We all lock our houses, but still, there are chances of theft, so we hire a guard to ensure the security of our home. Businesses also face the same security concern as cybercriminals are always trying to hack the systems. The lock and guard system doesn’t apply to the networking systems as it requires security in terms of technology.
As every organization is now using the internet to connect to the entire world, security issues are rising. Experts estimate that by 2021, cybercrime incidents could cost companies a whopping $6 trillion.
To counter these attacks, security audits can help protect the data from cyberattacks.
If you are interested to know the requirements to become a security auditor, this article will cover it all.
What Does A Security Auditor Do?
It is essential to know the responsibilities of any job position before you jump into it. Let’s see what security auditors have to do as a part of their job.
Security auditors have a lot of responsibilities on their shoulders. Their main job is to check the computer systems for any security risks and inadequacies. They work with IT professionals, management committees, and the executive board, and assess the security controls followed by a company.
Moreover, security auditors assess firewalls, encryption procedures, and other security plans. During a security audit, the involved personnel evaluates the company’s security system against a set of standards, policies, and plans.
As cybersecurity leaders, we have to create our message of influence because security is a culture and you need the business to take place and be part of that security culture.
They also create a detailed report which includes recommendations for resolving the security issues and submit them to the management.
No matter how much businesses spend to secure the IT systems, some bad guys impose threats on the network. Sometimes, these threats go unnoticed for a long time until a security audit takes place. This is why businesses should conduct security audits regularly.
To become a security auditor, you need to have some skills and knowledge about the field. We are sharing the details of these requirements so you can get a clear picture of the process involved in becoming a security auditor.
The first thing that comes to mind is the education process. Having a bachelor’s degree in computer science, IT, or a similar technical field is a must. When you attend classes about programming, hardware, computer science, you learn the technical aspects and build a strong foundation for the career.
After getting a college degree, go for a master’s degree in networking, cybersecurity, or related fields. This way, you’ll establish other relevant skills and get more knowledge about the field.
Some companies require having a master’s degree; that’s why it is recommended for students who are interested in being a security auditor.
Don’t miss out on the chance for an internship as you get hands-on experience and get to apply the theoretical knowledge in the workplace. Some colleges allow internships during your education.
If you don’t have such a facility, find it yourself after finishing the education. Some recruiters look for internship experience on your resume, so don’t leave any chance to impress them.
There are chances that you lack some skills for the job even after your college education, but there’s nothing to worry about. The most significant advantage of technology-related fields is that you can always learn these skills with easily available extra certifications.
There are several benefits of certifications for becoming a security auditor. Firstly, you stay up-to-date with the current trends in the field. Certifications also enhance technical skills and boost the chances of a pay increase.
Moreover, certifications can be obtained in any part of life to enhance your knowledge and skills. Whether you have stepped in this field, or you have a mid-level position, you can always enroll and go for in-demand certifications.
Sometimes, companies ask security auditors to get certifications, which makes it kind of essential for your career growth as a security auditor.
The important certifications for security auditors are:
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
With these certifications, you’ll get an advantage in the professional setup as you’ll stand out from the crowd. So, you must plan for obtaining certifications if you want to have proficiency in the field.
Do you think you’ll get certifications and you’re done for life? No, security auditors do a lot more to secure their jobs.
You need to maintain the certifications to stay in the game. Continuing professional education (CPE) is a term that is used for such programs.
As a part of CPE, you need to self-certify yourself once in a few years after obtaining certification/s. This way, you can perform better at work and stay updated with technical knowledge and skills.
The choice is yours. If you want to be successful in the field, continuing professional education (CPE) is essential.
The job of a security auditor requires technical expertise. You’ll learn most of the core skills during your college and university life when you choose the technical fields. However, some of these require hands-on experience, as well.
The hard skills that are a must for this job position are:
- Familiarity with programming languages such as C++, C#, PHP, and Java.
- Good understanding of security standards like FFIEC, HIPAA, PCI, NERC, EU/Safe Harbor, and SOX.
- Familiarity with operating systems, Windows, and Unix.
- Experience working with MSSQL and ORACLE.
- Familiarity with security frameworks, like ISO 27001/27002.
If you think that hard skills make you the right person for the job, then you are wrong. You need to have the following soft skills to become a security auditor.
