The digital transformation in the public and private sectors is accelerating as organizations expand their capacities to collect, organize and analyze enormous, complex datasets — which also creates gaping vulnerabilities for accidental and malicious intrusion.
The weaknesses are multiplying as well. Businesses are decentralizing, and more work-from-home and bring-your-own-device policies produce opportunities for hackers to penetrate organizations’ perimeter defenses. The Internet of things (IoT) is on the verge of connecting everything from “toasters to light bulbs” to the web and has the potential to create novel forms of digital chaos.
The tsunami of data combined with the fast-multiplying vectors for assaults on systems and data are pressuring enterprises big and small to recruit, hire and retain information security (InfoSec) and cybersecurity professionals. Graduates of Murray State University’s online Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) with a concentration in Information Security program are well equipped to address the needs of employers.
What Is the Difference Between InfoSec and Cybersecurity?
While the responsibilities overlap and the terms are often used interchangeably, InfoSec and cybersecurity are distinct career specialties that require different skill sets.
Generally, InfoSec focuses on developing policies and procedures to protect digital assets. Cybersecurity is a subset of InfoSec which utilizes measures to safeguard internet-connected systems from malicious outside attacks. InfoSec is strategy; cybersecurity is tactics.
While the demand for tech specialists exceeds the supply of qualified candidates, the broad scope of responsibilities in information security puts it at the top of hiring lists. “A variety of professions currently have a talent crunch, but not many will see job growth as robust as information security,” according to Infosec Resources, which notes employers had about 1.8 million open InfoSec positions in 2022.
How Do Professionals Prepare for InfoSec Careers?
An MSIS with a concentration in Information Security equips graduates with the skills and expertise for such high-demand careers as:
Information security analyst. Ranked as the No. 2 technology career (No. 5 overall) on the U.S. News & World Report 100 Best Jobs list, InfoSec analysts are responsible for mitigating data security risks by developing policies for maintaining security controls, monitoring security breaches and responding to security incidents. Specific duties include developing strategies and protocols for:
- Conducting security assessments to identify vulnerabilities and risks
- Implementing security measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems and encryption
- Configuring and maintaining security software and devices
- Monitoring network and system logs for signs of security breaches
Employers plan to hire nearly 57,000 analysts through 2031, a 35% growth rate, which is much higher than all other careers. Depending on education, experience, certifications, industry and location, analysts can earn $115,000 or more.
Digital forensic examiner. In the aftermath of an accidental or malicious intrusion, digital forensic examiners use technical and legal expertise to preserve, identify, extract, analyze and present digital evidence in court. They are responsible for investigating digital crimes such as cybercrime, fraud and intellectual property theft. In addition, they can be involved in civil cases such as e-discovery and digital forensics related to litigation and internal investigations.
Organizations predict investment in digital forensics will grow by $6.48 billion, or 9%, through 2025, indicating job growth in the career track will remain strong. Depending on circumstances like experience and location, top salaries can exceed $130,000.
IT auditor. Ensuring the security and governance of an organization’s information systems and data are the primary responsibility of IT auditors. To do that, they regularly assess InfoSec policies and procedures for regulatory compliance and industry standards. They identify vulnerabilities and risks and provide recommendations for addressing them. Additionally, they may also assist in the development and implementation of security policies and procedures. IT auditors are in “high demand” and have the potential to earn up to $101,000 and more.
Security systems administrator. There are more than 173,000 open positions with a 5% job growth rate through 2028 as companies scramble to hire professionals with expertise in developing and deploying strategies for vulnerability assessments, analyzing security logs and identifying and responding to data and network security breaches. Annual salaries range up to $88,000 and higher.
“The top priority — cybersecurity — is reflected in how 60% of CIOs plan to invest their resources this year, and their other top spending areas mirror their priorities,” according to Evanta, an online networking platform for C-level executives, adding that 87% named risk mitigation as their primary goal.
What Is the Best Way to Acquire InfoSec Skills?
The online MSIS with a concentration in Information Security program offered by Murray State University provides an in-depth understanding of the challenges facing the computer science, network security and information system security fields. In the Information Systems Security course, students examine mitigation controls in the InfoSec environment, intrusion prevention and detection, incident response and other topics. In the Information Security Risk Management course, students explore applications of risk management techniques using industry-standard frameworks, conduct a risk assessment and develop policies, reports and mitigation plans.
Coursework in Murray State’s program develops graduates’ ability to build, improve and maintain cybersecurity prevention policies, automation and best practices.