Data Security Analyst: Guardian of Corporate Information

The data security analyst plays a key role in today’s organizations, discovering security vulnerabilities and crafting policies and procedures to help keep corporate data safe.

Robert Half Technology division director Orlando Orellana says, "We’re seeing an increased need for data security analysts following the recent high-profile hacks of retail and financial companies." Data security analysts perform security audits, risk assessments and analysis. They also make recommendations for enhancing safeguards for data systems. A data security analyst is also responsible for researching attempted data breaches, and helping the organization to identify and remediate security weaknesses.

Data Security Analyst Salary to Increase in 2014

The average starting salary for a data security analyst in the United States is expected to rise 5.8 percent this year, ranging from $100,500 to $137,250.* (You can use the Robert Half Technology Salary Calculator to find salary information specific to your city.)

How to Be a Data Security Analyst

Qualifications to become a data security analyst include:

  • A thorough understanding of all aspects of computer and network security, including areas such as firewall administration, encryption technologies and network protocols
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, as well as analytical and problem-solving abilities
  • Excellent judgment and self-motivation
  • Up-to-date understanding of industry security trends and developments, as well as applicable government regulations
  • Bachelor's degree in a computer-related field, plus at least three years of practical data security experience
  • Relevant professional certifications, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) designation

The Path to a Data Security Analyst Career

Not surprisingly, analytical thinking is a critical ability for a data security analyst. Orellana also points out that this role requires that candidates have a very strong understanding of ethics because of the sensitivity of the data they are working with and the potential for its misuse. Orellana says, "The ideal data security analyst candidate will have seven or more years of experience working in the retail or financial industry, along with outstanding technical and communications skills and security audit training." To gain valuable experience for the data security analyst position, Orellana suggests that candidates take business classes to learn how to perform audits of financial data. "Try to get an internship in the retail or banking industry, where you can find mentoring opportunities and make excellent contacts with others in this position,” he adds.

Look to Robert Half Technology's latest Salary Guide for job descriptions and starting compensation trends for a wide range of IT jobs—including data security analyst. *Data security analyst salaries in Canada are expected to increase 5.9 percent in 2014, ranging from $93,000 to $139,000. (Figures are in Canadian dollars.)