By DeVry University
Information security and cyber security are both trending, dynamic professions – but what’s the difference? After all, the two terms are often used interchangeably. How is each field defined, what jobs exist within each industry and what kinds of companies can you work for?
To answer these questions, read on for an overview of information security vs. cyber security, including their similarities and differences. We’ll also look at the things you should consider when deciding which path is right for you.
What Is Information Security?
As the name suggests, information security focuses on the protection of information. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), information security analysts plan and implement security measures on a company’s computers and networks. They may also be responsible for guarding analog information that isn’t stored on a network.
Depending on the company you work for, your job duties might include:
- Consistently monitoring for security threats and assessing them when they occur.
- Installing security software and keeping it up to date.
- Reporting on security breaches and any damage that they cause.
- Simulating security attacks to search for weaknesses in the system.
- Becoming familiar with the latest best practices and implementing them throughout the company.
- Recommending security upgrades to your leadership team and other decision-makers.
- Assisting employees with security compliance, including offering regular training and one-on-one help as needed.
- Participating in disaster planning, especially as it relates to minimizing risk (such as, backing up information in a secure off-site location) and planning for post-disaster systems recovery.
What Is Cyber Security?
Note, not all information is data. Technically, information is processed data. Cyber security focuses specifically on guarding data, including personal identification, from unauthorized access and cyber-attacks. It also secures technologies and resources involved in storing that data.
Cyber security experts may perform some of the same tasks as information security experts, such as:
- Assessing and monitoring security threats.
- Installing software such as data encryption programs and firewalls.
- Routinely inspecting and testing hardware, software and networks to find and address potential weaknesses.
- Investigating and reporting on security breaches.
- Creating disaster recovery plans as related to data concerns.
Because virtually every type and size of business has an online presence and cyber-attacks can occur anywhere, anytime, cyber security professionals are essential in a variety of fields. From healthcare to finance to government, cyber security professionals are needed in virtually every industry.
Comparing Information Security vs. Cyber Security
Information security and cyber security are similar in many ways, therefore the terms are sometimes used synonymously. Both focus on protecting information or data from unauthorized access, but there are some important differences that you should understand when deciding which path to choose.
Cyber security focuses on cyberspace. It involves protecting data from cyber-attacks by securing not only the data itself but also the devices and networks on which they are stored and accessed. Information security focuses on both digital and analog information, with more attention paid to the information, or data itself.
Although this is not necessarily true at every company, information security tends to be more broad-based, while cyber security experts tend to focus primarily on more advanced and sophisticated threats.
Which Is Right for You?
How you view yourself as a future security professional can guide which direction you choose. Do you want a more generalized role that deals with multiple types of threats, while also giving you the opportunity to work with front-line employees to improve their security practices? If so, information security may be the right path for you.
Are you interested in complex problem-solving and advanced threats? Do you want to spend your time analyzing cyber threats and developing solutions to address them? Then cyber security may be the better option.
If you want to be on the cutting edge of security, not only assessing and addressing threats but building the next generation of tools to combat them, you may want to consider cyber security programming.
Fortunately, no matter which specific path you choose, there is a great deal of overlap between these fields and all three can help you prepare to work in many industries.
Ready to Pursue Your Tech Goals?
At DeVry, we offer the following programs to help you pave your path in information security or cyber security:
- Undergraduate Certificate in Cyber Security
- Cyber Security Bachelor's Degree Specialization
- Cyber Security Programming Bachelor's Degree Specialization
- Information Systems Security Bachelor's Degree Specialization
- Graduate Certificate in Information Security
Ready to take the next step or need help deciding which program is right for you? Contact us to learn more.