What is Information Assurance and Security?

Information Assurance and Security

Information assurance and security is a rapidly growing field, but what's it all about? How can you start working in information security? Do you have the right skills and education? If you're looking to grow your career in a new direction and turn your love of computer science into a lucrative paycheck, you've come to the right place. Keep reading to learn more about this exciting field and whether it's a good fit for you.

What Is the Difference Between Information Assurance and Information Security?

In short, information assurance focuses on gathering data. Information security is about keeping that data safe. In most organizations, these two jobs are combined into one department or even one worker. You'll need to understand cyber security, database management and security engineering to succeed in this field. A relevant master's or bachelor's degree is highly recommended to ensure you learn the broad range of skills necessary to work as a cyber security officer. Don't be confused: Although you'll be responsible for storing customer data, algorithm outputs or protected health information, you won't actually be in charge of gathering the data yourself. You'll be more like the owner of a long-term storage facility, and your company's users will be the tenants who actually bring you items — meaning data — for safeguarding.

What Kinds of Jobs Are Available in Information Assurance and Security?

Most computer security experts work directly for a company rather than freelancing or reporting to an agency with multiple clients. You'll work typical office hours, although some overtime may be required. Dressing professionally and keeping yourself up-to-date on security trends will be expected in most positions. Entry-level jobs include working as a security analyst, database manager or information integrity specialist. As you advance your career, you might find yourself working as a director of information security or a chief information security officer (CISO).

What Do You Need to Work in Information Security and Assurance?

The best security officers are detail-oriented, technology savvy and committed to securing accurate data. If you love spreadsheets, databases and enforcing security policies, this could be the ideal job for you. To work in this field, you'll need a bachelor's or undergraduate degree in a related subject. For example, companies might want to see a B.S. in Computer Sciences, M.S. in Information Security or a similar degree. You should consider earning the Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO) designation from the EC-Council to show you're serious about your commitment to this career.

Is the Information Field Growing?

As computers become increasingly integrated into the business world, there's a growing demand for security experts to keep data safe and companies operating smoothly. If you pursue this career, you won't have to worry about outsourced manufacturing or widespread lay-offs. Companies will always need data security officers. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for Information Security Analysts will grow 28 percent over the next decade. That's much faster than the average growth for all fields.

Related Resource: The 25 Best Master's in Information Assurance and Security Programs Online for 2018

Information technology (IT) is a broad field. Even if information assurance and security isn't the right career for you, don't give up hope — you can still find an IT job that matches your interests.