Information Security Analyst Interview Questions

68 Information Security Analyst Questions and Answers by on October 1st, 2020

William Swansen has worked in the employment assistance realm since 2007. He is an author, job search strategist, and career advisor who helps individuals worldwide and in various professions to find their ideal careers.

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What are the differences between encoding, encrypting, and hashing?

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All 68 Information Security Analyst Interview Questions

  1. Information Security Analyst Interview Questions


    What are the differences between encoding, encrypting, and hashing?

  2. 2.

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

  3. 3.

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

  4. 4.

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

  5. 5.

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

  6. 6.

    Can you discuss the differences between a threat and a vulnerability?

  7. 7.

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

  8. 8.

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

  9. 9.

    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?

  10. 10.

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

  11. 11.

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

  12. 12.

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

  13. 13.

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

  14. 14.

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

  15. 15.

    What is traceroute, and how is it used?

  16. 16.

    What are UDP and TCP, and how do they differ?

  17. 17.

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

  18. 18.

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

  19. 19.

    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.

  20. 20.

    How do you keep current on new security threats?

  21. 21.

    Is anything online safe?

  22. 22.

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

  23. 23.

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

  24. 24.

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

  25. 25.

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

  26. Cybersecurity Engineer Interview Questions


    What are some ways to prevent identity theft that you recommend?

  27. 27.

    What are the differences between black hat, white hat, and grey hat hackers?

  28. 28.

    What is a MITM attack, and what are some techniques you can use to prevent it?

  29. 29.

    What is Cryptography, and what are some common practices used in this discipline?

  30. 30.

    Can you explain the difference between Symmetric and Asymmetric Encryption?

  31. 31.

    What are IDS and IPS, and how do they differ?

  32. 32.

    In the field of cybersecurity, what does 'CIA' stand for, and what are some of its characteristics?

  33. 33.

    Please define a firewall and describe how it is used.

  34. 34.

    What are the differences between vulnerability assessment and penetration testing?

  35. 35.

    How is a three-way handshake used to secure network communications?

  36. 36.

    How is traceroute used in the practice of cybersecurity?

  37. 37.

    What are the two main types of intrusion detection systems, and how do they differ from each other?

  38. 38.

    Can you walk me through the steps used to set up a firewall?

  39. 39.

    What is SSL encryption, and how does it differ from TLS encryption?

  40. 40.

    What four common techniques are employed when using SSL protocol to secure a server?

  41. 41.

    How does data leakage occur, and how can it be prevented?

  42. 42.

    Can you describe what a brute force attack is and steps you can take to prevent it?

  43. 43.

    Please define port scanning and describe some of the common techniques used when performing it.

  44. 44.

    Describe the OSI model and each of its layers.

  45. 45.

    What is a VPN, and how is it used to secure a network?

  46. Network Security Interview Questions


    As I understand it, the network is the most vulnerable part of a company's IT infrastructure. What is your opinion of this and how would you define the threat and risk to a company in terms of network security?

  47. 47.

    Many of our clients have been subject to repeated attempts to access their network from unauthorized sources. One type of attack we often see is brute force logins. How do you recommend they defend against this type of attack?

  48. 48.

    Although you are not an experienced network administrator, you should be fluent in the terminology used in our industry. Can you explain to me the difference between symmetric and asymmetric encryption and the benefits of each one?

  49. 49.

    We recently had a situation occur where a security problem occurred on our network and the person who detected it wasn't directly responsible for resolving it, even though they had the skills to do so. How would you have handled this situation?

  50. 50.

    Why should I hire you from the outside when I could promote someone from within?

  51. 51.

    What motivated you to enter the field of Network Security?

  52. 52.

    Why are you looking to change jobs?

  53. 53.

    How do you determine if a Network Security project has been successful? How do you measure up to your own definition?

  54. 54.

    What do you consider the greatest obstacle you've had to overcome as a Network Security Professional thus far? What steps did you take to overcome it?

  55. 55.

    What do you see as the primary business objective of someone in this position?

  56. 56.

    Describe a situation in which you embraced a new system, process, technology, or idea at work that was a major departure from the old way of doing things.

