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Career Story: Information Systems Security Analyst

Information Systems Security Analyst

Job Title: Information Systems Security Analyst

Type of Company: My company is a research and development company.

Education: BA in English, Haverford College •• MA in English, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Previous Experience: I worked as a Help Desk technician.

Before that, I was a Unix systems administrator/assistant Windows sysadmin

Before that I was a web site admin/general technician at a small company in Minnesota.

Before that, I taught English.

Job Tasks: In general, I make sure that the computers used in secure locations (we do work for government classified systems) conform to government security guidelines and are as hard to break into or compromise as possible. I also do general system maintenance on these machines.

Currently, I do hardware and software support; if someone's computer is too old, I set up a new one for them and transfer their files and systems settings over. Every day I also check our email logs for evidence of unauthorized access. A recent project of mine was to track down a number of systems whose anti-virus software was damaged or malfunctioning and repair it. My job at the moment is fairly flexible; I do whatever the information technology folks need done, and I work for our security department as well, fixing systems in classified rooms (rooms that require a high-level security clearance to enter). Sometimes I do phone support; that's how I started at the company, working at the IT Help Desk. I answer people's questions about their computers and try to solve any problems they're having with network access, file backups, or general computer use.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best Parts: There's usually something new to learn. The people here are exceptionally smart and many of them are quite nice and good to work with.

Worst Parts: Sometimes, it's just doing the same thing over and over again for a while. Dealing with angry or panicked people whose systems suddenly don't work and desperately need them to work.

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