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Security specialist

Other possible titles

  • Computer security officer
  • Information systems security specialist
  • Information technology security analyst

Context

The work of security specialists has become even more indispensable since Canada has implemented computer security regulations (Bill 198 in Ontario, and sister legislation in Quebec) to create a framework equivalent to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the U.S. These laws require publicly held companies to disclose their processes for testing and maintaining secure internal financial systems in databases, computer systems and services.

Description

Security specialists can work for large companies, security specialist firms, or for themselves. Since the field is very vast, they often specialize in one of four main areas such as technology, security management (governance), systems (development and upgrade) and finally audit and control (compliance).

Main duties

  • Develop the security policy and procedures
  • Sensitize employees to security issues
  • Implement and manage network firewall, hacker detection and antivirus systems
  • Set up virtual and telecommuting networks
  • Install secure SMTP gateways
  • Conduct intensive, regular technological monitoring

Education

  • A college diploma or a bachelor's degree in computers is recommended.

Certain specific professional certifications (CISSP, SANS or GIAC) are an asset.

The position of security specialist usually requires two years' computer security experience or five years' information technology experience.

Skills

  • Possess expertise in technology infrastructure (directory services, distributed security architectures, security system management)
  • Have recognized skills in virtual private networks, firewalls, TCP/IP protocol, token systems, authentication systems
  • Be familiar with operating systems (Windows, Unix and Linux)
  • Experience in managing computer projects

Qualities

  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Curiosity and prediction abilities
  • Independence and teamwork skills
  • Writing skills
  • Ability to handle stress (tight deadlines, complex systems)

Career path

Security specialists can start by working on complex projects, then get into management by taking charge of a team of specialists. They can also be self-employed as computer security consultants.