In the last couple of years, the world has gone digital. From the ability to purchase basically anything online to how we entertain ourselves, work and communicate, we live in an age where most activities are carried out on the digital space. As a result, cyber security is more important than ever.
Cyber security, which is also called information-technology security, refers to the protection of our devices, e.g. computer systems, electronic systems, mobile devices and networks, from unauthorized access that could lead to the theft of or damage to our hardware, software or electronic data.
Cyber security can come in different forms, some of which are application security, network security, information security, operational security, end-user education, disaster recovery and business continuity, amongst others.
Disaster recovery and business continuity refer to the response of organizations to cyber-security incidences that occur within their walls and any other cyber-related events that lead to a loss of information or data. They also spell out how organizations get back to business after such events have been resolved.
End-user education concerns how people are informed, e.g. how to delete suspicious attachments that come in their emails and to not use unprotected flash drives on their systems — in other words, how to protect their systems and data from unauthorized access.
Operational security involves the procedures and results for dealing with and protecting data assets. Information security, on the other hand, deals with the integrity and privacy of data both in transit and storage.
Application security is focused on keeping software and systems free from threats, because a compromised application could serve as a pathway for unauthorized access to the data it is meant to protect. Network security, finally, is securing a computer system from invaders and intrusion of targeted attacks.
The need for cyber security arises from the emergence and threats of cybercrime, a term that refers to the activities carried out by means of computer systems or the internet with the aid of computers and a network.
Cybercrime can be aimed at an individual or a group, but its target mainly is the invasion of privacy and the compromising of data that belongs to these individuals or groups. It often leads to the loss of data belonging to these groups or individuals, in addition to the disruption of services. Common methods these intruders use to compromise systems are viruses, worms, spyware, trojans, etc.
At the moment, no industry is immune from cyber security breaches. Plus, given that the internet is the vehicle through which business, entertainment, work and almost all activities are carried out, the possibility of cyber-security breaches is endless.
The field of cyber security, then, has been steadily growing in importance because of our increasing dependence on computer systems and networks. In fact, in 2017, the cyber security market was valued at $120 billion and has only grown since. The reason for this growth has been linked to the need for minimization of security risks for computer systems, applications, network systems and even smart devices, like the best antivirus.
There is also the need to find measures and protection against the loss of information to unauthorized access users from the exposure of enterprise data, which can be due to the use of cloud platforms in addition to networking technology that are vulnerable to attacks. Also, within organizations there has been a steady rise in allocation budgets on cyber security for the protection of enterprise systems and data.
What’s more, there are currently an estimated 1 million unfilled cyber security jobs that currently exist, which means that there is a huge need for cyber security professionals in the world. Not to mention, the salary for cyber security professionals is as high as $380,000 a year.
These high numbers are linked to the increasing cost of cyber attacks against enterprises, with the estimated cost of such losses rising to as high as $6 billion by the year 2021. There is, without a doubt, the need for more cyber security professionals in the world given the pace at which threats to cyber security are moving.
Our systems need be protected, and this can only successfully be done by professionals in the field. Although some individuals gain the experience of cyber security through exposure, everyone looking to be competitive in the field would be smart to get a related degree.