Since the invention of the computer and the internet, this type of technology has advanced rapidly over the years and continues to thrive and progress. While this kind of advancement has done wonders for society in many ways, it has also created new dangers that individuals and businesses alike need to learn to protect themselves from. With so much sensitive data that is stored in these electronic devices, in cloud-storage systems, automated programs, and countless other computer software, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and concerned over how safe your information is. With stories in the media about hacking, data harvesting, people creating fake profiles to con others, and additional online scams, the importance of cyber-security has never been more prominent.
So, why is it so essential that these security systems are improved, and what exactly do they protect? In a world where technological advances are developing at a rapid rate, what was once useful as tools of protection and security against cyber-space threats are becoming more obsolete. Downloading essential software is not going to be enough anymore, which is why many businesses are seeking help from cyber-security experts to improve their chances of keeping data safe. Below are some of the critical areas that require better cyber-security and why.
How often do you purchase things from online retailers? You must have done so at least once or twice in your life. What about accessing your bank accounts? Do you pay for things using your smartphone? How many times have you inputted your PINs, account numbers, and other sensitive financial information into a computer or other electronic device? With the rise of the internet, consumer shopping patterns have changed, and in the modern age, the majority of the world’s population choose to shop online at one time or another. It’s understandable why this is a preferred choice, with the convenience of having your shopping delivered to your door and access to a global marketplace – however, how safe is your financial information? While many online retailers have fantastic online security and firewalls, unfortunately, there are still occasions where consumers fall victim to scams, or their data has been shared with unsavory characters.
It’s not just the average consumer, either. Businesses everywhere now must have an online presence, and many transactions take place using online devices. Even bookkeeping tasks can be aided via automated accounting systems and specialist software where a company’s financial information is stored, including that of their employees. Protecting the financial interests of both individuals and corporations is essential, and a big reason why cyber-security must continue to be developed and perfected.
This can translate to an individual as well as business, for example, if someone were to hack into your social media account and post disturbing content or use your photos to pretend to be someone else. This can be a devasting experience for many people, but for the sake of this article, let’s focus on how hackers and other security issues can have an impact on a business.
When it comes to managing a business, its reputation is vital. Many companies hire PR agencies to help them tackle challenging situations and can spend millions of dollars a year on branding and marketing to make sure they’re company is seen in a particular light. Businesses do this because having a good, trustworthy image is essential in keeping consumers happy, and they must prove themselves to be contributing to society positively. If a company’s network is breached, sensitive information is accessed and released, this is a crisis that could be devastating. Whether it’s putting customers or employees at risk because they’re personal information is revealed, or specific plans and deals that a company is making that could be taken out of context, the loss of this sensitive data has the potential to destroy a business. It’s taken years to build a good reputation, but it can take seconds to obliterate it. This is why any business, big or small, needs to protect themselves to the best of their ability against networking breaches and other PR disasters.
Employees and Customers
As mentioned briefly above, some security breaches can result in the personal information of both employees and customers to be revealed. This is a very dangerous scenario and could potentially be putting lives at risk. Home addresses, medical history, financial information could all be included in an employee’s file, and it is your duty as an employer to protect your staff in the workplace. If their information is taken from your network, this is a failure on the businesses part and, depending on the circumstances, could lead to legal action taken against you. With so much at stake, employee records must be kept confidential and secure.
Customer information is equally as important, especially with the new discussions and concerns over data harvesting that have increased in recent years. Not only could customers be put at risk physically if their information was released, but more commonly, they fall victim to fraud and other scams as a result of this type of data breach. To make sure your business maintains strong, healthy customer relationships, you must invest in the best cyber-security software you can and educate yourself on the best ways you can protect all of this critical, personal information.
Another thing that entrepreneurs and business owners must protect is their intellectual property. If you are in the process of developing a new business idea, technology, or other invention, naturally, you will want to keep this information under wraps until you’re ready to present it to the world – but what if someone steals your idea and does it first? While there are other measures your will need to take to protect your intellectual property, if you’re working a lot on a computer or using specific software to develop your idea, limiting access to this information and using the right encryptions to protect it will be essential. To avoid engaging in a lengthy legal battle and having your ideas stolen by others, make sure you’re updating your security systems.
