Information Security Degrees

Information security degrees fall under the field of information technology. Information security is concerned with protecting data on computers, servers, information systems, or in transmission. All companies have an interest in protecting information assets and oftentimes employ entire information security departments headed by chief information security officers (CISO).

Information systems security is different from computer forensics in a few respects. The most significant of these differences is that computer forensics is the investigative process applied to determine what happened during a technology related incident or event, whereas information security is concerned with preventing the event or incident from happening in the first place.

Oftentimes, these two fields collide. Information security professionals are interested in learning forensics because they frequently have to respond to security breaches. Forensic skills help them determine what happened, reconstruct the event, and learn from the event to prevent its’ re-occurrence. Often, the information is also used investigate further and ultimately seek a remedy (prosecute, defend itself, file civil claim, fire an employee, etc.).

The stakes are high with information security. Intellectual property must be protected as does client information (healthcare, personal identification, credit card, securities, and top secret military information, etc.). The penalties for security breaches can be very significant to companies. The penalties can include the costs incurred not only in responding to suits but also the costs of investigation, prosecuting civil actions, and paying regulatory fines.

In academic settings, information security and computer forensics are often separate certificates or degrees. However, it is not uncommon for each degree or certificate program to require that students take classes in the other discipline as part of the degree or certificate process.

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