HOW TO BECOME A SECURITY ADMINISTRATOR
A trustworthy and dependable cyber security system is critical to most organizations. To implement this, companies need reliable and knowledgeable employees. A security administrator, also known as secadmin, is someone who understands the entire system and keeps it functioning securely and optimally.
WHAT DOES A CYBER SECURITY ADMINISTRATOR DO?
Your responsibilities as a security admin may vary depending on your employer, but your main task will be to install and control the security system. Some of your job duties as a security admin may include the following:
- Create security requirements within your network
- Run security audits and create a list of policy recommendations
- Provide training and guidance to colleagues on strategies and policies
- Protect the system against illegal access or alterations
- Supervise the system for any suspicious activity or traffic
- Create a plan for recovery and how to continue with production
Some of the challenges that IT security administrators face include constantly evolving threats and attack methods, the need to balance security with usability and productivity, and the challenge of securing data across a range of devices and platforms.
SECURITY ADMINISTRATOR SALARY
As a security administrator, your salary will vary depending on where you work and in which part of the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics current Occupational Outlook Handbook lists the average annual salary for Network Systems Administrators as $90,520, and Information Security Analysts as $112,000.
ANNUAL MEDIAN SALARY OF
Network System Administrator
ANNUAL MEDIAN SALARY OF
Information Security Analyst
Additionally, it's worth noting that the job growth in the field of cyber security is projected to be much faster than average for all career fields through 2032, with a growth rate of 31.5%. This is due to the increasing need for organizations to protect themselves against cyber threats and the growing use of technology in all aspects of a business.
This demand for skilled security professionals may also impact salary levels and job opportunities in the future. Overall, a career as a security admin can offer competitive salaries and promising job prospects for those with the necessary skills and qualifications.
WHAT IS REQUIRED TO BECOME A SECURITY ADMINISTRATOR?
Degree in a Related Field
The company you work for is going to be the definitive answer to this requirement. If you choose to work for a small business, work experience or an associate's degree in cyber security may be accepted. Expect larger corporations with higher risk to require a bachelor's program in a cyber security or related computer science field. A technical degree or continuing your education with a focused security master's degree can be a great investment if you will be choosing to move into leadership roles.
Relevant Work Experience
Again, this answer can be found within your future or current employer. Some companies accept as little as one year of experience, and others require five years or more.
Soft Skills for Security Administration
- Effective communication skills
- Clear and informative writing skills
- Comfortable speaking in front of others and leading training, workshops, and classes for fellow employees
- Attention to detail
Hard Skills for Security Administration
- Highly developed knowledge of firewall technologies
- Comfortable with L4-L7 protocols; HTTP, SMTP, SSL, IPSec and DNS
- Proficient in Proxy Server, Packet Shaper, Load Balancer
- Checkpoint, Juniper and Cisco
- Advanced knowledge of IDS/IDP
- Familiar with major computer operating systems; Linux, UNIX and Windows
- Understanding of analysis tools and network protocols
Available Certificates for Security Admins
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- Cisco Certified Network Associate—Routing and Switching (CCNA)
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- EC-Council Network Security Administrator (ENSA)
- CompTIA's popular base-level security certification (Security+)
Becoming a security administrator is a great way to start in the field of cyber security and is a solid career path with room to grow. As always, research the specifics of the companies you're interested in and confirm that your skills and ambitions are the right fit.
SECURITY ADMINISTRATOR JOBS & POSITIONS
There are more than a few cyber security-specific job titles. Here are some that fall under the umbrella of security administration:
These are all careers that you could work in as a security administrator. Depending upon the size and type of company you are working for, you may take on some of these job title responsibilities—or all.
If you are interested in a leadership position, these job titles might include some of the following:
For most security administrators, security analysts, or security consultants, you usually report to a security manager or a higher-up leadership position. For these higher-level positions, a master's degree in information security or a related field such as computer science goes a long way and may even be a requirement at some companies.
RELATED JOB TITLES
When you search for a job as a security administrator, pay close attention to the titles in the job openings. You may see other titles such as those below, but be aware that security administrator jobs could also be listed as:
- IT Security Administrator
- Systems Security Administrator
- Network Security Administrator
All of these jobs have the same goal in mind—to keep their business networks safe and running smoothly with as few security issues as possible.
KNOW THE DIFFERENCE: SECURITY ADMIN VS. SECURITY ANALYST
There are several types of cyber security job titles with similar job responsibilities. But there is a difference between a security administrator and a cyber security analyst. This often comes down to your place of employment. In some cases, you may take on the tasks of both jobs:
Security Administrator: In control of making sure the system as a whole is running properly. In this role, you are responsible for updating the system, resolving issues, and setting up any new users.
Cyber Security Analyst: Analyzes data to help keep cyber invaders out. Once any flaws or issues are discovered and evaluated, a security analyst then makes recommendations as to what needs to be changed but is not in charge of physically making the changes.
LAUNCHING A CAREER AS A SECURITY ADMIN
As a security administrator, your day-to-day tasks will typically revolve around managing and maintaining the security of your organization's networks, systems, and data. This may involve creating and implementing security policies, monitoring network traffic and user activity, conducting vulnerability assessments and penetration testing, and managing access controls and user privileges.
You may also be responsible for configuring and maintaining security technologies such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and endpoint protection software. Along with these tasks, you'll need to read professional security resources and stay up to date on the latest security threats and vulnerabilities and proactively identify and address potential risks to your organization.
If that all sounds interesting to you and you can't wait to get started, utilize our Find Schools widget on this page to browse our repository of vetted universities that offer degrees and programs in information security at all educational levels.