Almost all business transactions are conducted using the internet and electronic data. Because of this increased activity, the need for information assurance and security was born. Information assurance is the discipline of protecting created, processed, stored, and transmitted data. Information assurance relates closely to information security and uses electronic and physical means to protect data integrity. Information assurance specialists help find vulnerabilities in complex computer systems and generate ways to eliminate these system weaknesses. Although the focus is on protection of data found in digital formats, information assurance specialists also work to help companies secure data still available in physical formats.
The Attraction of A Distance Learning Information Assurance Degree
Because the demand for information assurance has increased across all industries, the degree specialty is one of the most popular within the information technology career field. Those wishing to obtain a degree in information assurance have a variety of options available to them in today’s competitive education and training environment. One may get an information assurance degree through a traditional class room setting, a distance learning venue, or a hybrid program that combines the best of both formats. Many people discover a passion for information assurance while working in the information technology career field. The flexibility that distance learning offers to these working professionals makes it an attractive option.
To become a cyber detective, one must take a host of computer related courses as part of a rigorous information assurance degree program. Most courses taken relate to computer hardware and networks and include hardware systems support, network systems and security, and router technology. These courses result in information technology professionals learning back-up and recovery techniques, network device security, network protocols and topologies, and router operations. Other courses taken relate to software programming, operating systems, web development, and database systems. An information technology professional will master JAVA programming and other techniques used for web development, various operating systems and related security issues, and generating secure database programs.
Professional Societies For Information Assurance
One of the most popular professional societies associated with Information Assurance is the College of Information Assurance Professionals (CIAP). This group seeks to bring together information assurance professionals through a community collaboration portal that shares common issues, techniques, a technical periodical, and lessons learned about the career field. CIAP also provides a career center for its members that offers posting of resumes and job opportunities.
American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) is an international professional organization that promotes security across all industries worldwide. The organization boasts over 30,000 global members. They are known for sponsoring educational events that focus on all levels of industrial security; these events provide prime networking opportunities for attending members. ASIS also publishes a periodical magazine called Security Management.
Other professional associations created to enhance the field of information assurance and cyber security are the High Technology Crime Investigation Association, Center for Secure Information Systems,and Applied Computer Security Associates.
Information Assurance Careers
It has become a common occurrence for the public to hear about hackers breaching computer network systems and making off with critical financial or personal data. It just highlights the fact that every business that uses computers, computer networks, or handles data potentially needs information technology professionals who possess information assurance and cyber security skills. Some industries such as those involving national defense, medical record keeping, and financial data require a higher level of security than others.
Many information assurance professionals find employment within the public sector. Particularly, the Department of Defense (DoD) heavily recruits these professionals to help build security into their computer networks’ design and detect weaknesses in current networks. Information assurance professionals are employed as defense contractors and government civilians by the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigations, and Defense Information Security Agency.
Two growth sectors for information assurance professionals are the healthcare and financial sectors. Tougher regulations about patient privacy as well as the push to transfer physical health records into digital formats have increased the need for the computer network safeguards created information assurance professionals. Additionally, information assurance professionals often work within the financial sector to help prevent white-collar financial crimes.