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Information Security Analyst Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your Information Security Analyst interview, here are 25 interview questions and answer examples.

Information Security Analyst was written by and updated on October 1st, 2020. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 25

Describe a time when you made a suggestion to improve the work in your organization.

How to Answer

When employers interview candidates, they're looking for somebody who can help them make money, save money, or save time. Being able to describe a situation in which you made a recommendation to improve the workflow of the organization will help you stand out amongst the other candidates. This doesn't necessarily have to be a large improvement. It can involve something minor but which helped you or other people do their jobs better. Continuous improvement as a priority with most organizations, and your ability to demonstrate experience in this area will help you during the interview.

Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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25 Information Security Analyst Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1. Describe a time when you made a suggestion to improve the work in your organization.

      How to Answer

      When employers interview candidates, they're looking for somebody who can help them make money, save money, or save time. Being able to describe a situation in which you made a recommendation to improve the workflow of the organization will help you stand out amongst the other candidates. This doesn't necessarily have to be a large improvement. It can involve something minor but which helped you or other people do their jobs better. Continuous improvement as a priority with most organizations, and your ability to demonstrate experience in this area will help you during the interview.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

      1st Answer Example

      "I am always looking for opportunities to reduce costs, save time, or improve processes. I recently noticed that my team was documenting their activities both in writing and with emails. This didn't make sense since very few people ever read the written reports. I created report templates which the team could use online to document their work. This not only eliminated the redundancy but allowed the team to complete the forms while waiting for other processes to run, thereby reducing the overall time to complete this task."

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

  • 2. Can you discuss the differences between a threat and a vulnerability?

      How to Answer

      Yet another technical question. While these may not seem like technical terms, used in the context of the information security analyst interview, they are. It is not uncommon for a technical question to ask you to compare two different terms. Technical questions can also ask you to define a single term. Keep in mind that you need to answer technical questions directly and briefly. You should anticipate follow-up questions.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

      1st Answer Example

      "While these two terms may seem similar, there are subtle differences between them. A vulnerability defines a weakness in the organization's IT infrastructure, which can be exploited by malicious individuals. Vulnerabilities may sit dormant for long periods and go undetected until hackers use them to gain access to the network and the data contained within it. Threats, on the other hand, are active issues or incidents which are in the process of attacking an organization or working to gain access. Vulnerabilities can be addressed by constantly monitoring the network to identify them, and then addressing them with patches, software upgrades or other methods. Threats can only be resolved by creating defenses against them. This requires constant monitoring, awareness, and active remediation or the development of protections."

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

      Community Answer

      "A vulnerability is a weakness or hole which can be exploited by malicious threat actors. A threat is an exploit or malware that can enter through a vulnerability."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great knowledge, but I suggest providing a specific example of how this might show up in your work.

  • 3. What is your position regarding DNS monitoring? Do you feel it is important, and if so, why?

      How to Answer

      At first glance, you may believe that this is a technical question. However, if you reread the question, it asks for your opinion, not a definition or explanation. By framing the question in this manner, the interviewer is assuming you know what DNS monitoring means. This may indicate that they are considering eliminating this process from their current operations. As the interview progresses, you will gain additional insight into the organization's processes, procedures, and operations. You should already know quite a bit about this based on the research you did prior to the interview. Any time you answer a question, you should align it with the needs of the organization. This better qualifies you for the position for which you are interviewing.

      Foxample: "In my opinion, DNS monitoring is critically important. While I've heard counterpoints to this position, they are typically based on the assumption that DNS monitoring indicates that domain naming services are weak. However, the monitoring requires few resources and ensures that users can access any resource available on the Internet easily. It also reduces the vulnerability of data passing through port number 53 and ensures unauthorized users do not have access to the organization's network."

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

      1st Answer Example

      "In my opinion, DNS monitoring is critically important. While I've heard counterpoints to this position, they are typically based on the assumption that DNS monitoring indicates that domain naming services are weak. However, the monitoring requires few resources and ensures that users can access any resource available on the Internet easily. It also reduces the vulnerability of data passing through port number 53 and ensures unauthorized users do not have access to the organization's network."

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

  • 4. What are UDP and TCP, and how do they differ?

      How to Answer

      While interviewing for the role of an information security analyst, you are going to be asked multiple technical questions. You can easily prepare for this by reviewing the terminology, acronyms, and jargon used in this profession. Another way to prepare is to study these questions, reading both the question and the answer aloud. This trains your brain to be ready to answer the questions appropriately.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 5. Can you define symmetric and asymmetric encryption, and discuss their differences?

