From malware infections to unauthorized access to private information, information system security threats come in many different forms. A rapid expansion of data over the past decade with all the laptops, smartphones and tablets has left organizations more vulnerable when it comes to protecting private business and personal information.
The more organizations rely on computer and information systems to store sensitive data, the more important the role of information assurance becomes. Information assurance experts take preemptive security measures to ensure that security threats are minimized, and if possible, eliminated. Using key strategy and analytical skills, information security professionals can identify possible weak points in information systems, and subsequently implement new procedures and policies to correct the weaknesses.
As data continues to grow larger and security threats loom, information assurance becomes an integral part of an organization’s security operations. Here are three reasons why the demand for more information security training will be huge in 2016 and beyond:
Identity theft protection
Identity theft has become a major concern with the rise of mobility. While banking online or making an ecommerce purchase, consumers transmit their most personal financial information with the click of a mouse.
The more consumers conduct financial transactions online, the more susceptible they become to identity theft from hackers. Information security expertise is in high demand to develop better security tactics, ensure the confidentiality and integrity of financial information, and make it nearly impossible for this information to be hacked or stolen.
Fill the skills gap
The demand for information security far exceeds the number of qualified professionals who can fill the roles, and employers are eager to fill the skills gap. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of information security analyst positions is expected to grow much faster than average, with an 18% increase from 2014 to 2024.
Data, as well as the systems used to store that data, grows daily at an alarming rate. Employers seek candidates who have strong analytical skills and problem-solving abilities, and can determine best security practices for a wide range of platforms, ranging from desktop computers to mobile devices. These experts also need to be able to quickly adapt to changing security demands.
Most employers seek candidates with an information assurance degree at the bachelor’s degree level, but many encourage more advanced education to acquire more experience and knowledge before entering the field.
The Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security are two of the U.S. government agencies that benefit most from information assurance. Military intelligence that winds up in the wrong hands may have dire consequences, so the demand for information assurance specialists remains high.
Information assurance experts in both departments work to monitor and assess government systems, and identify potential for malicious cyber attacks from foreign sources. Cyberattacks have become more sophisticated in recent years and require extensive counterintelligence strategies to prevent breaches.
If government systems are compromised, it could result in severe economic damage, exposure of extremely sensitive and confidential military intelligence, or even threaten human life. As a result, information security experts are needed to buffer attacks and mitigate the risks to prevent such a devastating loss.
Information assurance is a critical component to ensure the integrity, authenticity and confidentiality of an organization’s information system. The expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT), the explosion of data created daily, and the increase in the number of systems used to house data means that more information security experts are needed to help analyze, assess and make information system improvements where needed.
Regardless of the security measures that are implemented, there will always be loopholes; however, information assurance will be our best bet to keep systems as secure as possible moving forward.
As the director of admissions at Florida Polytechnic University, Lauren Willison is responsible for supporting the executive director of enrollment services and the associate director of admissions in managing recruitment efforts. She develops and coordinates on- and off-campus events, as well as manages the campus visit experience.