Why Is Cyber Security Important?

Given the number of industries impacted by cybercrime, and the ongoing evolution of cyberattacks, one might expect cyber security to be a top concern for most organizations. However, would it surprise you to know that only 50 percent of businesses actually have a cyber security plan in place?

Source: Check Point Software Technologies, Blog: Cyberattacks, 2021.

According to a recent Forbes article, not only are many organizations woefully under-equipped to deal with a cyber security threat, half of them don’t even have a functional cyber security plan. This statistic is alarming when you consider that cybercriminals attempting to breach an organization’s network via external attack are successful 93 percent of the time — usually in as little as two days.

Even more concerning is the fact that the most significant cyber security impacts result from the inadvertent actions of employees. Specifically, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), over $43 billion has been lost through Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks since 2016, where cybercriminals gain access to secure networks through phishing and social engineering.

So, while many agree that cybercrime is a threat and organizations need to protect themselves, it appears that there is significant opportunity for improvement — and opportunity for those interested in cyber security careers.

What Is Cyber Security All About?

The history of cyber security began long before the internet. In the 1970s, a computer researcher named Bob Thomas developed a program called Creeper, which he used to test whether a program could move across the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). Creeper left a breadcrumb trail as it traversed the network, and was then “chased” and deleted by a program called Reaper, developed by researcher Ray Tomlinson. However, both Creeper and Reaper had to be physically loaded into ARPANET, so physical access security measures were deemed sufficient to protect these standalone networks from viruses. Even as the use of email became prevalent across these isolated networks, restricting read/write drive access was thought to be an effective cyber security measure to protect networks.

However, with the dawn of the internet and Internet of Things (IoT), the nature of cyber security changed significantly. Viruses gained additional access points and new types of malware, such as spyware, adware, ransomware, and bots, became common. As a result, cyber security best practices and tools had to evolve into what we consider modern cyber security today.

According to IBM, cyber security is the practice of protecting critical systems and sensitive information from digital attacks; combating threats against networked systems and applications whether those threats originate from inside or outside of an organization. And, in response to the evolution of technology, its use, and its vulnerabilities, specialized types (or layers) of cyber security protection have evolved to include

Cloud security: Protects and encrypts cloud data in storage, in transit, and in use.

Application security: Protects both on-premises and cloud applications from cyber attacks.

Network security: Protects networks from cyber attacks.

Information security: Protects data assets from unauthorized access, exposure, or theft.

Critical infrastructure security: Protects computer systems, networks, and other key assets.

Storage security: Protects and encrypts unchangeable, isolated data copies to assist in data recovery efforts after natural disasters or cyber attacks.

Mobile security: Protects mobile communications and associated data.

End-user security education: Training and education of employees and IoT users to follow security policies and avoid social engineering and malware risks.

For many cyber security professionals, as well as those wondering how to get into cyber security, initial cybersecurity training provides general knowledge and best practices across the range of cyber security types. Then, as their careers progress, cyber professionals may choose to specialize in specific types of cyber security tailored to their interest and expertise.

Cyber Safety and the Issues With the Internet Today

One common factor across most types of cyber security is the threat cybercriminals pose to cyber safety due to issues with the internet today. These cyber safety issues can be hard to contain as threats across the digital landscape are constantly changing. As a result, cyber security best practices must evolve in tandem; innovating detection and prevention methods to keep cybercriminals in check.

One of the most serious cyber safety threats relates to the inherent risk of storing personal and global business information online. If not secured in accordance with cyber security best practices, this information can be a treasure trove for scammers and cybercriminals. Sensitive personal data can be accessed and stolen by criminals, leading to identity theft or blackmail, and businesses can be crippled through various types of cyber security attacks.

Cyber Security in the News

Inevitably, when large corporations become the victims of cybercrime, stories about cyber security in the news increase. However, a strong cyber security posture requires that cyber security be top-of-mind for organizations every day to avoid becoming the next victim.

Here are just a few examples of infamous data breaches in recent history.

In 2013, Yahoo reported a data breach that compromised 1 billion accounts, including security questions and answers. In October of 2017, Yahoo’s investigation findings updated previous estimates to 3 billion user accounts hacked. Their investigation also revealed that users’ payment and bank information had not been compromised due to alignment with cyber security best practices keeping that information separate from the compromised data.

Some 700 million LinkedIn users’ data was listed for sale on the dark web; reportedly affecting over 90 percent of LinkedIn’s user base. The data included details such as email addresses, phone numbers, geolocation, social media accounts, and gender.

In 2013, credit score giant Experian’s subsidiary Court Ventures experienced a breach affecting 200 million personal records. Through social engineering, hackers convinced staff to provide access to internal databases, where hackers were able to obtain credit card information and social security numbers that they later sold on the dark web.

Unfortunately, Experian experienced another breach in 2015 where the names, addresses, social security numbers, and passport numbers of 15 million people were stolen. Not only did this erode public trust in Experian, but because these records were collected through TMobile while conducting credit checks for financing, the reputation of the mobile carrier was severely tarnished as well.

Cyber Security in Business

Big corporations aren’t immune to data breaches, especially in the finance and social media sectors. As a result, prioritizing cyber security in business is essential for corporate risk assessment and deterrence.

According to Statista, mobile social media users will increase to about 4.4 million by 2025. So, it makes sense that hacks via mobile devices have seen an uptick as hackers infiltrate users through this channel. From banking, to gaming, to social media apps; hackers can steal information, but they can also spread misinformation through social media channels. For example, bots and trolls can launch campaigns to distribute fake news, false claims, or counterfeit goods.

