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The Difference Between Information Security and Cybersecurity

The rapid expansion of processes that manage the flood of data generated by businesses’ internal and external transactions creates vulnerabilities for hackers to breach the systems, shut them down and steal or corrupt data.

Companies, therefore, place a premium on business professionals with advanced information security expertise to establish measures and policies for breach detection and prevention, incident response and recovery, risk assessment and legal and regulatory compliance.

Demand for information security managers will grow much faster than average career opportunities as businesses expect to add more than 82,000 positions by 2031. The average annual salary in 2021 for the position was $159,010, which is expected to continue rising as demand outpaces the supply of qualified candidates. On the other hand, estimated annual salaries for cybersecurity managers stand at $102,394.

The Responsibilities of Information Security Experts

Although information security (IS or InfoSec) and cybersecurity responsibilities overlap and the terms are often used interchangeably, the National Institute of Standards and Technology defines IS as an umbrella that includes cybersecurity among its disciplines.

While both focus on protecting networks and data, IS has broader accountabilities that ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of digital assets.

“An information security expert may develop the means of data access by authorized individuals or establish security measures to keep information safe,” Forbes explains. At the same time, the subset of cybersecurity is dedicated primarily to implementing those policies and defending data and networks from attack.

Those attacks include viruses, trojans, spyware, ransomware, adware and botnets. Other tactics include phishing and denial-of-service attacks. By contrast, the IS triad protects data during storage and distribution by establishing processes that ensure the following:

  • Confidentiality: Protect data from unauthorized use by establishing need-to-know procedures that comply with federal law, follow least-access best practices and mandate enterprise cybersecurity training.
  • Integrity: Secure digital assets by controlling authorized-access processes, working with network providers to guarantee safe data storage and distribution and auditing access permissions.
  • Availability: Ensure authorized users have access by maintaining networks, migrating data storage to the cloud and implementing capabilities that move data out of siloes.

What Is the Best Way to Acquire Information Security Expertise?

Business professionals seeking an advantage in the competition for high-demand, lucrative careers in information security can build the skills and knowledge they need by earning a Master of Science (M.S.) in Information Systems with a concentration in Information Security.

The degree program offered online by Murray State University, for instance, equips graduates with insights required to build, improve and maintain cybersecurity prevention policies, automation and best practices through relevant electives:

    • The Information Systems course deepens candidates’ understanding of security challenges and mitigation controls in the IS environment.
    • The Information Security Risk Management course explores industry-standard frameworks for conducting assessments, developing policies and reports, defining security baselines and creating mitigation plans.
    • The Legal Issues in Information Security course surveys the legal processes governing the deployment and maintenance of the technical, administrative and control facets of a cybersecurity program.

Learn more about Murray State University’s online M.S. in Information Systems with a concentration in Information Security program.

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