Opportunities within the security industry
Computers, the internet and virtually every form of telecommunication are now an unavoidable part of everybody’s lives. Even your old Aunty Betty is now on Facebook. Advances in computer technology have provided us with once unimaginable methods of communication and the world of I.T. continues to improve each and every day.
There is a more sinister side to it all though. Each innovation is often driven by the need for increased security, as ‘hackers’ discover news ways to access supposedly secure data. It is with this in mind that security has become a huge part of the I.T. and telecommunications industry, with virtually every role incorporating some responsibilities that revolve around security.
When it comes to I.T. and telecommunications, security permeates literally everything. Whether we’re talking about data, network, hardware or internet security, everybody operating within the industry must consider it at all times. With the increasing prominence of ‘cyber terrorism’ and governments across the world investing heavily in order to combat it, there are huge opportunities for career progression in this area.
What is data security?
Data security is all about ensuring that information is correctly encrypted and prevents unauthorised access. This data could be anything from the Word documents currently sitting inside your computer, to gigantic company databases containing millions of people’s bank details. The key focus of these careers is on cryptology (a.k.a. the process of hiding information). So it’s not just a word made famous by The Da Vinci Code then?
What is hardware security?
There is both a physical and electronic element to hardware security. The physical aspect can involve anything from a lock on your laptop, to the armed guards standing outside a building full of servers. The most familiar electronic example though is the password protection that most PCs and laptops have these days.
What is communication security?
Networks are effectively a collection of devices that are interconnected via a communication channel. You might have heard of the internet, right? Yup, that’s a network. Since companies, organisations and governments will also have internal networks, security is of paramount importance. As the Wikileaks, NSA and Bradley Manning scandals have attested, if security is compromised it can be disastrous.
Communication security is concerned with preventing unauthorised access to certain telecommunications. Given that ‘wiretapping’ has been known to bring down presidents in the past, security is of paramount importance. With the continual and unrelenting rise in technological attacks, more complex and secure ways of protecting I.T. and telecommunications need to be sought.
Specialisations within I.T. and telecommunications security
Virtually every role in the I.T. and telecommunications industry requires some focus on security. As such, anybody from a database administrator or systems analyst, to a network engineer must have a good grounding in all things relating to information security.
As there are a ridiculous amount of technologies out there, it is pretty much impossible to become a general security expert. Individuals need to specialise in a particular field, otherwise the ever-progressing nature of the technology would make it impossible to keep up.
If you’re a web developer, you must follow certain processes when coding to ensure somebody can’t simply break your site. Furthermore, all network communication needs to be encrypted and software programmes need to be tested to destruction before being sent out on the production line. The implications of a security breach can be huge. Therefore, it’s important that everything possible is done to prevent unauthorised access.
If security really is your bag though, you will need to be an absolute expert in your chosen field. Huge responsibilities are placed on these specialists so you really need to know your stuff.
For example, if you want to become a security consultant, expect to undergo a variety of security checks, exams and other assessments before you are accepted into the ‘inner circle’. Security experts that work within the public sector need to protect masses and masses of highly sensitive data. If they fail to do their job correctly or the information is released in some way, then the fallout could be cataclysmic.
Let’s assume that you’re more suited to this sort of security than standing outside a club in an MA-1 jacket with a clipboard. If you’re seriously into your I.T., give your try at a few graduate job roles as this may be the career path for you.