What Is Data Security?

Advances in computer technology have given organizations effective ways to monitor operations and keep members connected, but these advantages have not been without risk. As a data security professional, you ensure that data sent over networks is secure from theft, misuse or loss. Schools offering Computer Forensics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Data Security Defined

When computers are connected, whether via an organization's intranet or through the Internet, data could be stolen in transit or maliciously corrupted. Data security professionals work for businesses to minimize the risk of theft and misuse of data. Because of the sensitive nature of some types of data, such as banking information, and the vulnerability of this data to sophisticated attacks, data security is taken seriously by most organizations.

Important Facts About Information Security Analysts

Median Salary (2014) $88,890 per year
Entry-level Education Bachelor's degree
On-the-Job Training None; previous work experience required
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 18% growth
Work Environment Office settings often in information technology (IT) departments

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

A number of computer professionals put data security to work in their jobs. Computer security specialists, for example, prevent cyber attacks on businesses and instruct users in security methods. Management information systems or information technology directors are also involved in data security; they create data security plans and manage the computer professionals who execute these plans. You might also find work as a network or systems administrator, positions that also involve data security.

Typical Job Duties

As a data security professional, you may install software that encrypts data as it's sent, create regulations so that only approved personnel have access to data, generate backups to ensure that data isn't lost in the event of an accident or attack and use irreversible methods of erasing data from hardware so that it cannot be recovered by new users. If you'd like to work in data security, you need an analytical mind to solve data loss problems and to design methods for preventing future breaches or incidents.

Undergraduate Programs

If you'd like to enter the field of data security, you might consider earning a bachelor's degree in information technology (IT), management information systems (MIS) or cybercrime, which is also called cyber security or information assurance. In IT or MIS degree programs, you take courses relating to both computer science and business, while cyber security programs focus on criminal justice, network security and forensics. Some computer-centered majors also offer a minor in data security.

Graduate Programs

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that to obtain management positions, computer professionals - especially management information systems or information technology directors - might need to obtain postgraduate education (www.bls.gov). Master's degree programs are available in most computer-related fields, including IT, MIS and cyber security.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • Strayer University

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    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
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  • Colorado Christian University

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  • Full Sail University

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    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

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    • Florida: Winter Park
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