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What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security is vital to all industries. Cyber-thieves can break into organizations’ computer networks, servers, and cloud networks, which can lead to major losses for these companies. If personal information is stolen, the people who trusted the organization with their data may also suffer financial or privacy losses.

This holds true for educational services, healthcare, and social assistance, one of the larger industries in the state. Other large industries in the state include retailers, real estate and leasing, finance and insurance, and more. In every case companies can suffer significant monetary and reputational loss when hackers gain access to their private data and that of their customers.

Highly skilled cyber security professionals are able to spot and patch the holes in an organization’s computer networks. Currently, there is a major shortage of cyber security professionals throughout the country and the world, especially as organizations realize the risks they are facing.

Remote workers - freelancers, independent contractors, and work-from-home employees - may also face cyber security risks that workers in the job site may not face. Some of these risks include smishing, which takes place through text messages; phishing, where cyber thieves act as though they are from a trusted business seeking a customer’s credit card number or login information; spear phishing, which appears to come from within the employee’s company; vishing, which is a phishing attack carried by voice, cellphones, landlines or VoIP (voice over internet protocol); and whale fishing, which aims at a high-profile manager in an organization.

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Online Cyber Security Education in Michigan

As of May 2020, Michigan employed 123,150 cyber security professionals. Their annual mean wage was $88,830.

These professionals provides security in all stages of networks, software systems, and data centers. It is their responsibility to search for and find vulnerabilities and risks in hardware and software. Cyber security specialists can find careers with associate degrees, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees. The more education they have, the easier it will be for them to move into management.

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These professionals are also responsible for creating different strategies or defensive systems to keep intruders out. And they may find work in a huge variety of industries, especially those which are at the highest risk of attack.

Because there are a variety of positions these professionals can hold, it’s difficult to provide a specific list of tasks you might be expected to accomplish in your career. You may try to penetrate a network or database as a penetration tester. You may actively monitor for intrusions and try to stop them when they are detected: cybersecurity specialist or analyst. Or you may be responsible for encrypting information or building the firewalls that keep hackers out. There are a variety of options available once you earn your first degree.

Online Associate Degree in Cyber Security (AS)

Students looking for a path into cyber security should be able to find a pertinent degree from a Michigan community college. Even an online cybersecurity associate degree can provide access to entry-level careers in this high-demand profession. The field as a whole has been experiencing ongoing shortages as organizations work to strengthen their cyber defenses.

Cyber security at this level covers the processes, practices, and technologies which have been created and designed to protect computer networks, programs, and electronic data from unauthorized access, damage from attacks, and hijacking.

These programs require students to take classes in preparation for entry-level employment in cyber security positions. Or, depending on the student’s plans, they may be ready to transfer to a four-year university or to enter the workforce.

Graduates can find positions as security technicians, computer specialists, computer security specialists, information security specialists, internet security specialists, network security specialists, or security analysts.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Cyber Security (BS)

Technology is developing fast. The Institute for the Future has predicted that, by 2030, 85% of jobs will be ones that currently don’t even exist. While cyber security is certainly already prevalent, it is an excellent example of an industry that seems to have sprouted almost overnight. After several cyber-attacks beginning in 2017, which disrupted airports, banks and power companies, the need for strong cyber security defenses became highly evident.

As a result, the job outlook is especially good—this industry anticipates adding 3.5 million jobs by 2021. Even better, the high demand for professionals will not decrease in that time. Students with a cybersecurity bachelor’s degree and a deeper knowledge of the subject will become even more important and needed in the field as cyber security saturates ever industry.

Jobs graduates might find will include positions such as information managers, application security engineers, cloud engineers, directors of information security, software architects, chief information officers, and penetration testers.

Online Master's Degree in Cyber Security (MS)

Graduate students seeking a Master of Science in Cyber Security should be prepared when they graduate not only to protect organizations against digital threats, but also to lead groups and manage teams that are aimed at this goal. These programs are available through on campus and online learning, depending on what works best for the student.

Within these programs, students will learn even more about the latest defenses in use against cyber-criminals. They will be prepared to lead teams and make strategic management decisions after they finish their degree programs. Subjects covered include cyber security threat and risk assessment, cyber defense, digital forensics, identity management, disaster recovery, incident response, penetration testing, network detection and response, systems architecture, and more.

