Your bank details, personal information, customer’s login credentials, and other confidential information is stored somewhere in the digital web for quick access. But while simplifying our lifestyle today, are we not creating complex issues for tomorrow? How safe is our data on the web or in digital directories? When it’s easily accessible to us, is it not accessible to intruders too?
The good news is that there are professionals working at the back-end to ensure the safety of personal, corporate, or confidential data of importance. But the problem cited is that the rise in cybersecurity awareness and cyber incidents has also led to the increase in the demand for skilled professionals, who are not available in abundance. If you are here to join this fight, or curious to know what it takes to be a security analyst, then you have come to the right place.
Who Is a Security Analyst?
A security analyst works in coordination with different departments to identify and rectify flaws in the company’s security systems, solutions, and processes while recommending measures to improve the overall security posture. The security analyst ensures the security of the organization’s proprietary and sensitive information.
An Information Security Analyst’s Job Role:
The most significant job role of an information security analyst is ensuring the security and defense of the company’s digital assets, for both online and on premise infrastructure and finding and mitigating risks before a breach occurs. In the event of a breach, a security analyst stands on the front line to counter the attack. They must be vigilant of any suspicious activity and react without any delay. They also generate reports for business managers and IT administrators addressing the security policies in place. Based on the efficiency of the security policies, they recommend training programs to educate employees on the company’s security protocol.
Other significant roles of a security analyst are –
- Monitoring security access and investigation when needed
- Installing and maintaining software to protect infrastructure’s sensitive information
- Performing internal and external security audits
- Stimulating attacks to identify the potential vulnerabilities
- Analyzing security breaches to identify the real cause
- Analyzing and verifying the security of third-party vendors and training them on the company’s security requirements.
How to Become an Information Security Analyst?
There is no defined path to become a security analyst, but it is important that you possess the required skills, education, and training.
Technical Skills Required 
Security analysts are expected to have the following technical skills:
- Network security
- Information assurance
- Security engineering and event management (SIEM)
- Security architecture
- System and network configuration
- Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)
Besides the above-mentioned technical skills, there are other cybersecurity-specific skills that security analysts must possess. Those skills are as follows:
Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing – Being able to ethically hack means that the security analysts should able to identify threats and reach the vulnerabilities to patch them.
Penetration Testing – Penetration testing is when an analyst performs a targeted attack on networks, computers, endpoints, web applications, etc. to locate any loopholes in the security shield.
Incident Response Management – The analyst revamps security controls based on negative impact of the attack to avoid similar losses in the future.
To be a successful analyst, one must have an analytical mindset with a detailed-approach. Other skills like interpersonal, problem solving, active-listening, effective communication, and report making skills are also crucial to be a good security analyst.
The above listed competencies are to help you understand that security analysts are responsible for complex technical tasks. In order to execute the job confidently and effectively, security analysts must undergo a formal education, precisely a cybersecurity degree program. A bachelor or master’s degree in cybersecurity can help gain technical, analytical, and real-time executable skills that any security analyst should possess.
Most companies, in addition to a degree, also prefer to hire employees with additional credentials. These credentials can be general information systems security related or more specific to the security analyst’s job role, like ethical hacking, penetration testing, etc.
Security Analyst’s Salary and Career Outlook
According to Glassdoor, the average salary of an Information Security Analyst in U.S.A. is $111,395 per year.  This salary is negotiable based on your competencies, education, and experience. An inexperienced security analyst with not many relevant skills might earn $77k. Whereas, a competent security analyst might earn up to $143k yearly in the U.S.A. 
As cyberattacks continue to grow in frequency and attackers becoming sophisticated, the demand for security analyst professionals continue to rise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security analyst jobs are expected to increase by 28% between 2016 and 2026. 
To take your first step to becoming a Security Analyst, we recommend earning a degree in cybersecurity.
EC-Council University offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity with a Specialization – Security Analyst. The program equips you with the relevant education, practical experience, and industry-recognized credentials that can help you stay ahead in the competition. Few of the program benefits are:
- MSCS is an 100% online asynchronous self-paced program that gives flexibility to the students to attend the coursework at the convenience of the students.
- EC-Council University is accredited by DEAC*and is approved by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.
- MSCS concentrates on significant topics like computer security management, security threat assessment, incident response management, security strategies, auditing, and more.
- The course outline also enhances your analytical thinking, decision making skills, innovative applications, etc. It also helps you master the skills necessary to move into leadership roles.
- Master of Science in Cybersecurity gives the option of selecting the Security Analyst specialization. This specialization focuses on the skills specific to becoming an information security analyst.
- The MSCS Security Analyst specialization gives you the opportunity to attain four industry-recognized credentials of EC-Council. They are – Certified Network Defender (C|ND), Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH), EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA), and Licensed Penetration Tester (Master).
*The Distance Education and Accrediting Commission (DEAC) is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Note: Earning potential is based on the candidate’s efficacy in the subject and the discretion of an organization. ECCU programs provide the required knowledge and skills to enhance your ability in the selected domain. It is the student’s responsibility to exploit the resources and support extended by university and harness the required capability to compliment the earning potential, as per industry standards.