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An information security officer, sometimes referred to as an ISO, is someone employed by a company to be responsible for maintaining the security and privacy of different types of information within the company. Depending on the needs of the client, this typically involves maintaining computer networks to ensure that sensitive financial or private information is kept secure and cannot be accessed by someone not authorized to do so. An information security officer usually reports to a chief information security officer or other member of upper management, such as a vice president or president in charge of information technology (IT) or security.
As more and more companies have turned to computers for storing private and financial information digitally, allowing for greater storage space and organization, those companies have come to realize the potential for security risks regarding such information. Many companies hire someone such as an information security officer to ensure that safety protocols for their data are established and maintained in order to keep information private. An information security officer may not handle the actual establishing of servers and networks, but will often supervise others in such capacities and may be called upon to handle emergencies or critical matters dealing with privacy and information security.
The skills required to become an information security officer are typically both technical and interpersonal in nature. While the person usually reports to someone higher up in the company, he or she may also be responsible for hiring other employees who oversee other aspects of information security. This means that he or she will likely need to have the interpersonal skills required to deal with hiring, firing, and managing several other people within a company. It is also often crucial that an information security officer understands the technical aspects of computer data privacy, with knowledge of networks, firewalls, and other security protocols being fairly standard.
While typically not a high level executive within a company, this officer may be open for promotion to higher positions such as chief information security officer or vice president of IT security. The starting pay for an information security officer typically depends on the company he or she works for and the security needs of the business. Salary can increase significantly for someone promoted into a higher information security position within a company, and promotion within a company can be common as employees demonstrate reliability and trustworthiness when dealing with private information.