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Students completing an MBA also gain advanced skills in management, accounting, marketing, and finance because of the degree’s focus on business. In addition to these courses, students can choose to earn their specialty in cyber security.

Online PhD Degree in Cyber Security (PhD)

Online doctoral students planning to earn their PhD in Computer and Information Science, or another similar field, may find a program that has been integrated with engineering practice, professional education, and research. They should look for a program that includes relevant research in computer and information science.

These programs tend to home in on society’s urgent need for scientific and engineering professionals who have advanced knowledge and technical skills along with their knowledge of cyber security and how it can be integrated into existing and new technologies.

Become a Cyber Security Professional in Michigan

An important aspect to many careers is the requirement for licensure in a specific field. However, for cyber security, there is no requirement that you earn licensure from the state in order to work in the field. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t gain anything from pertinent certification. In fact, certification is the number one way that computer science workers boost their resume in the field, whether they do so with cyber security or project management certifications.

Because of this, after earning a cyber security degree in Michigan, graduates may want to consider also earning professional certifications. As high as the demand is for these professionals, applicants will find that they face stiff competition for some positions. To get themselves noticed, cyber security graduates and professionals should earn a few certifications that are geared to their current or future roles. Some businesses will include required certifications in their requirements when looking for professionals to take on roles in their company. Here are just some possible cybersecurity and computer science certifications you might want to consider.

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
    This certification is seen as the industry standard for professionals who want a career as an ethical hacker or penetration tester. The program prepares IT professionals to work on enterprise-level security and the responsibilities required. This includes anticipating weak spots and testing. Professionals need skills in SQL/code injection; understanding Trojans, viruses, and worms; denial-of-service attacks (DDoS); hijacking web services and applications; and cryptography.
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
    This certification, provided by ISACA, is vital for technology professionals who want to transition into a management role. The certification develops skills needed in information security management. Other skills needed include incident management, governance, program development/management, and risk management.
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
    This is one of the most popular industry credentials. It communicates the professional’s experience in IT security, and their ability to design, implement, and monitor a cyber security program. This is an advanced certification to be earned by experienced security professionals who plan to enter roles such as information assurance analyst, security administrator, senior security consultant, IT security engineer, or chief information security officer.
  • Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA)
    This is designed for professionals who work in the audit, control, and monitoring of an organization’s information technology systems. Those who already work in this area may benefit because it allows them to expand their skills on an enterprise level.

Potential Careers for Cyber Security Graduates

  • Security Engineer

    This professional builds security systems. They also implement and monitor security controls, either ensuring an attack doesn’t happen or documenting a cyber-attack or unauthorized access.

    Cybersecurity engineers can expect their workdays to be filled with responses to security incidents, coordinating incident response with several teams, carrying out security assessments and code audits, researching new attack sources, developing threat models, automating security improvements, and finding security measures to provide better incident responses.

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  • Cyber Security Manager

    These professionals protect their organization’s computers, data, and networks against threats such as security breaches, cyber-attacks, and computer viruses. Aside from the loss of money and confidential information, the organization may face steep fines from regulatory agencies if they don’t protect their data.

    To be hired, this professional should have a strong background in information technology, along with a clear understanding of the challenges of information security. They should also have security management skills, including problem solving skills and analytical skills.

  • Information Technology Director

    An IT director’s responsibilities include devising and establishing IT policies and systems. This helps them to support the implementation of strategies by upper management. They oversee technology operations and evaluated them against established goals.

    The director analyzes the business requirements of every department to figure out their technology needs and should be highly knowledgeable in both IT and computer systems.

  • Security Architect

    A cybersecurity architect builds, designs, and tests security systems in an organization’s IT network. They should have a full understanding of the company’s IT systems so that they can anticipate any potential security risks, find areas of weakness, and respond effectively to possible security breaches.

    This professional also reviews an organization’s security measures and recommends enhancements. They carry out regular system testing and ensure the 24/7 monitoring of the network’s security. They should have a solid understanding of security protocols, authentication, and security and be experienced in information security and IT risk assessment.

  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

    This position is a senior executive member who is responsible for the cyber security of the organization’s data. Along with the board of directors, they make sure privileged company information will not be compromised through external or internal breaches.

    They work with all business units to determine possible risks and appropriate risk management processes, analyze IT security threats as they are happening, and mitigating the threats. They also make sure newly-acquired technology complies with IT security regulations.

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