It’s not a rare occasion to hear about computer security breaches around the world. However, most don’t know that these breaches aren’t of the same value. Some may cause a major loss of sensitive organizational data and monetary resources, while others might not be of catastrophic value.
You might have heard about the case of 2016 when Russian government hackers were accused of tampering with votes of American voters in the last presidential elections. Hackers are always on the lookout for vulnerable networks to attack. Nobody is safe from this data exploitation. That’s why there is an ever-growing need for professionals to protect computer systems from being exploited. These professionals are highly educated and hold degrees in Network Security or Cybersecurity.
What Is Network Security?
Network Security is an umbrella term that covers many technologies, devices, and processes. Simply put, it’s a set of rules and configurations designed with the only intention of protecting the integrity, privacy, and accessibility of computer systems and the data it holds. This whole protection design uses both hardware and software technology.
In the times that we’re living when hackers are a clear threat, every type of organization, regardless of its size or industry, must have a network security system in place to protect it from the countless cyber-attacks running wild.
Cybersecurity vs. Network Security: What Is the Difference?
Despite how similar the effects of cybersecurity and network security are, they’re not entirely the same. The whole difference between them can be explained through the analogy of defending the castle. While they have a common interest in defending it, they protect different parts of it. Cybersecurity is more concerned with identifying and protecting the castle from outside threats, whereas network security is concerned with what’s happening inside the castle. In other words, cybersecurity looks out for intruders that want to get inside network systems with unauthorized access, while network security focuses on defending data in a network system against hacking, misuse, and malware.
Importance of Network Security for Businesses
With the progress of technology, anyone can be a victim of a hacking case. While on a personal level, you can download and install anti-virus software and firewall settings, when it comes to a business organization, the network security solution isn’t quite simple. Since the risks of getting hacked are many, a business organization needs to create a safe and secure system dedicated to protecting the networks.
This network security system is important at multiple levels. Firstly, also the main reason why you should secure the computer networks, you’ll protect the assets of your organization. Those assets are the information of your organization stored in the computer networks. Secondly, with the creation of network security, you comply with Regulatory Requirements and Ethical Responsibilities. Every organization that works with computers is obligated to develop procedures and policies that address the security requirements of an organization. Finally, you give your organization a competitive advantage as customers will most likely choose the services of a company that has a secured network.
Network Security Degree Levels
Network Security as a degree is available in three different academic levels. We’ll be talking more in-depth about these types of degrees as follows.
Associate in Network Security
Associate of Science in Network Security program consists of extensive courses in computer networking and internet security. In these courses, you will learn about protocols used to access and transfer information over public and private networks, fundamental loss prevention concepts, implementing a total security program, and about the methods used to protect online data.
Bachelor’s in Network Security
A Bachelor’s degree in Network Security prepares students to identify and address several security issues and cyberattacks. This program will guide students on using the hacker’s perspective to develop security strategies better. Network Security Bachelor programs, just like Cybersecurity programs, give students the protecting mindset so that they can design networks that reflect specific needs and issues in cybersecurity.
Master’s in Network Security
After getting a Bachelor’s degree in Network Security, you can immediately find a job or continue your education in this field by getting a Master’s degree. Network Security offers many different areas of specialization, giving students multiple options to choose from. This way, you tailor your curriculum around the topics that interest you and are significant to your career goals.
Online Network Security Degrees
If by any chance, the traditional Network Security program isn’t suitable for you, there is always the possibility of getting an online degree in Network Security. You can choose amongst many programs that are offered in this major.
Best Network Security Certifications
In addition to the education one might get through a certain degree in Network Security, one can also go further to get certified in this field. Certifications are another way to learn new ways to fight cybercrime. We’re listing below some of the best certificates one can get in Network Security.
University of the Potomac’s Advanced Certificate in Network Security Management
The Network Security Management certification program offered by the University of the Potomac prepares students to get into the world of cybersecurity by providing them with skills in designing, configuring, implementing, managing, supporting, and securing computer systems.
University of the Potomac’s General Certificate in Network Security Management
The General Certificate in Network Security Management offered by the University of the Potomac provides students with firsthand skills needed to enter the job market of Network Security and IT Security. These skills can get them different entry-level jobs.
Network+ is an entry-level certification. This certification teaches you all you need to know about network security, like configuration, designing functional networks, and network maintenance and management. Network+ is a great choice for those who are looking to get their first certification.
This network security certification is dedicated to entry-level Information Security professionals. Through this certification, you’ll get a foundation for performing vital security functions. You’ll learn about the essentials of keeping networks protected, like managing risks, cryptography, and identifying cyber threats.
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
CISM is an advanced network security certification. This certification will give you the needed knowledge to control, audit, and secure information systems. For you to be eligible to get this certification, you need to have at least three years of experience in information security management.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
CISSP is one of the most popular certifications related to network security. This certification is recommended to all security professionals that have years of experience and expertise in this field. CISSP is globally recognized, and you’re considered eligible to apply for this certification once you fulfill the requirements, which are a college degree and four years of experience in at least two domains of Information Systems Security.
