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Cyber security: a career to consider

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Cyber security: a career to consider

The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center.

The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center.

J. Scott Applewhite (AP Photo)

The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center.

J. Scott Applewhite (AP Photo)

J. Scott Applewhite (AP Photo)

The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center.

Jaclyn Gazewood, Entertainment Editor

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Cyber security, also known as “information technology security,” focuses on protecting computers, networks, programs, and other data from unintended or unauthorized access, change, or destruction. Government agencies, the military, financial institutions, hospitals, small businesses and other groups process and store a great deal of confidential information on computers. With the growing volume and sophistication of cyber attacks, continuous attention is required to protect sensitive business and personal information.

Protecting the security and integrity of data is vital for businesses and organizations, sending the demand for qualified cybersecurity analysts to a very high level which will most likely continue to grow in the future. Since almost everything is done electronically, sensitive documents and confidential information is always at risk of being interfered with. Cyber attacks can cause huge losses of time and money – as well as trust – each year.

In 2016, the United States government accused the Russian government of interfering with the presidential election. After the event, it left both countries skeptical of the other. Cyber attacks don’t only happen to major companies or government agencies, though. Even small businesses can be targeted. That’s why it’s important for them to keep their customers’ data secure to protect their brands.

Without constant monitoring and analysis, businesses, public organizations, government agencies and individuals are all vulnerable to harmful infiltration on their computer systems or websites. Cybersecurity analysts work to protect websites and networks from cyber threats such as malware, denial-of-service attacks, hacks and viruses. They also install software, such as firewalls, to help protect computer networks, interpret and establish security technologies, and create the information security framework and architecture that protects sensitive data from threats. Their responsibilities are continually expanding as the number of cyberattacks increases

Because of this, the cybersecurity field of employment is exploding. Colleges are adding the program to their degree programs all over the country. Even Columbia Basin College has a growing department that offers a four year degree in the program.

According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) nationwide, cybersecurity analysts have an average annual wage of $93,250 as of May 2015. Job opportunities can be found across areas and industries, from healthcare to financial services and insurance to education. A bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming or a similar field is typically a minimum educational requirement for cybersecurity analysts. Some employers may also look for applicants with advanced training and skills.

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Cyber security: a career to consider