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How to Become an Information Security Manager

As businesses and organizations increasingly rely on network technologies, cyber security and its professionals have become indispensable. Among other responsibilities, these talented employees are responsible for implementing network safety protocol to avoid costly hacks and cyber attacks. For individuals interested in this emergent field, learning how to become an information security manager could be the first step toward a fast-paced and rewarding career.

An information security manager works on laptop with cyber security alert message.

What Does an Information Security Manager Do?

After obtaining technical and professional cyber security skills, information security managers oversee other IT professionals to ensure their organization’s cyber security needs are being met. This means their role extends beyond technical knowledge — information security managers must efficiently communicate with and oversee their teams. Responsibilities within this oversight capacity can include:

  • Hiring/firing IT professionals
  • Crafting departmental strategies and protocol
  • Monitoring trends in cyber security and adapting accordingly
  • Leading investigations/audits following security breaches
  • Budget oversight

As information security officers are ultimately responsible for network security, they must be attuned to their organization’s various security needs. This includes implementing security protocol to mitigate risk from potential hacks and breaches. Information security managers must fully understand the latest trends in information security, as they will often have to adapt to the fast-changing nature of network technology.

As with most supervisory roles, an information security manager should be proficient in the technical processes for which their team is responsible. Furthermore, effective information security managers need excellent interpersonal skills to manage their teams and communicate expectations to each member. Additionally, information security managers must demonstrate an extensive understanding of their department’s non-technical needs, as they are responsible for budgetary and personnel decision-making.

Steps to Become an Information Security Manager

A combination of the right education and experience can translate to a successful career as an information security manager. Here is an overview of the key elements involved in this career path.

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

The first step toward becoming an information security manager is to earn a bachelor’s degree in an information technology field. This degree can help you understand the ways in which organizations use computer systems. Many entry-level IT jobs require a bachelor’s degree, a key stepping stone toward a career as an information security manager. To grow in this field, however, individuals should also gain hands-on experience.

Enrolling in an online bachelor’s degree in cyber security program exposes students to the same security issues faced by information security managers. Through courses that cover topics such as networks, ethical hacking, digital forensics, and the legal premises that underpin these issues, students can gain valuable technical expertise to assist them in their IT careers.

Gain On-the-Job Experience

Because information security managers supervise other technical professionals, it is crucial to gain firsthand experience in an information technology department. Many employers require aspiring information security managers to have gained at least 10 years of experience in a computer-security role prior to becoming a manager.

The role of an information security manager requires an in-depth understanding of the various functions of an IT department, so exposure to a wide breadth of security knowledge can prepare candidates for success in a management role. Working in an entry-level information technology position with exposure to security issues is a commonly recognized path toward becoming an information security manager.

Earn a Master’s Degree (Optional)

While not always a prerequisite, degrees such as an MBA and master’s degree in cyber security can increase a job candidate’s chances of reaching an IT management role. MBAs offer graduates the business know-how to effectively manage their departments. Also, advanced cyber security degrees can demonstrate that a job candidate possesses a comprehensive understanding of the demanding technical role of information security managers. Moreover, professionals can receive various certifications through organizations (such as the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, or ISACA) that can demonstrate a capacity to handle the responsibilities of this role.

Information Security Manager Salaries

The average salary for an information security manager is $110,000, according to the compensation website PayScale. However, information security manager salaries can vary depending on experience, organization, and location. For example, information security managers in high-income technology hubs such as San Francisco and New York typically earn more.

Future Growth of Information Security Managers

The career path of an information security manager offers ample room for growth. For example, at some organizations and businesses, information security managers report to chief information security officers, or CISOs. This role includes many of the responsibilities of an information security manager, but at a more comprehensive level. As cyber security professionals gain management experience, they may be in a better position to assume additional responsibilities and a wider range of oversight.

Cyber security is a rapidly expanding career path, and the prospects in this field are strong. According to MarketWatch, the global cyber security market will reach $172 billion by 2022. North America leads the international community as the No. 1 contributor to this widely expanding market. It’s clear that the rapid expansion of cyber security and its widening global reach make it a very favorable time to enter this field.

Explore Careers in Cyber Security

If you are interested in a cyber security career, an excellent starting point is to attain the proper degree. Maryville University offers an online bachelor’s in cyber security program that you can complete in as few as 2.5 years. With a selection of three separate tracks, you can study offensive cyber security, cyber security, and defensive cyber security. Maryville also offers an online master’s in cyber security, which can further prepare you to jump-start a promising career in this fast-paced industry. Discover the skills you need to succeed in one of today’s most dynamic fields at Maryville University.

Sources:

CollegeBoard: Big Future, “Major: Information Technology”

Cyber Security Education, “How to Become a Security Manager”

ISACA, “Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)”

MarketWatch, “Cyber Security Market to Touch US $170 Billion by 2022”

PayScale, “Average Information Security Manager Salary”