Benefits of Getting a Network Security Degree
A degree in Network Security has many perks. Read on to find out more about them.
1. Network Security specialists are in demand
Almost every sector of the economy relies on computers to do their day-to-day tasks. That’s why Network Security is essential to many industries such as banking, insurance, and healthcare. Even governments and universities depend on it. All of these sectors depend on data stored in internet systems to remain safe and secure. This means that the demand for specialists who make sure those data are protected is ever-growing.
2. Great work conditions
A degree in network security will open doors to jobs that offer a great work environment. Most of the jobs in network securities take place in a comfortable, air-conditioned office with other professionals in this field. Not only is a decent space physically, but also socially, as you get to share experiences and knowledge in your respective fields.
3. Employment growth
According to the report published by Cybersecurity Ventures, there’ll be 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021. This number applies to all areas of computer security, including here network security. With this information out there, one thing is certain: a degree in Network Security won’t go to waste.
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4. The network security degree is applicable
Getting a degree in Network Security doesn’t necessarily mean that you will work in jobs specific to this field. In fact, your degree can be applied to countless security-related jobs. However, a degree in Network Security is more applicable to cybersecurity and information technology. This application comes as a result of many courses in cybersecurity that this type of program offers to the students. All in all, you know that you have various job options whenever you feel like making a change.
5. Job diversity
One thing that sets apart Network Security is the diversity of jobs. Those who hold this degree have the option to choose from numerous job positions. Not only within this field but also within those similar to Network Security. This is possible because of the similar skills and knowledge that students of Network Security, Cybersecurity, and Information Technology share.
Network Security Jobs
Those that hold a degree in Network Security have many job options to choose from. We listed some of them below.
1. Security Analyst
The security analyst establishes plans and protocols to protect information systems and digital data against unauthorized access. One other responsibility is to manage the network and detect the intrusion in the network.
2. Security Specialist
The main responsibility of a security specialist is to design, test, implement, and monitor security measures for a particular network system. One way to achieve this is to configure security tools like firewalls, anti-virus software, and many more.
3. Vulnerability Assessor
The key responsibility a vulnerability assessor has is to perform vulnerability assessments on networks, applications, and operating systems. This assessment will, in turn, expose trouble spots in the networks that need to be worked on.
4. Security Auditor
A security auditor examines the safety and efficacy of computer systems and their components. They evaluate the efficiency and compliance of operation processes with corporate security policies.
5. Security Architect
A security architect develops requirements for local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), virtual private networks (VPNs), firewalls, and other related network devices. They also perform vulnerability assessments, risk analysis, and security evaluations.
Network Security Salaries
Network security doesn’t only offer a diverse range of job opportunities; it also provides professionals quite well monetarily. Here’s a list with some of the highest paying network security jobs.
Essential Skills Network Security Specialists Have
While a degree will certainly get you multiple job opportunities, there is a set of skills one must possess to be considered by employers. Here are some of them talked about more in detail.
1. Know how to program
Every cybersecurity expert needs to have a basic knowledge of programming languages. Programming may help you gauge and fight cyber-attacks’ possibilities and to take measures by creating plans for approaching these attacks.
2. Think like a hacker
One must have a proactive approach to cybersecurity. You can be proactive by putting things into the hacker’s perspective. It might be more practical to anticipate and prepare for an attack instead of focusing on recovering after a possible attack.
3. Know how to identify network intrusion
There are many cyber threats like powerful trojans and backdoor codes disguised as legitimate software on a mission to steal data. Since the risk of something like this happening is quite high, security experts must stay savvy on the technology front by creating stronger software that detects an intrusion.
4. Analyze and reverse malware
Malware intrusion is a serious matter in the cybersecurity field. That’s why experts are required to be as prepared as possible to approach digital threats. In addition to preparing for potential risks, they also need to strengthen their skills in recovering and continuing the business after the attacks happen.
5. Analyze risk and mitigation
It’s crucial to identify potential risks before the actual onset of an attack. A cybersecurity expert is required to identify risks, track those risks, and discover new threats throughout the project’s progression. In the process of determining the risks, an amount of foresight and attention to detail is required, as experts have to foresee the potential threats that might fall on the system and find solutions to mitigate it.
Is a Network Security Degree Worth It?
Every degree has its advantages and disadvantages. A degree in Network Security has them too. All in all, a degree in Network Security is worth it, and this is confirmed by the number of jobs available to security students, the relatively high salary, and the possibility of the degree applying to many security-related jobs. Another aspect we can look into is the importance of security jobs. You’ll be having the entire fate of the company in your hands, as you’re going to find ways to protect it from different cyber attacks.
A degree in Network Security is a good way to enter the world of digital security. You’ll be introduced to a whole different way of handling information and benefit from the advantages of this degree along the way. This degree doesn’t limit you in any way as you get to choose between different types of jobs according to your preference. We hope we provided you with enough information on this degree. For more on the degree, admission requirement, and more, you can always reach out to representatives of the University of the Potomac. Good luck!