These managers must have a strong background in information technology with a clear understanding of the challenges of information security. They require excellent analytical and problem-solving abilities to identify and fix security risks. To build understanding and awareness of security issues throughout the organization, they must have excellent communication and presentation skills. They also need good team working skills to develop security solutions in collaboration with other information technology professionals.
Information security managers assess the organization’s security measures, such as firewalls, anti-virus software and passwords, to identify any weak points that might make information systems vulnerable to attack. They may carry out simulated attacks to test the efficiency of security measures. They also prioritize security coverage to ensure that strategically important data, such as commercial information or personal data, receives the highest levels of protection.
To minimize risk, these managers develop policies that encourage secure working and protect data. They give employees and managers different levels of access to company data based on seniority and job function. They also provide training for employees, explaining security risks and demonstrating good practices, such as using strong passwords and protecting data when they use mobile devices outside the office.
Managers set up procedures and automated processes to monitor the status of computers and networks. If the monitoring system detects unusual patterns of behavior, managers must respond quickly to determine the cause and deal with any threat. They also analyze reports generated by the monitoring system to identify trends that might indicate a future risk.
Information security professionals earned a median wage of $75,660 in May 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment in this profession is projected to grow 22 percent between 2010 and 2020, which compares to a projected average growth of 14 percent for all U.S. occupations.