Risk Fighters: Information Systems Security Manager

Companies of all types are challenged with staying on top of information systems security and compliance risk. That’s why the skills of the information systems security manager are among the most sought-after in today’s technology hiring market.

“Cybercrime is growing exponentially, and the job of the information systems security manager is similar to the role of ‘cop’ in a game of cops and robbers,” says John Asdell, branch manager, Robert Half Technology, San Diego, Calif. “These professionals need to stay one step ahead of malicious actors trying to breach systems and steal data. With more potential points of entry for compromise than ever before, it’s essential for companies to know where weaknesses and vulnerabilities are, what potential risks may exist, and how to prevent and mitigate threats.”

Information systems security manager salaries on the rise in 2014

Information systems security manager salaries in the United States are expected to rise 6.8 percent this year, according to Robert Half Technology’s 2014 Salary Guide. Starting compensation for this in-demand role is projected to range from $115,250 to $160,000.* Use the Robert Half Technology Salary Calculator to find specific salary information for your city.

What does it take to be an information systems security manager?

An information systems security manager should expect to have some or all of the following responsibilities:

  • Providing leadership, guidance and training to information systems security personnel
  • Ensuring security policies and procedures are current and effective
  • Preparing for security audits and vulnerability and threat assessments
  • Ensuring all security and privacy mandates are compliant
  • Preventing, detecting and responding to network and system intrusion

Asdell emphasizes that information systems security managers must be able to work effectively with leadership to explain security issues and identify and implement appropriate solutions. “Internally, the information systems security manager needs to have the ability to communicate from the top down,” he says. “This person needs to help drive home the importance of security so everyone in the organization takes it seriously.”

Becoming an information systems security manager

For the information systems security manager role, employers typically seek professionals with a bachelor’s degree in information systems or a related field along with five or more years in systems and network security experience. Expert problem-solving skills are also highly valued. Asdell adds that when it comes to working as an information systems security manager, credentials are an important part of the job. He recommends information systems security managers earn the following certifications:

  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

“If someone is interested in landing a job as an information systems security manager, that person should likely start off in a position with a highly credentialed auditing firm,” Asdell says. “The job should focus on IT and auditing. These skills cross over easily and allow people to dissect the inner workings of a company while refining their review and analysis abilities.”

Look to Robert Half Technology's latest Salary Guide for job descriptions and starting compensation trends for a wide range of IT jobs—including information systems security manager. *Information systems security manager starting salaries in Canada are projected to increase 6.7 percent in 2014 with a starting salary ranging from $104,250 to $136,250.