  57. 57.

    What are the three things that are most important to you in a job?

  58. 58.

    Tell me about a project that you planned. How did you organize and schedule the tasks?

  59. 59.

    Tell me about a time when you had to juggle several projects at the same time. How did you organize your time? What was the result?

  60. 60.

    The three key components of network security are securing the network infrastructure, user policies, and physical access. You've addressed how to secure the network infrastructure, so how do you address the other two challenges?

  61. 61.

    Give me an example of your analytical skills and how you apply them in the field of network security.

  62. 62.

    Can you discuss the key features of a Class 1 Firewall?

  63. 63.

    What's the most difficult part of being a Network Security Manager?

  64. 64.

    Are you familiar with the concept of 'Unified Threat Management' and can you describe it?

  65. 65.

    What would you do if a fellow manager on your own level wasn't pulling their weight and this was hurting your department?

  66. 66.

    What immediate changes would you make if you came on board?

  67. 67.

    Describe a situation in which you embraced a new system, process, technology, or idea at work that was a major departure from the old way of doing things.

  68. 68.

    Since you are interviewing for a position in which you will make recommendations to customers about protecting their company's network, I'm curious about what you do to protect your own network at home.

Information Security Analyst Position Summary

Virtually every organization is heavily dependent on its information assets. Protecting these assets and ensuring their security and confidentiality is a major concern of every organization. This is becoming more challenging in the face of escalating security threats and more sophisticated forms of attacks. Information Security Analysts perform a critical role in protecting the organization's IT assets and keeping them up and running.

As an Information Security Analyst, you will create and implement IT security strategies to defend the organization's information assets from cyber-attacks. You will also help develop best practices for IT security and help establish and maintain security standards. You will monitor IT hardware, software and computer networks for security issues, install security software, and document any security issues or breaches that occur.

The security analyst plays a vital role in keeping an organization's proprietary and sensitive information secure. They work across the organization to identify and resolve issues in the company's security systems, solutions, and programs. They also recommend specific measures that can improve the company's overall security position.

Information Security Analysts also generate reports for other IT administrators and department managers to evaluate security practices' efficacy. They help make the necessary changes for a more secure IT environment and may also create training programs to educate employees and customers about proper security procedures. Information Security Analysts are responsible for ensuring the company's security systems are up to date and maintaining documentation and planning for all security-related information, including incident response, backups and disaster recovery plans.

The most successful Information Security Analysts are organized, detail-oriented and have an analytical mindset. Interpersonal skills are also crucial; analysts need to collaborate across the organization, educate company staff on better security protocols and regularly communicate with executive leadership.

Information Security Analysts are in high demand, and there are a wide variety of jobs available across various industries and organizations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Information Security Analyst jobs are expected to grow by over 31% between 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Information Security Analyst Duties and Responsibilities

Information Security Analysts are responsible for ensuring that the company's digital assets are protected from unauthorized access. This includes securing both cloud-based and on-premise infrastructures, weeding through reports and data to identify suspicious activity, and identifying and resolving risks before attacks occur. If a breach does occur, security analysts are on the front line, leading efforts to counter the attack.

Other duties and responsibilities of an Information Security Analyst's role include:

  • Design, analyze and implement effective IT security systems
  • Install security measures and threat-prevention software
  • Install and upgrade antivirus software
  • Upgrade systems to support security software
  • Analyze the organization's IT requirements and make recommendations regarding IT security measures
  • Test and evaluate new security technologies
  • Perform regular penetration testing, working with the security team to uncover network vulnerabilities
  • Gather feedback from end-users and other stakeholders to continue to improve systems
  • Monitor computer networks for security issues
  • Investigate security attacks and other cybersecurity-related incidents
  • Install other security measures, including firewalls and data encryption programs
  • Document security breaches and assess the damage they cause
  • Train colleagues about security practices so they understand the importance of information security
  • Stay up to date on IT security trends and news.

