Information Security

The role of an Information Security Specialist 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. In a world where a single ransomware attack can be enough to ravage a business’ reputation and cripple its finances, ensuring the proper protective measures are in place is of utmost importance. The only way to do this properly is by working with key personnel who understand and can navigate this space efficiently. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that those who specialise in this area are understandably in great demand from businesses large and small who need a safe digital environment to grow and operate in. 

What is Information Security?

Information Security (InfoSec) has become an increasingly important aspect of today’s complex business world. Information security itself dictates the actions taken to keep data safe from unauthorised access and use. It can include everything from policies drafted to provide a blueprint for employees to practise good digital hygiene, implementing cyber security software, access control, and much more.  

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

An Information Security Specialist plays a crucial role in the operation and management of a modern business. As more and more business processes begin to rely on cloud-based or digital technologies, there becomes a need for greater security. Information Security Specialists work hands-on with key players in an organisation to ensure there are no cyber security hiccups. Depending on the nature of the business and what kind of digital systems they use, an Information Security Specialist's roles and responsibilities may vary slightly to accommodate. 

Generally speaking, 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 including but not limited to drafting information security, business continuity, and other policies. 
  • Researching, purchasing and updating cybersecurity software that will be able to provide heightened protection from current and new cyber security threats and trends
  • 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

Jobs in information security are highly complex and necessarily collaborative. This is largely due to their nature of having to work on the ground implementing and managing a range of information security policies while also reporting and providing updates to managers. 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 onto the market at the moment, and how they might affect the future security of the business. Staying one step ahead of cybercriminals is the backbone of the entire industry and will prove a major advantage when interviewing for and working in such a role. 

In addition, successful Information Security Specialists will be approachable to others and will be capable of reacting proactively to feedback. Furthermore, due to the relatively fluid working field of information security, specialists are often confronted with situations that require novel solutions and a dynamic approach. Because of this, an analytical mind will be a big help, as will a penchant for problem-solving. Lastly, 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 get an Information Security job?

Realistic candidates for Information Security Jobs 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 several 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 as well as Whitehat hacking will also be seen as beneficial.

Candidates looking to apply for information security jobs in larger businesses or more senior roles will find that real-world experience in the field is invaluable, while a range of specific skill sets may be required in some businesses but not others. For example, experience working on disaster recovery policies and situations, business continuity planning, digital forensics and more can set you apart from other candidates. 

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

Information Security Specialist jobs have a long and potentially fruitful career path ahead of them. Many of 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. These roles are on the whole very well compensated owing to their importance and the significant amount of responsibility one may have to the overall operation of a business. 

As candidates develop their career paths and learn new skills, they may also find themselves specialising in certain areas of information security. This can prove highly beneficial as higher calibre organisations look for industry-leading experts in certain niches. Equally, some Information Security Specialists decide to take their skills down a freelance consulting route, or into founding their own company. 

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. Candidates who understand the market needs and refine their abilities to match will be presented with Information Security jobs with generous salaries. While most businesses will always try to settle for nothing other than the best, information security remains a hugely important aspect of businesses nowadays. In light of this, Information Security roles - particularly those more senior and with more of a consultative approach - can get highly competitive. Offering generous salaries and remuneration is often the most effective way for businesses to attract talent. 

Furthermore, with the demand for Information Security Specialists on the rise, their salaries are sure to follow. Keep in mind that specific salaries will of course depend on personal capabilities, experience, location, and other factors. 

Is becoming an Information Security Specialist a rewarding career path?

Owing to the high demand for Information Security Specialists, the steady supply of jobs, plenty of career flexibility and good compensation, this is bound to be a rewarding career path. The career is already both well-respected and growing in demand, meaning that opportunities are plentiful. In addition, being part of a relatively new and burgeoning industry provides plenty of room for growth, new ideas, and personal development. 

Information Security Specialist jobs and more…

Michael Page has connections to countless jobs in information security across an expansive range of industries. Our access and coverage provides us the capability to help match candidates to businesses while also providing guidance on everything from Information Security Specialist salaries to job roles and more. 

To find out more about Information Security Specialist job roles that may interest you, register an email job alert with us and send your CV to our team.