Luckily, there is a list of the fastest-growing cyber security companies in 2022 that are successful at helping companies stay cyber secure. It’s because of this success that these companies are also regarded as potentially good cyber security stocks as well.

CrowdStrike specializes in next-gen cyber threat elimination, response and recovery services, and security for cloud processes and data. It has also rolled out digital risk monitoring, vulnerability assessment, and automated malware analysis solutions to help companies maintain a proactive stance on cyber threats. As of 2020, the company acquired three firms to strengthen their data security and Falcon protection programs. According to MarketWatch, the company cleared more than $2 billion in annual sales in 2022.

Mimecast offers cloud-based email security for Microsoft environments — specifically Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Exchange. Its other products include AI cyber security tools, domain-based message authentication reporting and conformance (DMARC) analyzers, and threat intelligence. Mimecast’s most recent annual revenue report for 2022 was $151.6 million.

Recording a whopping $204.8 million in annual revenue year-to-date for 2022, SentinelOne is designed to protect enterprise-sized companies from ransomware and other malware threats. The cyber security company is adept at employing AI technology and uses machine learning to monitor personal computers, IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and cloud processes and data. In addition, SentinelOne continues to acquire cloud-scale and data analytics platforms to bolster its already robust cyber security arsenal.

Cyber Security Jobs Outlook

Hackers are creative in infiltrating an organization’s computer networks and systems. As a result, keeping systems secure can be a moving target, requiring equally talented cyber security experts to tackle hackers’ attempts.

Luckily, cyber security boot camps train cyber security professionals to meet the challenge. The cyber security field is increasingly in need of people to employ the most relevant cyber security measures to keep information from landing in the hands of hackers.

One of the perks of cyber security is the option to work in whichever industry you prefer because cyber crimes aren’t industry-specific. Though the demand for cyber security analysts is highest in the finance, government, and healthcare industries, specialists are essential in gaming, HR, and news agencies, just to name a few; the list is endless. This demand is born out in a number of articles and studies. For example, information security analyst jobs topped the 100 Best Jobs of 2022 according to U.S. News & World Report.

In addition, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) demand for information security analysts is projected to grow an amazing 33 percent from 2020 to 2030 — a faster growth rate than almost all other occupations. And, given that demand, it’s no surprise that the median annual wage for information security analysts is over $103,000.

However, the demand and monetary prospects aren’t the only thing that makes the cyber security field attractive. The career path into an entry-level position is relatively affordable for those hoping to hop into cyber security, but don’t have the time and financial resources for a traditional computer science degree.

How to Get Into Cyber Security

Many people ask “What is cyber security all about?” Now that you know why cyber security is important and what it is, you may be wondering how to get into cyber security. There are multiple educational options to consider in order to gain the in-demand skills you’ll need to succeed in your future cyber security career.

Colleges and boot camps offer the technical skills you’ll need for a solid start. Some people opt for a traditional degree in computer science or a related major, while others choose boot camps that will provide training in a fraction of the time. Though there is no right or wrong path toward a cyber security job, the technical skills you’ll need include IT, programming, and hacking skills.

A graphic highlighting three technical skills needed to get into cyber security.

But, in addition to technical skills, the best candidates for top jobs in cyber security also possess soft skills. These skills include flexibility, creativity, conflict resolution, written and verbal communication, and collaboration just to name a few. And, though you can’t earn a degree in soft skills, taking a boot camp can help hone these skills through real-world, team project work.

Why Is Cyber Security Important FAQs

If you’re looking for concise FAQs about cyber security –– especially if you’re interested in discovering why cyber security is important, here is a list of the top-searched queries related to the field.

There are no shortcuts in securing networks, computer systems, and apps. Hackers are smart, creative, and relentless — and cyber security experts must be smarter, more creative, and even more relentless. Additionally, even though the cyber security field can be challenging, attaining the training and education at a cyber security boot camp can be an enriching, effective way to gain the in-demand skills you need.

Generally speaking, Americans have adopted the one-word spelling while those using Global English spell it as two words. For example, the AP style guide lists “cybersecurity” as one word; however, both are technically correct.

Cyber security requirements may include computer science, knowledge of programming language(s) and coding, hacking, and an in-depth knowledge of operating systems. These skills can be learned in boot camps or traditional degree programs. Strong attention to detail and time management are also needed, in addition to soft skills such as interpersonal communication, collaboration, resilience, conflict management, and creativity.

Some of the most common cyber security issues include:

  • Malware: Including spyware, adware, ransomware, and bots, malware is used to infiltrate systems and restrict access, damage, or steal sensitive data assets.
  • Phishing: Utilizes corporate or personal email to trick readers into clicking links which release malware into their systems or otherwise fraudulently obtain sensitive data.
  • Smishing: Similar to phishing, users are tricked into clicking on links that have been texted to them, unleashing malware or otherwise fraudulently obtaining sensitive data.

As of 2021, women make up a quarter of the cyber security workforce, but their numbers are growing. As the need for cyber security professionals increases, the opportunities for women to fill those positions grow with it.

There are a number of organizations that work to encourage women to join the cyber security field, including:

  • CybHER®: Encouraging women and girls in cybersecurity
  • Inteligenca: A nonprofit organization that supports women to make career changes in cybersecurity.
  • The Women CyberSecurity Society Inc. (WCSS): A networked community focused on providing support, resources, mentorship, guidance, and training throughout women’s cybersecurity careers.

Become a Cyber Security Professional Today

As the number of cyber attacks continues to grow, and are perpetrated by increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals, the need for cyber security professionals becomes greater and greater.

However, the best part of cyber security is that anyone from any background can get into cyber security and pursue a variety of available roles. Whether you choose a traditional degree or cyber security boot camp, it’s time to begin your cyber security career journey today.

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