Corporations and government agencies need to keep their data safe, but in order to do so, they first need the professionals who can help assess and mitigate risks. Information assurance specialists act as a security umbrella, keeping information systems safe via risk management, ensuring information authenticity, and establishing company procedures and policies.
Every computer, smartphone, tablet and device that can be used to transmit data has made it easier to connect on a global scale, but it has also introduced a greater number of security threats. As a result, the demand for certified information assurance specialists continues to grow. For those interested in more advanced information assurance training, here are some things to consider:
Information Assurance Training Prepares Students for a Rapidly Growing Industry
Information assurance and information security are among the fastest growing computer technology fields today, and each industry features a wide variety of possible job roles. Typical role titles for both industries include: information security analyst, computer security specialist, computer and information systems manager, and chief information security officer (CISO). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects an 18 percent growth in information security analyst positions from 2014 to 2024, which is considered much faster than average.
Information Assurance vs. Information Security
Students who pursue training in information assurance will find that it’s similar to information security, but there are specific differences. Information security emphasizes the technology used to protect data, including applications such as firewalls, antivirus programs, VPNs, etc. Information assurance professionals focus on the wider spectrum of information protection, rather than solely the technological aspect. Specialists in information assurance will analyze the overall risk of technology in an organization, taking preemptive measures to prevent security hacks. Information assurance trainees can expect to learn how to ensure the authenticity, confidentiality and integrity of data through audits and computer system restoration.
Learning Information Assurance Can Start in High School or Earlier
High school students interested in computers, mathematics and problem-solving are a great fit for a role in information assurance. Students who know that they’d like to pursue a computer-related degree after graduation will benefit from taking as many classes as possible in subjects such as algebra, calculus, computer technology and statistics. Advanced Placement courses, as well as high scores on the SATs or ACTs, will help put students on the fast-track to earning a computer security degree with a concentration in information assurance.
Information Assurance Training Opens the Door to Government Jobs
Federal and state government agencies need to protect financial data, military intelligence and other sensitive information, making information assurance essential to prevent security breaches. Agencies including the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security rely on information assurance professionals to identify, analyze and mitigate risks; recognize incompatibilities in information systems; and implement organizational procedures to reduce threats.
Unique Courses for Information Assurance Training
Based on current industry demands, formal education in information assurance is favored by employers. Jobs typically require knowledge that extends beyond a computer science degree, and universities that offer information assurance degree programs provide the courses necessary to excel in the field. Unique courses in cryptography, data structure, project management and network security offer hands-on experience for students to prepare them to handle real-world situations. These courses offer best practices and strategies to teach students how to develop system defenses, evaluate and analyze existing information systems, and find solutions to address weaknesses.
Computer systems play a huge role in almost every aspect of our lives today, from transportation to finances. The rapid expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) — and the amount of data that needs to be stored and protected on a daily basis — increases the threat of viruses, hacks and sensitive information leaks. Advanced training in information assurance equips specialists with the knowledge necessary to reduce and prevent these security breaches.