Information Security Analyst Qualifications

Information Security Analysts usually need at least Bachelor's Degree in majors including computer science, mathematics, project leadership, information security or computer information systems. It is recommended that Information Security Analysts also complete internships to get practical training while still in school. Information Security Analysts who aspire to management roles are advised to obtain a Master's in Business Administration or a technology-related discipline.

An ideal candidate will have a minimum of 3 years of experience in information security. They need to be proficient with MAC, UNIX and other Operating Systems with experience in threat assessment and techniques for installing security software and documenting security issues.

Other Qualifications for an Information Security Analyst's role include:

  • BS in Information Systems, MBA preferred
  • Ability to identify and mitigate network vulnerabilities
  • Knowledge of patch management with experience deploying patches and understanding the business impact
  • Understanding of firewalls, proxies, SIEM, antivirus, and IDPS concepts
  • Experienced in installing security software and documenting security issues
  • Experience with computer network penetration testing and techniques
  • Ability to identify and mitigate cyber threats and explain how to avoid them.

Soft Skills

In addition to the hard skills directly related to the work an Information Security Analyst performs, they will likely be asked about several soft skills during an interview. Examples of these are:

  • Strong analytical and reasoning skills and the ability to picture processes and their outcomes
  • A knack for solving problems and developing solutions to complex issues
  • The ability to work collaboratively across the organization
  • Strong oral and written communication skills

Information Security Analyst Interview Process

When preparing for an interview as an Information Security Analyst, you can anticipate that the interview will occur in 3 Phases:

  • Screening
  • Phone or Video Interview
  • Onsite Interview

Each of these may involve various types of questions and some hands-on exercises.

Screening in Response to a Referral or Online Application

The initial screening is used to validate your resume and learn more about your experience, skills and background. You may also be asked about your salary expectations, availability and other employment-related issues. Finally, they will discuss the next step in the process and offer to answer any questions you may have. This takes about 15-30 minutes.

Technical Phone or Video Interview

The next step in the process is a phone or video interview. This will be more in-depth than the initial screening and explores your qualifications more extensively. This part of the interview will include several different types of questions. These include general, technical, and operational. The purpose of these questions is to explore your IT security-related skills and experience in more detail. You may also be asked to solve a general security or specific threat management challenge, either in real-time or as a take-home exercise. Usually, the interviewer will allow you to do the exercise using procedures and tools you are comfortable working with. The phone or video interview will take from 1-2 hours, depending on whether there is a live security threat exercise.

Onsite Interview

The onsite interview is the last phase of the interview process. This involves meeting with one or more contacts from different parts of the prospective organization. The people you interview with may include HR representatives, the Hiring Manager, Managers from other departments such as Quality, Product, Operations, Finance, and Sales, and possibly other Information Security Analysts or members of the team you will be working on. Onsite interviews can last from a few hours to over several days, depending on the organization and the specific job you are interviewing for. You are likely to be asked a wide range of questions from every category. These include:

  • General - Meant to get to know you, start you talking, learn more about your background and collect information to use throughout the rest of the interview.
  • Technical - These questions explore your technical skills, knowledge and expertise. They ask about terminology, concepts, processes, and other IT security-related issues.
  • Operational - Operational questions investigate how you perform your job and go about managing information security threats. They ask you to describe the steps you take to complete a task or to walk the interviewer through the processes you use in your jo
  • Behavioral - Behavioral questions seek to understand how you react to specific situations such as conflict, challenges, change and similar occurrences on the job site. They do this by asking about your past experiences with these types of situations and t
  • Situational - Situational questions are similar to behavioral ones, except they create future scenarios to discover your methods for resolving issues. This requires you to project what you would do when confronted with a situation described by the intervi
  • Cultural- These questions help the interviewer determine how well you will fit into the organization and contribute to its culture or conflict with it. Questions will explore your work style, preferences, ability to collaborate and other personal traits.

Being prepared for these types of questions and practicing your responses before the interview will help you to be ready to respond to them during the onsite phase of the interview process.

The interview typically concludes with either an immediate job offer or a brief description of how the overall interview process is being conducted and when you can expect to hear about the organization's decision. Additional steps in the process may include asking you to provide references the employer can contact or participating in online or live tests to determine your personality type, such as Myers-Briggs.