Security Analyst Kaitātari Whakamarumaru

Security analysts create and monitor security processes and frameworks to protect an organisations information systems and computer networks from being illegally accessed.

Security analysts may choose to become certified or chartered through associations such as the Institute of IT Professionals.

Security analysts may do some or all of the following:

  • analyse risks and security alerts, and identify and manage security breaches
  • install and implement hardware and software to prevent unauthorised access to information and networks
  • monitor information coming into and leaving organisations, and employees' internet access 
  • write and enforce security policies
  • work with law enforcement agencies to manage security threats
  • make employees aware of security issues and their responsibilities as users of information systems.

Physical Requirements

Security analysts spend a lot of time using computers, so they need to know how to use computer equipment properly to avoid occupational overuse syndrome (OOS).

Useful Experience

Useful experience for security consultants includes: 

  • work in entry-level IT jobs such as information technology helpdesk/support technician
  • on-the-job training through IT internships and graduate recruitment programmes
  • hacking experience gained through study or hacking conferences
  • working on individual IT projects such as setting up your own penetration testing lab or assembling computers.

Personal Qualities

Security analysts need to be:

  • detail-oriented, curious and eager to work in-depth on technical questions
  • analytical thinkers and problem solvers
  • good at seeing the big picture, to examine problems and solutions from all sides
  • interested in continuous learning as they need to keep up to date with fast-changing technology
  • skilled communicators.

Skills

Security analysts need to have:

  • strong analytical and diagnostic skills
  • knowledge of computer and network systems, devices and software
  • knowledge of security monitoring and how to conduct security investigations
  • up to date understanding of internet threats
  • knowledge of current IT security standards, practices and methods.

Conditions

Security analysts:

  • usually work full time and may also work evenings and weekends, and be on call
  • work in offices in conditions that may be stressful when working to strict deadlines whilst responding to security threats
  • may travel locally or overseas to meet clients.

Security Analysts can earn around $120K-$160K per year.

Chances of getting a job as a Security Analyst are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Pay for security analysts varies depending on skills and experience.

  • Security analysts in the low pay range earn an average of $120,000 a year.
  • Security analysts in the middle pay range earn an average of $140,000.
  • Security analysts in the high pay range earn an average of $160,000.

Sources: Recruit I.T. 'Technology and Digital Salary Update Auckland', July 2021; and Recruit I.T., 'Technology and Digital Salary Update Wellington', July 2021.

Security analysts may progress to set up their own business, or move into roles such as:

  • security consultant
  • security architect
  • security manager
  • IT project manager
  • security director
  • chief information and security officer (CISO).

Security analysts may specialise in:

  • cloud security – protecting data stored on servers hosted on the internet rather than on a local server or personal computer
  • internet security – protecting against internet crime, especially unauthorised access to computer systems and data
  • mobile security – protecting smartphones and other portable devices, and the networks they connect to, from threats
  • network security – protecting the internal computer network of an organisation.

Years Of Training

1-4 years of training required.

There are no specific requirements to become a security analyst. However, you usually need one or more of:

  • a diploma or degree, preferably in an IT-related subject such as network engineering, computer science or cyber security
  • a relevant industry-based certification, such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • three to seven years’ experience in intermediate-level security roles or related roles such as network or systems administrator.

Common ways of gaining IT-related knowledge include learning through online courses and tutorials, and working on your own projects. 

Security Analyst