      How to Answer

      At this point, you can probably already recognize this as a technical question. This is obvious because it is both asking you for a definition and to discuss the differences in these terms and how they are used in your profession. Keep in mind that technical questions are best answered directly and briefly. The interviewer will ask you additional questions if they need more information or want to explore this topic in more detail. So be prepared for follow-up questions.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 6. Is it necessary to approach cybersecurity issues differently based on whether the IT resources are in the cloud or on-premises?

      How to Answer

      Organizations have the option to manage their IT resources on their own premises, at a site hosted by a third party, or using cloud resources, such as AWS or Azure. Cybersecurity issues will differ depending on the physical location and type of resources the organization uses. In some instances, the company will use all three of these, making the cybersecurity process even more complex. You should be able to address each one of these and briefly discuss how they differ and what measures you need to take based on the location of the resources and how they are accessed.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 7. When tasked with strengthening user authentication, what methods would you use to?

      How to Answer

      You probably already recognize this as an operational question. This is specifically asking you about the process you use to perform a task. As a reminder, operational questions should be answered directly and succinctly, and you should anticipate follow-up questions.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 8. What is traceroute, and how is it used?

      How to Answer

      Yet another technical question. As stated earlier, most of the questions you will be asked during an interview will be technical questions. The best way to prepare for these is to review the terminology, processes, and procedures you use as an information security analyst. You should also spend time practicing these questions, reading both the question and the answer out loud. You can then formulate your own answer to the question. The three keys to a successful interview include research, preparation, and practice.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 9. When preparing to transmit data, what would you do first, compress it, or encrypt it?

      How to Answer

      This is both a technical as well as a follow-up question. In your answer to the question 'What are the differences between encoding, encrypting, and hashing?', you discussed encryption. This technical question is asking a follow-up question about how you go about performing the encryption process. As discussed earlier, you should always anticipate follow-up questions once you've answered an inquiry from an interviewer. By keeping your previous answer brief and to the point, you encouraged the interviewer to explore this topic in more detail. Since you have expertise in this area, the questions should be easy for you to answer. This is also an example of how you can guide the interviewer through the interview.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 10. What are the differences between encoding, encrypting, and hashing?

      How to Answer

      This is an example of a technical question. Technical questions ask you to define a term and then explain how it is used in your profession. As an information security analyst, you can anticipate that the majority of questions you will be asked during an interview will be operational or technical. Like operational questions, technical questions should be answered briefly and directly. You should anticipate follow-up questions any time you provide an answer.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 11. What methods do you use to confirm that a server is secure?

      How to Answer

      This is an example of an operational question. Interviewers ask operational questions to determine how you go about doing your job. When answering an operational question, you should be brief and to the point. The interviewer will ask you a follow-up question if they need additional information or want to explore the topic in more detail. Additionally, you can answer this question with information that aligns with the operations of the organization with which you are interviewing.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 12. What do you do in your spare time when you're not working on securing an organization's IT infrastructure?

      How to Answer

      An interviewer will ask this type of general question to discover some information about your background and better understand what you like to do and what your preferences are. This is normally asked early in the interview and will provide the interviewer with the information they can use throughout the interview. You can use this type of question to drive the interview towards an area with which you are comfortable and encourage them to ask you questions you can easily answer.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 13. What do you consider to be your professional strengths? Give me a specific example using this attribute in the workplace.

      How to Answer

      Many interviewers will ask about your strengths and weaknesses. This is an easy question to prepare for. You should anticipate being asked this in any interview you attend. Creating a list of 5 to 10 strengths and weaknesses related to your job will prepare you to respond to this question. The strengths should be relevant to the work you do and contribute to your success. The weaknesses, on the other hand, should not be job-related or should be easily overcome.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 14. Some people work best as part of a group - others prefer the role of individual contributor. How would you describe yourself?

      How to Answer

      The purpose of this question is to discover your collaboration skills. There are benefits to both working by yourself and functioning as a member of a team. You should be able to discuss both of these, their benefits, and challenges. You then complete your answer by describing which one you prefer and why you like to work in this manner.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 15. When you have been made aware of, or have discovered for yourself, a problem in your work performance, what was your course of action? Can you give an example?