Security auditors should have strong analytical skills as they need to assess the weak points in the security systems. Moreover, you must have strong communication skills as you need to interview employees about the system and how they use them.
After that, you need to interact with the employees, management, and executives in the company.
As a security auditor, you must have a consistent attitude and attention to detail. You need to look into the little details and offer a solid report to the management.
Other than this, excellent leadership skills help you a lot in this job position because you are expected to lead the team if you have a senior position.
Last but not least, having patience helps you a lot, as you need to deal with the workload and technical issues with a calm attitude.
How Much Do Security Auditors Earn?
What’s the best part of doing a job? For us, it’s the pay, and we bet you’ll agree with us.
While we are discussing security auditors, we guess you would like to know how much they earn. We get you.
Aspiring candidates are more interested to know about the salary as they start their careers. So, entry-level security auditors make about $57,653, whereas, according to Payscale, the average salary of mid-career employees is around $84,039 a year.
Senior security auditors who have work experience of more than 15 years take generous paychecks with a salary of $106,000 annually.
Similarly, according to Indeed, mid-level security auditors earn $96,048, whereas senior-level employees earn a handsome salary of $99,587. If you don’t believe us, go check it out for yourself. With such a good salary, we guess there is no room for second thoughts about becoming a security auditor.
Salaries also differ as a result of the skills, work experience, and the companies that you are applying for. Companies are always offering high salaries to employees who bring greater value to the table. Therefore, if you aim for a handsome salary package, work hard, and show your potential.
As life goes on, the salary figures will keep on rising because of the increased demand for security auditors in all industries. There is likely to be a 32% increase in cybersecurity employment opportunities from 2018-2028 including security auditors.
Career Path For A Security Auditor
Whenever you plan on becoming a security auditor, you might be confused about the road that gets you to the position. Instead of building more curiosity, we are sharing the career path of this profession with you.
Becoming a security auditor requires experience of many years. However, the hard work is all worth it in the end when you reach your goal. In the beginning, you have to start with roles like system or network administrators. After gaining knowledge of the field, you shift to higher positions.
The mid-level roles for security auditors are security specialists, security engineers, and security consultants. These roles allow you to understand the security systems, maintain security solutions, and offer improvement plans.
You get to the position of a security auditor after having work experience of three to five years. Senior-level positions require more than five years of experience. No doubt, it’s a grinding experience at first, but all this is going to pay off when you get the job.
These are some questions that people who are interested in becoming a security auditor have. So, we thought of covering them too.
What’s the difference between external and internal audit?
Third-party security professionals conduct external security audits. These are very expensive and not affordable for small companies and businesses. Even large companies prefer external security audits once a year because of the financial burden.
External audits help in recognizing the deficiencies in a company’s IT security system according to the industry’s standards.Companies hire external auditors to deal with complex issues that internal auditors aren’t familiar with.
Whereas, internal security audits are performed by auditors who are part of the organization. These are cost-effective, take less time, and don’t disturb the normal work routine of employees. Moreover, internal security audits can happen frequently within an organization, and IT professionals prefer these as compared to external security audits.
Do security auditors make a good income?
Security auditing is a highly specialized job so it needs years of training and experience to earn the role. The salaries for security auditors are impressive as an average for a mid-career position is $84000 annually. Therefore, if you are planning to become a security auditor, you should definitely pursue your goal.
However, the pay scale ranges from company to company, country, experience, and skills needed for the job. So, if you have all the prerequisites sorted out, nothing can hold you back from having a handsome salary.
Is security auditing a challenging job?
Well, people break out into cold sweat after hearing that’s its call for a security audit. It’s a technical process, and you need to detect the vulnerabilities in the security system. Moreover, it’s not a one-time job; security checks require repetitive surveys.
So, yes, it’s a challenging job, but if you have an interest, you’ll cope with the technical encounters in the way.
Security auditors have an important position because they have the expertise to protect the digital assets for businesses. No matter what’s the size of the organization, they require security audits on a regular basis.
According to the Roberthalf 2020 salary guide, security auditing is a very much in-demand profession. Moreover, it’s a lucrative job as well, therefore; it’s safe to say that becoming a security auditor is a nice decision. With the right skills, work experience, and certifications, you can find a position in this field.