What are the responsibilities of a Security Specialist?
A Security Specialist may sound like a high end position but it isn’t. This is an entry/mid level position that puts you through a variety of security tasks.
In many cases, a Security Specialist deals with testing, designing, monitoring and implementing different security measures for their organization or company’s systems and networks.
On a daily basis, you may be required to do the following:
- Protect systems against modification, destruction or unauthorized access
- Define the access privileges, resources and control structure of a company
- Identify any abnormalities in the system and report the violations to higher management
- Monitor the routine security administration and oversee it
- Update or develop disaster recovery protocols and business continuity
- Conduct and design a variety of security audits to make sure security is operational
- Show immediate response in wake of a security incident and develop a post incident analysis for management
- Give training and technical advice to colleagues
- Establish and analyze security requirements for systems and networks
- Support and configure security tools like patch management systems, firewalls and anti-malware
- Perform risk analysis, security assessments and vulnerabilities
- Help other employees train in security procedures, awareness and protocols
- Find new security updates and recommend them
As a security specialist, you will be reporting directly to a security manager in your company.
A Security Specialist is much like a Security Engineer or Security Analyst. These are all mid level positions that lead to high positions. For starters, if you want to become a specialist, you may have begin as:
- System Administrator
- Network Administrator
- Security Administrator
After you have spent enough time as a Security Specialist, you may want to climb to a senior level position such as:
The highest positions you can reach in this career are:
A Security Specialist is often also called the following:
- IT Security Specialist
- Information Security Specialist
- Network Security Specialist
- Computer Security Specialist
The average yearly salary of a Security Specialist is $67,833 per year. A typical security specialist begins with around $37,738 per year and may end up earning to a maximum of $106,024 per year (2016 figures).
It entirely depends on the requirements of your job and employer. As an entry level position, you do not require a bachelor’s degree. You can become a security specialist by having a minimum of 4 years of experience in a general IT job. For companies that are looking for skilled and experience security specialists, you will be expected to hold a bachelor’s in Computer Sciences, Cyber Security or any related technical field like engineering.
Even if you don’t have a bachelors in a technical degree, you could go for a master’s to boost your application. A combination of professional certifications can also go a long way.
This is an entry level position thus it requires a bare minimum of 1-2 years experience in general IT jobs. If your organization is big and they are looking for an experienced security specialist, that experience can easily climb to 5+ years.
Most employers are seeking an individual who has a curious and analytical mind that can solve hard and confusing technical puzzles. Apart from that, you are also expected to have good oral and written communication skills.
Security Specialist may be an entry level job, but it doesn’t mean you can get in without having extensive technical knowledge. Every organization has very specific requirements when it comes to a security specialist. You may need to check with the employer you wish to work for. However, having the following skills polished will greatly help you in your career.
- TCP/IP, routing and switching, computer networking
- Firewall intrusion and detection protocols
- Windows, Linux and UNIX operating systems
- PCI, NIST, GLBA, HIPAA and SOX Compliance assessments
- Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
- IDS/IPS vulnerability and penetration testing
- Anti Virus, Anti Malware and DLP knowledge
- Secure coding practices, threat modeling and ethical hacking
- ISO 27001/27002, COBIT and ITIL Frameworks
- C+, C#. C++, JAVA or PHP computer languages
A number of different security certifications can help you if you want to become a security specialist in a big organization. There is no perfect certification for this job, but some organizations prefer specific certifications. You may have to check with different organizations and see what they are currently demanding. Otherwise you could go for the following:
- CCNA: Cisco Certified Network Associate – Routing and Switching
- GSEC/GCIH/GCIA: GIAC Security Certifications
- Security+: CompTIA’s base level security certifications
- CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
- CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
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