March 16, 2017

Why Having a System Security Administrator is Essential

Erika Sager

Have you heard about the Tesla car and that its breaks can be hacked while you drive? What about the Dyn Cyber Attack that caused a temporary shutdown of big parts of the internet while effecting websites such as Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, Airbnb, Reddit, and more? Or what about the leak of voter data in the Philippines where the personal information and fingerprints of about 70 million people were compromised?

Almost all companies are using systems containing data that should be kept confidential. However, there are many ways enemies can access it. Nowadays, criminals or enemies don’t have to use a spy to come across your valuable data: All they need is a good hacker.

With digital data storage, on-site security is no longer enough to keep it safe. What companies need are skilled people tasked with protecting companies’ systems and networks from external intruders. But what must System Security Administrators do to ensure their networks and data are secure?

CyberSecurity Source: Stocksnap

Protect your company’s most valuable resource – it’s data

According to, there are several roles when it comes to system security, such as Security Auditor, Security Consultant, Security Analyst, Security Engineer and System Security Administrator.

Depending on the company’s size and industry, a System Security Administrator will work as part of a team and have responsibility for a certain area or alone with a wider range of responsibilities. Some of the areas of responsibility might include to:

  • Run security audits and recommend activities to mitigate risks
  • Configure and support technologies such as: firewalls, anti-virus software, VPN and enterprise gateway devices
  • Evaluate and manage security tools
  • Create policy recommendations and secure compliance with security standards
  • Provide trainings and guidance to colleagues on strategies and policies
  • Protect the system from suspicious activity
  • Create a plan for how to continue with production if something happens
  • Review network designs


So what skills are needed?

According to, the requirements for the role varies a lot between being more technical and more policy based. However, there are some distinct personal qualities that could be useful in this role. You should be:

  • Comfortable at taking well-evaluated decisions
  • A fast analyzer of new situations
  • Able to manage people in stressful situations
  • Working during stressful circumstances
  • Proactive and work to prevent damage rather than being good at managing damage cleanup
  • Highly ethical, as a lot of trust is put in you in this role
  • Eager to learn new things and keep up with new technology
  • An effective communicator, both written and verbal
  • Patient

Apart from possessing general system security knowledge, it might be advantageous to have deeper knowledge in two or three areas such as firewalls, policies, internet gateways, vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, software security, compliance, risk management or auditing according to

The hard skills for which employers have the highest demand for are:

  1. Knowledge of L4-L7 protocols such as SSL, HTTP, DNS, SMTP & IPSec
  2. Strong understanding of firewalls technology, such as Jupiter, Cisco, Checkpoint
  3. Packet Sharper, Load Balancer and Proxy Server Knowledge
  4. Intermediate to expert IDS/IPS knowledge
  5. Understanding of information and data classifications

A solid future

As technology develops and evolves, so do security concerns. There will always be a need to protect companies’ data from external attacks. For example, Gartner predicts that the number of IoT units in the end of 2020 will be about 21 million. All of these items will have to be secured to ensure the safety of their data. Between 2014 and 2024, this field is predicted grow 18%, which is much higher than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureu of Labour Statsistics.

Salary: $41- 97K, median $65K

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In our next bog post, we will explore the topic of system security with a professor with expertise in this area.


Topics: Skills, Job Search, Cybersecurity