Corruption of Files
Corrupted files can be a nuisance at the best of times, especially when you’re trying to access information for your work tasks or sharing with another member of your team. Several things can lead to corrupted files, such as hardware failure and problems with a power supply, but malware is another cause, and this is the most concerning. Viruses can manage to make their way into your computer systems, and corrupted files can be devastating for both businesses and individuals alike. Having anti-virus and firewall software installed onto your home and office computers will help to avoid this terrible situation, but again, remember to keep these updated to make sure you’re receiving the best protection.
How Do You Get a Job in Cyber-security?
With all the reasons why cyber-security is essential in the modern age, it’s a reasonable assumption to think this would make a good, stable career choice. Cyber-security experts and other IT specialists are in high demand, there is plenty of room for career progression, and the salary is excellent, too. If you’re an individual considering a career change or a younger student trying to decide which path to take, here are some things you can do and will need to get yourself a job in cyber-security and development.
Of course, there will be specific skills that you will need to have to work within the cyber-security sector. Understanding computer programming, coding, and other technical skills will be essential, but others are more universal that could help you a lot in these roles. Strong communication skills will be key, particularly when you’re trying to explain technical jargon to an individual who is not from the same background as you. Being able to break down this information into layman’s terms and having patience as you do so will be vital, especially when working with clients.
You must also be able to work effectively in a team as part of your job will be working together to develop better security systems. If you want to stand out for promotion opportunities, you might also want to think about how you can develop your leadership skills and be ready to take on more responsibility within your team.
While a college education might not be essential for some positions, most computer-science-based jobs do require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject; therefore, this is an excellent place to start if you don’t already hold such a degree. There are many options for study, making it more accessible for those who aren’t in a position to attend college full-time or relocate. Online courses, part-time, and night schools are all great options for those who need to fit in their studies around the other commitments in their lives. If you wanted to make yourself stand out as an applicant for a job, why not take your education further with a master’s degree? These online cybersecurity degree programs are perfect for enhancing your education and CV, and you can study at home.
If you don’t have the time to enroll in a college degree program, research other learning opportunities to help you transition into cyber-security roles that you can do while you work.
While a college degree will be necessary and impressive for most employers, work experience is always a desirable thing to see on a candidate’s CV. You might be able to access work experience opportunities during your studies with internship schemes and so forth, but on graduating from college, be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up to the top. For cyber-security jobs, good areas to begin working in are roles such as virus technician, where you would keep up to date on the latest developments and help to improve anti-virus software. A security engineer is another key area to get into, which would require you to test networks and determine how easy they are to breach. Other roles would be valuable as work experience, and all of these positions would help you to develop your technical skills and move up the career ladder in cyber-security.
If you’re looking to move careers into the cyber-security sector from a different area of IT expertise, good transitional roles include network administration, a cyber policy analyst, or SOC analyst.
As with any industry, the ability to network effectively will help you get ahead in your career. It can be an overwhelming experience at first. Still, you must take networking opportunities when they present themselves to you or actively look for networking events for IT and Technology professionals near you. Make sure you’re approachable but maintain your professionalism throughout the evening for the best results. The more people know who you are, the more likely you will get invited to interviews and job offers as a result. It’s essential to build these working relationships and your reputation. Attending conferences is also an excellent chance to do this and keeping yourself up to date with the latest industry news.
With both individuals and businesses relying so much on computer software and online spaces to manage their day-to-day lives, having reliable security networks in place has never been more essential. When threats are coming from unknown and unseen sources, this puts people in an ever more vulnerable position, and as technology advances, so must the cyber-security systems. If you run a business, hire the help of a cyber-security expert to make sure you’re keeping all of your data safe and secure, including that of your clients and employees. If you’re thinking about how a career in cyber-security could be right for you, use the points about getting into these roles as a guide to help you make the right steps.
Make sure you’re keeping yourself safe online and stay updated with the latest cyber-security news and always use the best security programming that’s available to you.