Organisations must implement appropriate security measures to prevent their information technology systems from unauthorised access. IT security coordinators, also known as information security analysts, are the experts charged with protecting an organisation’s computer systems and networks. If you are good at solving technical problems and love working with computers, this job could be for you.
As the number of cyber-attacks increase, so do the responsibilities of IT security coordinators. These experts often deal with a wide array of threats, including hacking, denial of service attacks, phishing and viruses. Therefore, a typical day of an IT security coordinator could involve the following activities;
- Assessing an organisation’s IT systems to detect vulnerable areas
- Installing software, such as data encryption programs, to secure information
- Evaluating IT security products, such as anti-virus software, before putting them into use
- Conducting investigations after security breaches
- Formulating disaster recovery procedures and training employees on their role in preventing security breaches
- Compiling reports and recommending system upgrades to senior IT staff or management
- Conducting research and attending workshops to stay up to date on IT security matters.
If you are the kind of person who loves working outdoors, this job will certainly frustrate you. IT security coordinators are mainly office-based, and would normally work between 35 to 40 hours a week. However, coordinators working for consultancy firms may travel regularly to visit clients.
Experience and length of an employment contract play an important role in determining the amount of money you can make as an IT security coordinator. The table below breaks down the figures for you.
£25,000 - £30,000
£30,00 - £50,000
IT coordinators in management
£50,000 - £60,000
Source: National Careers Service
Education and Training
To become an IT security coordinator, you need to earn a bachelor’s in network security, computer science, forensic computing or a closely related field.
You can also enter the profession by gaining experience working as a network engineer, database administrator or system analyst. You should also be familiar with;
- Intrusion detection systems
- Encryption techniques
- Vulnerability testing and penetration testing
- Firewalls and anti-virus software
- the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts
- International information security standards, particularly BS7799 and ISO/IEC 27001.
Visit the British Standards Institute and IT Infrastructure Library to learn more on IT security standards and workplace regulations.
Important Skills and Competencies
As an IT security coordinator, you should have;
- Superior problem-solving skills
- Strong project management skills
- Up to date knowledge of IT security systems and tools
- Intricate understanding of IT security standards and regulations
- Good time management and teamwork skills
- Good analytical and decision making skills.
Being a fast-paced and dynamic industry, the best way to take your career to the next level is by continually developing your skills and obtaining professional certifications. Examples of industry-recognised certifications you could pursue include;
- Cisco Certified Network Associate Security Certification (CCNA Security)
- Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISS
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) / Systems Associate (MCSA)
- CompTIA Security+
Each certification has its specific entry requirements. While some require applicants to possess little work experience, others may require up to 5 years of industry experience.
The National Skills Academy for IT also offers IT security courses for professionals looking to move from being coordinators to managers.
You can also pursue a master’s degree in information security.
Although qualified IT security coordinators can work in any organisation that consumes IT products, the following organisations are the top employers;
- Financial institutions
- Telecommunication firms
- Government agencies
- Software manufacturers
- Technical consulting firms
As you gain more experience and earn further qualifications, you can become an IT director or chief information officer. You can also establish an IT consulting firm and work directly with clients.
Think you have what it takes to prevent cyber-attacks? It’s high time you started working toward becoming an IT security coordinator.