Information Security (InfoSec) has become an increasingly important aspect of today’s complex business world, and those who specialise in this area are understandably in great demand. This is a role that has come under stronger scrutiny in recent times due to the rise in cybercriminal activities and the subsequent threat they may pose to commercial organisations across the globe.

Duties and responsibilities - What does an Information Security Specialist do?

Specialists in InfoSec will have a number of key responsibilities, including:

  • Overseeing constant monitoring of the company’s IT systems and networks regarding possible external threats
  • Establishing secure protocols for the identification and neutralisation of potential threats
  • Researching, purchasing and updating cybersecurity software that will be able to provide heightened protection
  • Liaising with senior management and reporting any potential issues that may come along
  • Monitoring network use and ensuring complete compliance with relevant policies
  • Working closely with IT departments and other relevant stakeholders, including clients, directors, and colleagues
  • Assessing breaches of security and reacting accordingly regarding the integrity of the systems and processes in place

Qualities needed for Information Security Specialists

This is a highly complex and necessarily collaborative role, and as such it would suit individuals with a technical and analytical background who are also in possession of excellent communications skills. There will also be times when complicated information will need to be passed on to non-technical colleagues, so patience and understanding will often be a must-have.

As befits such an important and sensitive position, candidates must possess high levels of integrity. They will be not only skilled in the very latest technological advancements but also have a good knowledge of the applications that are coming on to the market at the moment, and how they might affect the future security of the business. Staying one step ahead of cybercriminals will prove a major advantage.

Successful Information Security Specialists will be approachable to others and will be capable of reacting proactively from feedback. An analytical mind will be a big help, as will a penchant for problem-solving. The more senior the role, the more there will be a need for excellent people management and team leadership qualities.

Qualifications and technical skills - How to become an Information Security Specialist?

Realistic candidates for such a position will often have a bachelor’s degree in a subject that relates either to computing, cybersecurity or engineering. They will often require relevant security certification in advance of an application and will be expected to display a sound understanding of a number of aspects relating to security frameworks.

While the exact requirements for open positions will differ from one organisation to another, Information Security Officers will generally have a thorough knowledge of the likes of firewalls, antivirus software, penetration testing, data encryptions and more. Experience with tools such as Nmap, Kali Linux, Nessus and Whitehat hacking will also be seen as beneficial.

Career development - What is the next step after Information Security Specialist?

Those who come into this field often do so via roles in web design, systems analysis, and software development. As careers progress, there can be opportunities to work as Information Security Managers, Cybersecurity Analysts, Security Investigators, Information Security Directors, Senior Network Administrators and Directors of IT.

Salary and remuneration - How much does an Information Security Specialist make?

This is a highly important role in all types of corporations, and the subsequent salary and benefits package is likely to reflect that importance.