Information security is a growing industry which covers many different specialties. Information security is a primary concern for nearly every business, as maintaining the protection and integrity of their information is critical.
What is Information Security?
According to SANS.org (a leading technology company), information security “refers to the processes and methodologies which are designed and implemented to protect print, electronic, or any other form of confidential, private and sensitive information or data from unauthorized access, use, misuse, disclosure, destruction, modification, or disruption.” This will include both hardware and software technologies.
Simply stated, information security is the protection of any business’ or organization’s data.
What Careers exist in Information Security?
The field of information security is wide; there are many different, yet coordinated, roles to fill. Job titles include (but are not limited to): Security Engineer, Security Manager, Security Director, Security Architect and, at the top of the ladder, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). Opportunities in the field of information security exist in virtually every business or organization that maintains computerized data storage and access. Among the potential employers for degree-holding candidates are government, financial institutions, insurance companies, healthcare organizations, schools and technology consultant firms (to name a few). These jobs can be lucrative, as mid-range and upper salaries can be well into six figures.
What Degree Programs are available in Information Security?
Degrees in information security will be within the Information Technology category. Examples of Bachelor’s Degrees include: BS in Information Technology, BS in Information Technology: Enterprise Security and BS in Information Technology: Security and Forensics. Other programs include BS in Security and Risk-Analysis, BS in Business Administration in Information Security and Assurance and BS in Cyber-Security and Information Assurance. Programs generally include the key words Security, Risk and/or Assurance.
Post-graduate degree programs are available for those who wish to further their studies and advance in their careers. There are also Professional Certifications programs designed to continue the learning process for established professionals.
Is Financial Aid Available for these Degrees?
The short answers is “yes.” Federal financial aid is available in addition to school specific aid programs. We encourage you to shop around at schools and speak with their admissions counselors. Since Information Technology is a significant department in most colleges and universities and a growing one where it is not, schools are going to be offering aid packages to encourage students to enroll in their particular program.
Is there specific Accreditation for Information Security Degree programs?
In the world of cyber technology and security, the two most popular accrediting organizations are ABET, a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) program which is a program sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
How can I find a Reputable School for Information Security Degrees?
The best way to find a program that is right for you is to do your research! There are many resources available to gather data about information security degree programs; and there are several factors for the prospective student to consider. These factors include program/school accreditation, duration of the program, financial aid, employment placement assistance programs and net cost. This is certainly not an exhaustive list of criteria; it is included to help the student to make the best choice for their specific situation. As a wide field, the opportunities for success are great, as is the need for capable, competent graduates!