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Overview of Jobs IT Security

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Nowadays, the need for improved and increased security in computer networks is a very important concern for most, if not all, business organizations. Just consider the statistics to underline the extreme importance of information technology (IT) statistics: Malware, which includes worms, viruses and Trojans, exact a US$169 to $204 billion toll on global businesses in 2004 alone. On a percentage basis, 55 percent of all online users have experienced spyware infections on their computers, thus, exposing sensitive data to unscrupulous individuals.

With the more sophisticated ways that malware, spyware and other dubious software manufacturers are employing to invade corporate and personal privacy, these figures are expected to increase. Now, this is where jobs IT security come in to save the day, so to speak. Jobs in IT security are more in demand because of the explosion of computer usage and Internet connections from small home-based businesses to multi-national corporate giants.

Just like in other industries, jobs for IT security experts differ in duties and responsibilities, basic pay and benefits, working hours and flexibility as well as level of advanced education and training. This article will discuss a few of these jobs.

Chief Information Security Officer

The highest-ranked professional in the IT security corporate ladder is the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). The CISO is an executive position equivalent to the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, to name two examples in the organizational hierarchy. The CISO is responsible for the organization's overall IT security, with responsibilities spanning the range from information regulatory compliance with third parties to information risk management and disaster recovery within the organization itself. Other functions vary from one organization to the next although certain commonalities do exist including the following:

* Establishment and maintenance of a foolproof system for the protection of information assets.
* Direction of the staff in the identification, development, implementation, maintenance and evaluation of IT-related processes. The ultimate objective is to significantly lessen, if not, completely eliminate any and all IT risks from within and without the organization.
* Deal with third parties where concerns for IT security are concerned.

Qualifications include a four-year bachelor's degree in any of the computing sciences and/or in business management although any related courses are also acceptable; training and continuing education certifications like the CISSP, CCNA and CNSA; at least 10 years of relevant work experience particularly in an administrative capacity; and excellent leadership qualities. With such rigorous qualifications, the CISO position is the highest-paid jobs IT security.

Security Administrator

Yet another of the important jobs in IT security is the position of security administrator. Just like the CISO, essential functions are required of the security administrators including but not limited to the following:

* Management of user access to the organization's business applications including access rights and privileges as well as standard protocol
* Provision of support for continuing security of the network components like the applications, services and information
* Coordination of IT security assessments on an annual review
* Maintenance of the audit trail for the user profiles

Qualifications will vary from one industry to the next and from one company to the next. However, education and training are very similar to the CISO albeit the work experience in a managerial capacity can be shorter. It must be emphasized that supervisory capabilities are also necessary as security administrators must work with a team of IT professionals.

Security Analyst

The last but the least of the jobs IT security has to offer is the security analyst. In many organizations, this IT professional provides expertise on technical security to the CISO although he may also be required to report to other executives. The most important function of the security analyst is to ensure effective and efficient security standards, technologies and protocols with the ultimate goal of support for IT projects from inception to implementation. Again, the day-to-day routine will vary according to the specific functions assigned by the head of IT security.

Just like with the CISO and security administrator, a pertinent bachelor's degree is a must along with the right training and certifications. For many organizations, this position may be an entry-level job but the requirements are still highly demanding. Just to name a few of these qualifications, you have to possess knowledge and experience in application architecture, penetration testing and market leading technologies like Cisco and MQ.

Jobs in IT security pay very well in addition to excellent job prospects and job outlook. The trick is in securing the necessary education, training and experience in IT subjects.
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