In an era in which attacks on commercial computer systems are on the increase, the role of Security Architect has become hugely important. Security Architects design, develop and implement systems that prevent the infiltration of malware and other hacker-related intrusions across the IT network, thereby helping organisations to continue their activities without encouraging costly and damaging situations.

Duties and responsibilities - What does a Security Architect do?

There are several important responsibilities for Security Architects, including:

  • Anticipating potential security threats, and acting upon them in time
  • Drawing up plans for future company safety, and communicating progress to senior management
  • Implementing new software to protect against intrusion, and monitoring relevant progress
  • Making important risk-based decisions regarding security, in line with company policies and national and international legislation
  • Understanding the methods and tactics adopted by hackers and reacting accordingly to their actions
  • Identifying weak points within the company’s systems and passing such information on to senior management
  • Setting user protocols for relevant individuals and monitoring their subsequent usage

Qualities needed for a successful Security Architect

To be a success in such a role, the individual will need to display several personal qualities. They include the ability to understand the organisation’s computer systems, a naturally curious disposition, and an awareness of the need to be sensitive when handling valuable information. It will also help if the candidate is intuitive, expressive and possesses excellent communications skills.

Security Architects must know how to develop and install robust security systems, often in a relatively short space of time, and to be able to monitor their effectiveness in an analytical and dispassionate manner. The ability to test for weaknesses is a must and will sometimes be done with the help of an ethical hacker.

By their very nature, Security Architects tend to be good judges of character, and will be keen to continue learning throughout their careers. This is a sector that doesn’t stand still, so they need to be adaptable, intelligent, and open to change. In larger organisations, the actions of a Security Architect will be highly influential, so born leaders with excellent decision-making abilities will invariably succeed.

Qualifications and technical skills - How to become a Security Architect?

In most cases, potential Security Architects will have a strong academic background, often in subjects such as information technology, cyber security, computer science, and potentially experience in the likes of business planning, application development IT risk management or systems analysis. Certification from a relevant body such as the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium will often prove a big help with applications.

A thorough understanding of cybersecurity and how it affects the modern business world will be necessary. This includes knowledge of the main operating systems; Windows, UNIX, and Linux along with networking; LANs, WANs, VPNs, routers, and firewalls. An awareness of frameworks such as COBIT can also be beneficial. It is important in this role to be able to garner information from abstract sources and turn it into practical ways to support a commercial enterprise.

Career development - What is the next step after Security Architect?

Those who come into this role usually do so from formal education, but for others there can be a somewhat circuitous route via roles in other branches of business. Career advancement for Security Architects will often involve a step up to roles such as Senior Security Architect or Lead Security Architect, and sometimes on to that of Director of Security.

Salary and remuneration - How much does a Security Architect make? Is it a good career?

The various levels of this position will provide a wide salary scale, so for those at the top there is excellent financial reward for such a coveted and vital role, in addition so some very impressive benefits packages.

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