What Is a Data Security Analyst and How Do I Become One?

FT Contributor
3 data security analysts working at a computer in the office.
Reading Time: 4 minutes

In 2018, over 2.5 billion online user accounts were hacked. Important personal information, including Social Security numbers, addresses, and credit card information is vulnerable to hackers every day. Large corporations and companies that house this data are responsible for ensuring it stays safe and out of the hands of online predators and dangerous hackers.

Since our world revolves around technology, most companies and industries encourage consumers to create online user accounts with their businesses. These companies ask for personal information so they can implement marketing strategies to increase revenue and engagement. Who’s making sure this data and personal information is safe? A data security analyst is a technology professional focused on protecting an organization’s online data from cyber attacks.

Large corporations in the retail, technology, social media, and software industries host sensitive information online and its protection is of the utmost importance to their success and the safety of their customers. The crucial job of a data security analyst marries aspects of the security and technology industries, making it a great career for an analytical person who has a passion for technology and problem-solving.

Data Security Analyst Job Description

The role of a data security analyst is one of the most important within a company’s structure, since cyber attacks are detrimental to large corporations. The duties of a data security analyst vary, depending on the industry they work in. However, most workers in this role are responsible for:

  • Establishing general safety protocol for online data.
  • Examining online security systems in place and making changes or updates as necessary.
  • Analyzing past data breaches to avoid any recurrences.
  • Assessing current online data risk and the efficiency of the systems.
  • Revising information security files.
  • Recommending new software or systems to enhance security.
  • Modifying or restricting data access for specific individuals as requested.

If a company experiences a data breach, the data security analyst is tasked with figuring out where the penetration occurred. They must pull reports so the corporation can better understand the extent of the breach and what data was exposed. The data security analyst must then analyze the specifics of the breach to recommend security changes and updates that would prevent another cyber attack.

Data security analysts may also be responsible for training employees on how to keep data safe online. In large corporations, they may share these duties with a team of other analysts and technology managers.

What Is a Data Security Analyst Salary?

A data security analyst typically works regular business hours. However, an emergency data breach or the installation of new security software may require additional hours or overtime. Some companies keep data security analysts on call at all times, just in case a data breach occurs. Most analysts work in an office environment and may be employed by corporations, online companies, or federal or state government agencies.

As one of the highest-paying technology jobs, a data security analyst earns a median salary of $98,350. While a high salary is tempting, it’s also important to analyze the job itself when deciding if this career path is right for you. A career as a data security analyst can be stressful since data breaches in large corporations are dangerous and usually go public.

What Are Data Security Analyst Qualifications?

Although secondary education is expensive, you must earn at least a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field before gaining employment as a data security analyst. Some potential employers may require you to earn a master’s degree or a master’s in business administration (MBA) to obtain this role.

In addition to secondary education, many employers prefer that you have experience in a related field, such as computer programming or information technology. Depending on the role you pursue, you may need to have an understanding of certain technologies or software, such as systems auditing or penetration testing. You may also be required to earn a certification for employment, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Data Security Analyst Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects data security analyst employment to grow by 32% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than other occupations. The influx of cybersecurity attacks on large companies and corporations has caused them to analyze their data security. Many of these companies have hired or will hire data security analysts and online security teams to ensure this information remains safe.

Within the information technology field, there are many positions related to a data security analyst. Similar occupations include a software consultant, computer systems analyst, big data engineer, cloud engineer, or software developer.

Should I Become a Data Security Analyst?

While a data security analyst earns a high salary and usually works regular business hours, the job can be stressful. You must be able to work well under pressure and learn new computer systems and technologies quickly.

To be a data security analyst, you must also have strong interests and deep understandings of online data, computer systems, and information technology. Strong problem-solving skills and analytical skills are crucial for identifying and fixing security issues before data breaches occur. You must pay close attention to detail and be willing and able to create original solutions to unique technical problems that may arise.

If you enjoy security, technology, and problem-solving, a job as a data security analyst may be right for you. Before you decide to follow this career path, ensure you’ll be satisfied with a job that can be stressful and may require you to continuously learn new computer programs and emerging technologies in the data security field.

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