Security breaches headline the news regularly, not just foreign interference with our elections, but customer identities being stolen, and billions of dollars being lost all the time. Becoming part of the workforce that focuses on foiling these fiends is a very, very fulfilling world to find yourself in. Here’s what you can expect in an information security career, and how to get started moving along that path.
We could spend paragraphs talking about all the bad stuff that is happening with stolen and compromised data in huge businesses, government, and the world. But you have heard it all.
Let’s talk instead about how it would feel to be someone who puts a stop to it.
Your Career in Information Security
The world now runs on data. Former Google chairman Eric Schmidt estimated back in 2008 that in 2003 the world generated more data than it had since the beginning of time. Now it does so again every two years.
That’s a lot of data to manage and protect.
You see on your own computer how often the virus and other malware signatures are updated. Constantly. There are large teams of experts developing those signatures based on newly emergent threats every day. It’s their job simply to keep up. Others spend their time hunting for intruders who are seeking the weakest possible network to attack in the effort to stop them before they can.
If this kind of constant battle excites you, and really drives you, then consider pursuing a career in Information Security.
In such a position you will be responsible for safeguarding your organization’s most valuable assets, their data. Customer information, credit information, financial information, design and specifications, strategic business plans, and so much more. Losing any of it in a major breach could put an end to the company. It’s that critical. What does that tell us?
Yes, there’s a lot of responsibility. Yes, someone willing to take all that on is worth a whole lot of money.
What Do You Need to Learn
It’s actually far more than just technology. The great security experts can physically break into a building to compromise a server directly. They know how to silently scan company executives in the street to copy their HID card keys and other card-based data. They know how to seduce a user into giving up their passwords and other key information.
They also have a deep understanding of how networks work. They can describe each of the seven layers of the International Standards Organizations Open System Interconnect (ISO/OSI) model in great detail and know exactly which protocols operate in each. They are fully versed in Transport Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and how to use their knowledge to breach any network. They are truly “white hat hackers” who are constantly seeking to understand new ways that intruders might try to invade and exploit their networks.
The reason for describing some of this in detail is to point out that all of it is quantifiable. That is, you can go and learn all of this by taking courses at your New Horizons Computer Learning Center. There is no mystical magic about data and network security. It requires understanding how data moves through a network and knowing how to configure everything to maximize its resistance to unauthorized penetration.
Everyone has heard or read about Edward Snowden and others who have famously hacked large and important networks.
What you never hear about are the legions of untold heroes who work every day to protect their business or our country from further attack. We seldom hear about their successes, but their failures are legendary.
If you’re okay with that, and know you derive satisfaction from the valuable work of protecting the network and the data, talk to your New Horizons counselor about getting you started on the path to your career in Information Security.