Information technology has revolutionized the way we conduct trade, exchange information, socialize, strategize, advertise, and more. However, a growing reliance on information technology presents its own problems; a single breach in a computing system could lead to the destruction and dissemination of sensitive information, to entire enterprises and systems coming to a standstill, to losses of billions of dollars, and could even jeopardize human lives. President Obama’s 2009 state of the union address discussed the various instances where information technology systems were compromised between 2008 and 2010, and how this affected society; in just two years, America suffered a loss of $8 million due to cyber crime, a single employee was charged with the theft of $400 million worth of intellectual property, and several thousand U.S. military computers were infected by spyware. There is a pressing need for qualified, skilled information systems security professionals; as noted by President Obama in the same speech: “America’s economic prosperity in the twenty-first century will depend on cyber security.” *
Almost all organizations-from private business to multinational corporations, government organizations, banks, insurance agencies, and more-require information systems security professionals. There are various information systems security careers; some of the most popular ones are listed below.
- Ethical Hacker: This may seem like an oxymoron, but an ethical hacker plays a vital role in information safety and security: an ethical hacker puts herself in a hacker’s shoes and analyzes if and how a hacker would infiltrate the organization’s information systems. She then devises ways to increase information systems security and protect the system from being hacked.
- Computer Forensic Investigator: Computer forensic experts use digital media data to detect crime and apprehend criminals. They are often lauded for apprehending child molesters and drug traffickers.
- Information Systems Security Manager: An information systems security manager secures networks, implements policies, helps in the development of security protocol, and conducts regular security appraisals and recovery efforts.
- Networking and Network Security Professional: These are the people who take measures to protect their organization’s electronic security by monitoring networks, installing software, and educating employees about security risks and measures.
As an information technology security professional, you will need to stay up to date with current developments in technology, spyware, cyber-crime, and anything else pertaining to computing systems. Moreover, you should have a thorough understanding of your organization’s affairs, so that you can track their systems, protect sensitive information, identify potential security threats, and take preventive and remedial action. Also, most information systems security professionals have a Bachelor’s of Computer Science, preferably with an Information Systems Security emphasis. An information systems security emphasis generally covers the areas of databases, programming, web design, networking, server administration, etc., and often also provides instruction in subjects such as ethical hacking, computer forensics, cryptography, and information security management.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics ** the median salary for systems security consultants is $62,000, and according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers,*** those who have a Bachelor’s of Computer Science make $63,017 on an average. The added advantage of a Systems Security emphasis could increase your potential for being successful in your information technology career.
A career in information systems security could be ideal for those who have a keen interest in computing systems and sharp deductive skills. Candidates should be willing to invest time, money, and effort into gaining the necessary career education that can help them develop the credentials, skills, expertise, and knowledge to perform their roles with aplomb. Computer science can be an intellectually and professionally fulfilling career, so if you possess the aforementioned qualities, then this might just be the right career for you.