HOW TO BECOME A CYBER SECURITY DIRECTOR
Every IT department needs a top-level manager to oversee its security operations and personnel. You can become eligible for a position as a security director after many years as a cyber security auditor, or penetration tester, or if you have experience elsewhere in the computer security field.
WHAT IS A DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION SECURITY?
A cyber security director is a leader in the IT field who is responsible for maintaining and developing security protocols for a company's databases and networks. They manage a team of dedicated security professionals and integrate security measures alongside the rest of the IT department.
A cyber director's responsibilities include:
THEY WRITE Security Protocols
The information security director is responsible for writing the rules and regulations for everyone on their team to ensure that security measures are taken during routine maintenance or software upgrades. They must ensure that the team is vigilant so that a security breach does not occur due to simple human error.
THEY HEAD Investigations
In the event of a security breach, the director is responsible for heading up investigations to determine the cause of the problem, whether it is an accidental exposure or a deliberate and malicious attack. From there, the director must devise solutions to prevent future breaches, often working with personnel such as data protection officers.
THEY Manage TEAMS
As a manager, the information security director must hire a team that will best carry out the company's cyber security needs. They are responsible for employee training and development, as well as hiring and firing. The director may also work with budgetary concerns for payroll and spending on new hardware and software.
THEY OFFER Consultations
The security director typically answers directly to a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or Chief Information Officer (CIO). Their consultations with the CISO can have a direct impact on the overall stature of the company's IT systems and operations.
POSSIBLE CYBER SECURITY DIRECTOR CAREER PATHS
The path to a position as an information security director can take many specific forms, but it will be important to find your way into a digital security position as soon as you can. From your entry-level work, you can rise up to a full cyber security position and then into management. Though corporate structures will vary, there is one final step after the information security director—CISO. Here is a general schematic of the tiers this career path moves through:
STEPS TO BECOME A DIRECTOR OF CYBER SECURITY
Step 1: Earn a Degree in a Related Field
To become a Cyber Security Director, you will need to have a strong foundation in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. Obtaining an information security-related bachelor's degree such as computer science, information technology, or cyber security is the first step in your career.
Step 2: Gain Professional Experience in Information Security
Employers often require a minimum of 5-10 years of experience in the field of cyber security for individuals applying for a Cyber Security Director role. You can gain experience by working in different cybersecurity positions, such as cyber security analyst, network security engineer, or cybersecurity consultant.
Step 3: Obtain Industry Certifications
There are various certifications available in the cybersecurity industry, and earning them can demonstrate your proficiency and expertise. Some popular certifications include Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).
Step 4: Develop Leadership and Communication Skills
As a Cyber Security Director, you will be responsible for leading teams, collaborating with other departments, and communicating complex security issues to non-technical stakeholders. Developing leadership and communication skills will be crucial to your success in this role.
Step 5: Pursue Advanced Education or Training
Continuing education and training can help you stay up-to-date with the latest cyber security threats and best practices. Pursuing a master's degree in cyber security or obtaining advanced training in specialized areas such as cloud security, cryptography, or incident response can enhance your expertise and make you a more competitive candidate for a Cyber Security Director position.
JOBS SIMILAR TO INFORMATION SECURITY DIRECTOR
There are many titles for jobs that carry near-identical job duties as information security directors. When you are ready to seek out a director-level job, make sure that you have adequate security training, experience and skills to match the job description of the position you desire. Some similar jobs may include:
- Deputy CISO
- Information Technology Security Director
- Senior IT Manager
- Senior Project Manager
DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION SECURITY SALARY
Due to the increasing importance of cybersecurity and the ever-growing threat of cyber-attacks, the demand for experienced and skilled Cyber Security Directors is on the rise. As a result, this career path has become highly lucrative, with the potential to earn a significant salary.
ANNUAL AVERAGE SALARY OF
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2022, the median salary for an Information Systems Manager, which includes Cyber Security Directors, was $164,070 a year. However, salaries can vary depending on factors such as location, industry, and years of experience. In some cases, Cyber Security Directors can earn well above the median salary.
Additionally, the growth rate for the job description of Cyber Security Director is projected to expand at a rate of 15.4% through 2032, which is faster than the average for all other career fields. This growth is due to the increasing importance of cybersecurity in all industries and the need for organizations to protect their digital assets from cyber-attacks.
DIRECTOR OF CYBER SECURITY JOB REQUIREMENTS
In order to become a security director, you will need to have a lot of experience performing information security audits. Most managers spend approximately 10 years in IT prior to receiving this promotion.
Your education will need to be at least a bachelor's degree, but a master's degree in computer science, cyber security, or information technology will help you advance. Other education that might help include an MBA, professional security certifications, and master-level certificates in cyber security.
Your technical skill set needs to include these tools:
- C,C++, C#, and PHP or Java coding languages
- Firewall protocols
- Windows, Macintosh, Unix, and Linux operating systems
- Knowledge of ethical hacking practices
- Familiarity with third-party audits
- Excellent written and oral communication
- Leadership ability
DIRECTOR OF CYBER SECURITY VS. SECURITY AUDITOR
Though seemingly very similar, a security director and a security auditor do very different jobs. In fact, they may work in the same department but the director functions as the supervisor.
The auditor is responsible for monitoring the networks and databases on a daily basis, then preparing reports for the information security director to review. The auditor will need to do the nitty gritty work of combing through database log documents in search of an SQL injection, or if there is an instance of malware or a virus somewhere in the code. They will often defer to the director with tough questions and discuss the best methods for attacking a problem.
When a full audit of a large company is needed, the two may work more closely, but the director will often be called away for managerial meetings, or to review work. After the work of the audit is completed, the auditor and cyber director might work together to create a presentation for the CISO and other top "C-grade" executives.
A cyber director will also need to delegate tasks and responsibilities to his or her security team. In fact, much of a director's job will be managerial rather than technical. After proving yourself in the cyber security field, you will be able to share the benefits of your experience and knowledge with your staffers, leading them as they continue to maintain the safety of the network.
Earning a degree in a cyber security-related field (such as computer science) is the first step on your journey to becoming an information security director. Utilize our handy Find Schools widget on this page to browse our database of accredited schools that offer a diverse variety of degrees.