      How to Answer

      Being self-aware of issues that impede your work performance and correcting them is a characteristic that employers look for in candidates they are interviewing. Many people become defensive when asked a question like this, claiming that they do not have any issues that impact their work. This is the wrong approach. Since the question asks for an example, you should discuss a minor issue that may have impacted your performance and how you resolved it. Ideally, the issue should not be relevant to the position for which you are interviewing.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 16. What sorts of things have you done to become better qualified for your career?

      How to Answer

      Employers are looking to hire people, not for the job they are qualified for, but rather the one they can become qualified for. This requires that the candidate of a plan for continuing education and constant improvement. You should have such a plan in place and be able to describe it in detail when asked.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 17. Tell me about an important goal that you set in the past. Were you successful?

      How to Answer

      By asking this question, the interviewer is collecting two pieces of information. The first is whether you are goal-oriented and are willing to set ambitious objectives. The second is whether you were able to achieve them and how you did it. While preparing for an interview, you should have a list of significant achievements you've made in past positions and a brief description of how you accomplished them. Successful interviews are a result of research, preparation, and practice.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 18. Have you ever met resistance when implementing a new idea or policy to a workgroup? How did you deal with it? What happened?

      How to Answer

      This question is similar to 'Tell me about a time when you and your previous supervisor disagreed, but you still found a way to get your point across.'. It is not unusual for interviewers to ask several questions about the same topic. This enables them to calibrate your answers to ensure that you are consistent throughout the interview. Answering truthfully and taking brief notes during the interview will help you achieve this. Practicing these questions also helps you to better prepare and be consistent throughout the interview.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 19. Tell me about a time when you and your previous supervisor disagreed, but you still found a way to get your point across.

      How to Answer

      This is another example of a behavioral question. As a reminder, behavioral questions ask you to respond to a situation that is likely to occur if you are hired for the position for which you are interviewing. Remember to use the STAR framework when answering behavioral questions. Keep your answers brief and to the point, and anticipate a follow-up question.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 20. What is the most competitive work situation you have experienced? How did you handle it? What was the result?

      How to Answer

      By asking this question, the interviewer seeks to understand the scope of the work you do and some of the more challenging situations you have encountered in your past jobs. Your answer to this question should align with the work the organization with whom you are interviewing does and the type of issues you may encounter in this role. You can discover this by researching the company and the job before the interview. Aligning all of your answers with the issues the company faces will help you to establish your qualifications for this job.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 21. Is anything online safe?

      How to Answer

      This is a general question that seeks your opinion about online security. While technology has provided the world with many advantages, these are accompanied by security issues and threats to the privacy of the information people share across the network. When answering this question, you should be realistic about the number of threats people are exposed to while operating online but also optimistic about the prospect of protecting individuals and organizations from the treats.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 22. How do you keep current on new security threats?

      How to Answer

      The information technology industry is fast-paced, with new developments occurring almost daily. Keeping track of the technology, products, solutions, and most importantly, the security threats is a daunting challenge. However, as an information security analyst, your job is to maintain current knowledge about all of these topics. You should have a specific strategy for doing this and be able to describe it to the interviewer.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 23. Can you think of a situation where innovation was required at work? What did you do in this situation?

      How to Answer

      This question is similar to 'Give an example of a problem that you faced on any job that you have had and tell me how you went about solving it.'. These types of questions are behavioral. They require you to discuss how you would react to a specific scenario the interviewer presents to you. Behavioral questions are best answered using the STAR framework. You state the Situation, describe the Task you needed to complete, discuss the Actions you took, and then talk about the results you achieved. Situational questions can address past actions or hypothetical situations that may occur if you are hired for this position.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 24. Give an example of a problem that you faced on any job that you have had and tell me how you went about solving it.

      How to Answer

      This is a follow-up to 'Have you ever had a situation where you had a number of alternatives to choose from? How did you go about choosing one?'. During an interview, you can anticipate that you will be asked follow-up questions once you have given them an answer. This indicates that they have an interest in the topic or want to explore it in more detail. If you're comfortable with the topic, you can encourage follow-up questions by keeping your answers brief and to the point.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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  • 25. Have you ever had a situation where you had a number of alternatives to choose from? How did you go about choosing one?

      How to Answer

      By asking this question, the interviewer is trying to determine your decision-making skills. Information security analysts are presented with a lot of data and must make quick and accurate decisions. Your ability to do this and have a reliable process to sort through data and choose the best course of action is critical. You should be able to describe the process and perhaps give an example of how you've applied it while doing your job.

      Written by William Swansen on October 1st, 2020

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