Cybersecurity: What it Takes to Make a CareerGovernment, Private Sector Both Have Needs for Trained Professionals What's the difference between cybersecurity and information security? It's in the eye of the beholder, according to retired Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege, who co-chaired the Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency. He noted that the two terms are used synonymously, though cybersecurity - at least in the federal government arena -- includes the nation's critical IT infrastructure. But the bottom line is that cybersecurity means protecting IT systems from harm.
Where are the Jobs?
Most of the cybersecurity jobs within government fall in the category of computer specialist, information technology officer, Information technology specialist, assistant chief security officer etc. These jobs are available with various government agencies and departments including Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation and US Army.
Within businesses, the cybersecurity positions available are cybersecurity analyst, research scientist, engineer, senior information security specialist. Most of these jobs are available with government contractors, scientific research laboratories, security consulting firms and IT and security vendor companies.
The common theme of most of these positions is to defend the nation through the development and utilization of cutting-edge systems, procedures, and technologies to prevent future terrorist attacks.
Importance of Cybersecurity:
Technology and the internet are touching every part of our lives. "So much information we deal with is available through the internet that keeping it secure at all times, upholding the very principles of information security: integrity, availability and confidentiality has become challenging," says Brian Schultz, Senior Director of the Cybersecurity Practice within the National Security Division of the Battelle Memorial Institute.
Again, the rise in Internet and e-business security threats on computer and other telecommunication devices and increasing opportunities for cyber terrorism, espionage, fraud, theft and the misuse of personal, classified and financial data, all have contributed to the significant growth of cyber security in recent times, making it a top choice for career seekers today.
The greatest cybersecurity need in government and business include "the requirement for cybersecurity professionals who are both educated and trained," says Lawrence Rogers, a senior member of the technical staff in the Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute, CERT Program.
Education is more thinking-oriented, placing emphasis on the fundamental principles of cybersecurity and its associated processes, while training is more "doing or action" oriented focusing on technology and operation. A successful professional in cybersecurity needs:
Role and Background:
A strong background in network and system administration is strongly recommended by experts to be successful, "as 80% of the risk in cybersecurity lies in the network itself," adds Schultz.
A thorough knowledge and experience of working with networks, routers and firewall is a base standard for getting into cybersecurity. For example, the practitioner should be able to evaluate and assess capabilities of new technology related to system and networks.
The system administration role needs to evolve to address security issues such as:
"The role of cybersecurity involves dealing with a lot of characteristics from the risk management arena," adds Rogers. Individuals need to constantly know what are the threats, controls to existing systems, networks and understand the business implication of operating technology.
Must-have skill set includes:
Typical Career Path:
From a system or network administrator, the role evolves to security engineering, leading individuals to upper management positions including chief security officer, director of operations and security. Also individuals can choose to grow and specialize within policy and governance. "Cybersecurity is the foundation upon which business and technology develops," says Prof. Zeedick. "Professionals have good career growth avenues once they enter the field."