If you’re looking to get into an exciting yet challenging job, consider becoming a security manager. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, by 2021, cybercrime damages are expected to reach $6 trillion annually. This means leakage and destruction of data, hacked systems, stolen money, and a lot more.
With dangers like those, it makes sense why everyone is spending all that money on cybersecurity. In fact, by 2022, worldwide spending on cybersecurity is predicted to cross more than $130 billion. At times like these, you know what every business and organization is looking for?
They’re looking for a top-notch security team. More importantly, do you know what you need for a top-notch security team? An excellent security manager. Now, you’re probably wondering: how to become a security manager? Well, that’s why we’re here.
We’re going to tell you everything about becoming a security manager, from the skills requirements to the expected salary. By the time you finish reading this, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a fantastic security manager.
What Does A Security Manager Do?
The job of a security manager, while it is not quite that technical, it is not exactly simple either. Your day-to-day activities will be more managerial than anything too technical. We’ll come to the exact knowledge and skills needed for this job in a while.
What a security manager does depends a lot on where he works. What kind of organization it is, where the position lies in the company, which industry it is, all this makes a difference.
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.
A security manager’s job mainly revolves around making sure the entire security team is performing well and doing its job. He has to oversee all the employees under him and ensure that they are carrying out all their tasks properly. Moreover, at times, he might have to mentor and guide his team members as well.
Other than that, a security manager doesn’t have to do any of the technical stuff himself. However, if it’s a small organization with a small security team, a security manager might have to do some work himself, along with managing the whole team.
Alternatively, even within a big company, a security manager might be asked to do some of the security work himself in case of sensitive data or high-risk situations. If there’s ever a breach in the system, the security manager will have to take immediate action to control the situation and lead the team out of the crisis.
Along with other people, he will also have to analyze and evaluate why the breach happened and ensure it doesn’t happen again. He will have to monitor the security set-up at all times to make sure everything is running smoothly.
Other Administrative and HR tasks
Sometimes, depending on the company, a security manager might have to take part in some human resource tasks as well. For instance, he might have to get involved in interviewing and hiring candidates for a position within the security team. Then, he might have to form groups and teams within the security department after assessing everyone.
Moreover, a security manager will also have to write up reports of any incidents and proposals for any new ideas. He will have to participate in developing budgets, new policies, regulations, etc. He will also have to stay up-to-date with new technologies to keep his team aware of the latest trends.
As a manager, you will have to lead and manage a team of people who will actually be involved in all kinds of technical stuff.
However, to manage a team that does technical stuff, you will have to know some of it yourself as well. Moreover, as a manager, you will not only be held accountable for your own work, but also for your team’s performance.
All this means that there will be greater responsibility on your shoulders. Therefore, if you want to do your job well, you need the right skills and experience for it. This is one place where you can’t simply learn things as you go or expect to get by without the proper expertise. Doing so will only get you in trouble and put the company at risk.
You might even have to give some tests to prove your technical abilities. Therefore, there will be no shortcuts. You will have to put in the time to get the right skills, education, and experience.
Since cybersecurity itself is quite technical and complicated, other jobs such as that of security specialists really focus on the hard skills. However, as mentioned earlier, a security manager’s job is more managerial than technical in nature. Therefore, there is equal importance of hard skills as well as other soft skills.
If a person lacks in either of the two, he will not be able to lead his team well and perform as a good security manager.
These are skills you need to look out for:
- Understanding of the IT security system and the organization’s network structure
- Knowledge of different operating systems, such as UNIX, Linux, Windows, etc.
- Setting up firewalls and encryptions to protect data
- Ability to develop intrusion prevention measures and intrusion detection protocols
- Auditing the network system for weaknesses
- Compilation of data and documenting policies and procedures
- Disaster recovery planning
- Team management
- Leading a team
- Working with others
- Communication (written and verbal)
- Time management
- Critical thinking
- Project management
Most of the skills we’ve mentioned will only come from the appropriate educational background. Not only the hard skills but for the soft skills, your education will give you the necessary exposure for you to develop those skills.
For a security manager’s job, employers will want you to hold a bachelor’s degree at the least. The bachelor’s degree could be in computer science or cybersecurity or something IT-related. This will ensure that you have a solid foundation for those hard skills. You’ll get familiar with the programming languages, operating systems, different software, and hardware, etc.
For further honing your skills or even specializing in an area, you could opt for a master’s degree or even a Ph.D. Over the course of your education, you’ll be involved in various projects and internships. These will give you a taste of the practical world, and you’ll get some hands-on experience.
More importantly, it will also help you develop those soft skills such as working with others and communication. Other than that, since the job has a managerial aspect to it, you can also consider getting a degree in business administration or management.
If you’re directly applying for the job of a security manager, you will need to have several years of experience under your belt. The position carries quite a bit of responsibility, and therefore, your employer would want to be extra sure that you fit the bill for it. Now, that will only happen if you’ve got sufficient experience in that industry and, more specifically, in the field of cybersecurity.
If you haven’t got any experience until now, you could consider applying for entry-level positions such as a security specialist. Then, once you’ve got the expertise and proven yourself, you could be promoted to the role of security manager eventually.
Another way to boost your skills and perhaps even accelerate your path to a security manager job is through certifications. If you don’t want to pursue further education, such as a master’s degree, you can try and get those certifications instead. They will show your employer that you do have the necessary skills required for the job.
Furthermore, certifications can also help you stay updated with the latest trends as well as polish your basics. They’re usually not that extensive, so you can do it alongside your job as well. These are some of the certifications you can check out:
- Certified Information Security Manager
- Certified Information Security Auditor
- CompTIA Security+
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- Certified Ethical Hacker
There isn’t any straight path to being a security manager. Since it’s not exactly an entry-level position, you will have to put in the time and effort to get there.
This could take you through several different routes and positions. You might start as a security specialist, then move on to a higher position such as a project manager.
Then, you could go to a senior-level analyst position. Eventually, when your superiors feel that you’ve got what it takes it to be a manager, they might award you that position.
Other than that, you can also consider other roles which are quite similar to a security manager. For instance, consider the role of IT security director or systems security director.
Since the job is at a higher level and requires quite a bit of experience, you can expect the salary to match. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for computer and information systems managers in 2018 was $142,350 per year. Additionally, they expect this occupation to grow by 11% between 2018 and 2028.
Similarly, according to Payscale, the average salary for a security manager is $107,715, but you could end up earning as high as almost $150,000.
The more years you rack up, the higher your salary will be. Other than that, salaries also differ from place to place. Areas such as Washington and Chicago pay more than areas such as Miami and Greeley.
Here are some answers to your frequently asked questions.
What does a security manager do?
Basically, a security manager leads a team that is involved in maintaining and improving a business’s security systems and network. He guides the team and takes part in budgeting, policy development, and a range of other tasks.
What are the skills required for a security manager?
A security manager should have hard skills such as understanding of computer networks and systems, and various security protocols and procedures. He should also have a broad range of soft skills, such as team management and decision-making skills.
If you are aiming for the position of security manager at a good organization, you’ll need commitment. It takes a while to get there, and that will only happen if you’ve got that drive and determination. On the bright side, once you do get there, you’ll be glad you stuck around.
The job will be tough, but it’ll help you develop your skills, and what could be more exciting than that? Moreover, you’ll have an excellent salary, and if you’re a people person, you’ll love interacting with your peers every day as a job.