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Information Security in a Chaotic World

Picture of lock within information on the internet.

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 12:21pm

Cyber security is non-negotiable in today's chaotic environment. Even companies with well-developed security protocols are at risk, as evidenced by breaches at Yahoo! and even the St. Louis Public Library. Information security should be built into the very fabric of IT, yet, it’s surprisingly neglected among government entities and large corporations alike. Major hacks have caused many of these organizations to sit up and take notice, however, clamoring for the best and the brightest in the growing field of information security. Below we will discuss roles, areas of employment and salary for these professionals.

The Need For Innovation in Information Security
Hackers are undeniably resourceful; even the best can defeat seemingly robust security systems. Unfortunately, when a large-scale breach occurs, the response is often misguided protocol that fails to address the constant development of new threats. Cyber security systems should not merely react to threats, but rather, identify and eradicate them well in advance. Embedded files and macros are no longer the chief source of danger; sophisticated hackers are now adept at changing the underlying structure of PDF and Word documents. When opened, these compromised documents can trigger devastating ripple effects. This is just one of several new threats on the horizon, and unfortunately, the security field has yet to develop a satisfactory response to these concerns. There is promise however, with IT departments hiring Information Security Specialists.

The Role of Information Security Analysts
There is a real need for highly-trained Information Security Specialists, capable of preventing security risks and responding to breaches promptly so as to minimize damage. Information Security Analysts are highly adaptable -- they understand that the field is constantly evolving and that they must always be up to date on new risks and new means of blocking security threats. Thinking outside of the box is a must for these information security specialists. Some typical job duties for Information Security Analysts include the following:

  • Monitor systems for major security breaches
  • Investigate security breaches as they occur
  • Use data encryption and firewalls to protect information
  • Simulate attacks and responses via penetration testing
  • Recommend security improvements to IT staff members
  • Assist everyday computer users as they implement new security measures

As new tools and techniques emerge, Information Security Analysts should expect the range of associated roles to expand. They should also anticipate being heavily involved in the development of new approaches to cyber security.

Information Security Analysts work in a variety of environments, including federal and state government entities, health care organizations, and financial systems, among others. Many information security specialists’ work on a freelance or contract basis, while others are employed in-house.

The field is quickly growing, with the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a growth rate of 18% between 2014 and 2024. This is significantly greater than the predicted growth rate of just 7% across all industries and job titles. Income potential is also promising for Information Security Analysts, who earn median annual wages of $90,120.

Information security is a high-demand field, and for good reason -- IT is quickly becoming the biggest security risk of our time. Only a population of highly-skilled and creative Information Security Analysts can effectively address growing security threats. As this once niche field takes center stage, the focus will transition from reaction to proactive defense making the virtual sphere safer and more secure. If you are interested in starting a career or expanding your knowledge with a master’s level program in Information Systems Security, visit University of the Cumberlands for more information about one of our online programs or call us at 833-958-0560.