Basic Cyber Security Concepts: Where Do I Start?
Interested in the world of cyber security but overwhelmed by the amount of information available? Even in a niche field like cyber security, you may feel a need to bone up on the basics before diving into your first undergraduate class.
Cyber Security, Clarified
The term itself is beginning to sound a bit outdated, but cyber security is an evolving field centered around information sent and received through computer systems. As the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) framework on cybersecurity explains it, a cyber security professional is preoccupied with five facets of securing electronic information:
- Identify threats
- Protect information
- Detect attacks and intrusions
- Respond to attacks and intrusions
- Recover database and information security and rebuild defenses against intrusion
Where to Learn These Basics
The U.S. government spends significant amounts of taxpayer money on fundamental research, then makes that research readily available to big and small businesses, individuals, researchers and, yes, undergraduate students. To prepare for your first foray into a cyber security study program, you can bone up on basics by tapping into these resources:
- NIST’s Cybersecurity Framework
- CSO’s rundown of the five most common cyber attacks
- Reports from The Threat Brief - You can get up to speed fast by reading about the practical problems faced by the front line of cyber security specialists
- Bob Gourley’s e-book, The Cyber Threat: Know the Threat to Beat the Threat - For $0.99 you can get a primer from the Director of Intelligence in the first Department of Defense cyber defense organization, and the lead for cyber intelligence at Cognitio Corp
While the need for securing financial, medical, personal and proprietary information seems obvious (and well publicized) for major companies and international organizations, the NIST framework reminds cyber security professionals that small businesses—which make up 99.7% of American firms, according to the Small Business Administration—require protection, too.
In a market economy dependent on interconnectedness, no potato is too small. Part of the basics of cyber security must include an appreciation for these supply chain risks, says NIST. Working in cyber security today requires the flexibility to help a neighborhood grocer manage credit card transactions, as well as the capability to help a multinational firm secure its sales representatives’ netbooks in 20 different languages.
To earn an entry level slot within the field, a student of cyber security should know some of the basics about several areas:
- Business methods
- Customer service
Nothing in that list speaks to your deep-dive topic, cyber security. You need to be a well-rounded person to be useful to any business. Yes, eventually, you may find that very narrow specialty within cyber security that is both valuable and bottomless, but first, you'll need to be able to conduct business and provide satisfactory and pleasant customer service.
Easing Into Essentials
With a thorough grounding in the general academics required to earn an undergraduate degree, you can start taking essential coursework that feeds your hunger for cyber security:
- Cloud solutions
- Linux administration
- Principles of cybersecurity
- Operating systems
- Routing and switching
- Networks protocols
- Windows client and server
- Ethical hacking
Expertise Needed to work in the Field
Those courses will give you the foundational skills you need to make sense of more sophisticated coursework directly tailored to a successful entry into cyber security. Once you master the basics of how information gets on to electronic systems, how it moves, and how it is recovered and interpreted, you can take courses like these to defend that information:
- Storage area networks and disaster recovery
- Security systems administration
- Advanced defense and countermeasures
- Advanced Linux administration
- Wireless security
Are you a beginner in the world of cyber security? If you want to learn everything you can earning a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Science with a Major in Cyber and Network Security - Cybersecurity Track could be your next step. ECPI University offers this program at an accelerated rate, meaning less time in the classroom and more time looking for work. For more information about this exciting program, connect with a friendly admissions advisor today.
It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!
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