Internet security is of chief concern not only for webmasters, but increasingly, for everyday users. An alarming statewide study highlighted by the Identity Theft Resource Center indicates data breaches are on the rise. A surprising statsitic from the study showed that 14,207,346 credit card numbers were exposed in 2017 — an increase of 88 percent over 2016 figures. Additionally, eight times more Social Security Numbers were exposed in 2017 than in 2016.
While the Facebook breach involving Cambridge Analytica is among the best known and most alarming, internet breaches are now part of daily life for users — but they don't have to be. Information security professionals are on the front line, learning as much as they can about breaches and data mining practices. They’re working hard to develop the defenses that users so desperately need. Read on to learn more about information security and its impressive job market:
What is Information Security?
Often referred to as InfoSec, information security refers to the vast range of administrative, technical, and physical processes used to safeguard sensitive electronic information.
Today's information security professionals seek to promote and maintain a concept they refer to as the CIA triad:
- Confidentiality. Internet users should always feel that their information is secure. Only authorized users should receive access to sensitive data.
- Integrity. Data must remain accurate and trustworthy, even in transit. Access controls, file permissions, and other measures prevent accidental deletions and other issues that may alter or eliminate data.
- Availability. Data should consistently be available when users need it. Availability can be optimized through regular maintenance and software patching, when necessary.
What Do Information Security Analysts Do?
While cybersecurity increasingly plays a role in a diverse array of professional positions, its front line remains a workforce primarily made up of information security analysts.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security analysts earn a median annual income of $95,510 and enjoy a job outlook of 28 percent. Their duties include:
- Monitoring networks for security breaches.
- Installing data encryption and other programs to safeguard sensitive information.
- Simulating attacks to find vulnerabilities in security infrastructure.
- Developing and implementing security best practices.
- Assisting internet users as they install security programs or employ other protective measures.
Duties change rapidly in accordance to new security breaches and threats. Internet security analysts research extensively to remain at the forefront of technological progress.
The Information Security Job Market: Handling Employee Shortages
On the hunt for a profession in which you're guaranteed to find a job immediately? Opportunities abound in the field of information security, which boasts an astounding unemployment rate of zero. How is this even possible?
Prominent computer programmer John McAfee claims that there are simply not enough viable employee candidates for the many jobs available. Currently, two job openings exist for every one qualified candidate.
Growth in information security has not yet managed to keep up with the field's staggering demand. Experts at Cybersecurity Ventures anticipate a global shortage of 3.5 million internet security professionals by 2021.
In the next few years, information security jobs will emerge at every level, including upper management. Currently, 65 percent of large United States companies offer positions such as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). This represents a rapid rise in upper-level internet security jobs; in 2016, just 50 percent of large companies offered this type of position.
Finding suitably trained professionals for upper-level positions can prove tricky. While job candidates can often find cybersecurity analysis work with a bachelor's degree, the potential for moving into management is far greater with graduate-level education.
Preparing For an Information Security Career
The internet security field is in desperate need of workers with technical skill and a thirst for knowledge. Job candidates should be highly adaptable; new security threats emerge regularly, and revolutionary approaches may be needed to address challenges that don't yet exist.
The first step to success: pursuing advanced coursework in internet security. An Master of Business Administration in Information Security and Assurance can deliver the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to succeed in a rapidly-changing field.
In an age of constant data breaches, the need for skilled information security professionals is greater than ever before. This could be your opportunity to check off all of your career goals: lucrative, satisfying work that makes a difference in the lives of others.