.

Dean Pothorin heads and owns an Internet security company. He says computer security is one of the fastest growing industries. "The Internet is going to be a major piece of our lives and the environment in which we live," he says.

And organizations that do not employ computer security analysts take a great risk, says Kennedy.

dotPhysical requirements are minimal. This career is generally accessible to people with physical disabilities, says Pothorin.

dotWorking hours for computer systems security analysts can vary dramatically, says Yiman Jiang. She is a computer security consultant.

"It depends on the client's needs," she says. "If it is a long-term project, like 10 months or a year, the working hours are normal, more like a regular job. But if a client really needs something completed by a certain time frame, and if it is really tight, you could be looking at 12 to 14 hours a day."

dotTravel in this field is generally not common.

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this career is about?Check out Just the Facts for simple lists of characteristics.

At a Glance

Keep information secure

  • There aren't many companies that don't need these people
  • You have to try to outsmart the crackers
  • Training in computer science is good, but experience counts even more