Network System Administrator Job Description

Network Security Architect (NSA)

In today’s world of imminent intrusions lurking around each corner of our globalized, interconnected business systems, security is the number one concern of corporate world players.  One intrusion can mean the loss of intellectual property that give a competitor or nation state an advantage. Additionally, data intrusions can result in lost or inaccurate data and even legal issues.  We’ve all seem the

Since these issues are related to company survival, management is taking on a much more proactive devotion to the cause and expending more of its budgetary allotment for the protection of its corporate network and proprietary resources.  Multi-national Company’s competing on  global basis with high exposure concerns are prioritizing security and security personnel with assignment of record budgets to this cause.

An individual taking on the job title of network security architect will need to be detailed in nature and maintain an overarching dedication to providing an ongoing protection scheme for the company they are entrusted with providing this highly responsible task.  This individual should have an innate ability to plan in anticipation of cyber threats and maintain a proactive approach in regards to keeping up on the latest advances in the field.

Typical Job Duties

  • Develop and maintain a comprehensive understanding of a specific company’s infrastructure information technology systems and work culture to implement best-tailored practices for enterprise security.
  • Plan, research and design dynamic, active, full-featured and ideally impenetrable environments that prevent intrusion while minimizing security authentication burdens that could slow down productivity.
  • In the implementation of security equipment and protocols, prepare cost evaluations and identify integration issues with current enterprise systems.
  • Develop security implementations for local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), secure tunneling virtual private networks (VPNs). This includes configuration and ongoing updates for routers, switches, hardware security appliances, software firewalls, servers and personnel IDS scanning devices.  
  • Perform initial and ongoing vulnerability and intrusion testing along with risk analyses and long-term security assessments of the systems designed for the specific business, distributed infrastructure or government entity.
  • Perform ongoing research of security authentication protocols, industry standards, and keep up with the latest in security technology systems to ensuring maximum protection by hardening existing systems.
  • Design public key infrastructures (PKIs) that utilize certification authorities (CAs) along with digital signature methodologies for encrypted communication systems.
  • Preforms initial and ongoing testing of designed and updated security constructions to ensure compliance with anticipated hardware appliance and software application security specs and security performance claims.
  • At supervisory level position, provides technical supervision and direction of a team of security professionals.
  • Define, implement and uphold far-reaching corporate policies and procedures in all areas of access and security for all levels of employees, management and contractors.
  • Develop presentations and hold meetings with employees and management personnel detailing security protocols for ongoing educational purposes. Instruct contractors as to corporate security procedures and concerns.
  • Continuously monitor and respond to security-related intrusions and alarms along with creating and providing a comprehensive post-event analysis to management. This may entail 24/7 on-call and after hour duties.

Opportunities

Network security architects have numerous job opportunities available throughout corporate America. Although this job comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility the rewards are great.  As of this writing, starting salaries are around $84,000 a year with median salaries coming in at $110,000 and high-end seasoned architects earning upwards of $160,000. Job opportunities are generally in larger cities where corporate headquarters are located. Colleges, universities and city, county, state and federal government entities are also good prospects for employment opportunities in this field.

Individuals given to an entrepreneurial spirt may find significant opportunity in owning their own network security architect consultation business. Owning a consultant company that specializes in network security adds an additional burden of knowing more than one enterprise environment and the specific concerns of each.  This may lead to growth and the need to hire additional employees because private contractors in this field are expected to know the company’s network, policies and specifics in detail.  Additional employees may also be required to handle on-call duty for critical security breaches and other security situations encountered across multiple companies.

Jobs in the booming IT sector are very strong in general with network security jobs being at the top. Burning Glass Technologies released a report stating that jobs in the security sector have increased 74 percent from 2007 to 2013.  This represents a two-fold increase over all other areas of IT job growth.  Those with a technical aptitude, looking for high paying employment with almost guaranteed job availability should consider this field.

Education and Skills

Online and standard university degrees in cybersecurity are available at the bachelor of Science and Master of Science level from many universities such as the University of Phoenix, Utica College, Maryville University, Syracuse University Regis University and Capella University. The college education is only a first step, certification from an independent accrediting organization is important for a serious security-minded professional. These certification authorities include such organizations as ISACA, CompTIA, EC Council, GIAC, and (ISC)2.  There are three levels of certifications entry-level, intermediate and expert.  Intermediate and expert level certification will require significant on the job work experience. These certifications are some of the most difficult of all the IT certified programs to accomplish. Just the entry-level certification will take somewhere in the range of 4 to 10 months of study and costs in the hundreds of dollars for the privilege of taking the exam.  Individuals can always start to go after their certifications prior to graduating with their degree.  Certified individuals will always be considered more qualified when it comes to getting noticed by a hiring manager and command more money along with improve job advancement potential after employment is landed.  Some of the certifications include CISSP or Certified Information Systems Security Professional, CISA or Certified Information Systems Auditor, CISM or Certified Information Security Manager, GCIH or CIAC Certified Incident Handler, CEH or Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP or Offensive Security Certified Professional. 

Cybersecurity, more than other jobs in the IT sector, is where experience is king. The longer a person is employed as a network security architect and becomes increasingly experienced in the multitude of issues surrounding ever-changing cyber threats, the more pay goes up, in many cases, exponentially it seems.