Lauren Willison

Lauren Willison Director of Admissions at Florida Polytechnic University, is responsible for supporting the Vice Provost of Enrollment in managing recruitment efforts, and developing and coordinating university events both on and off campus events. Here she takes a look at the ways in which security concerns are defining the modern IT sector…

Security threats from technology are a growing concern. Mobile and wearable devices, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) make it easier to transfer vast amounts of data quickly, but require stricter security protocols to prevent breaches. If not detected immediately, identity theft, data corruption, malware and private information leaks can have devastating and costly effects.

Breaches are unavoidable, but computer information technology (IT) departments can minimize security risks. From the invention of the Internet to the smartphones we carry today, IT has kept up with emerging technology and taken the lead on security. Here’s how:

The evolving nature of the computer IT industry

Modern IT professionals rely on extensive operating system and server software knowledge to create secure systems. These systems consist of applications, software and operating systems working in tandem to improve business operations and reduce security threats.

The rapid diffusion of computers has led the IT industry to be one of the largest and fastest-growing  in the world. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information technology occupations are projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than average. More specifically, the projected job growth rate for information security analysts is even higher at a steady 18 percent. This is partially due to their ability to quickly implement robust security programs and protocols in an industry known for its swift changes. The rapid increase of online communications, and the sheer amount of data that needs to be protected, can also be attributed to the increasing job demand.

In the general IT realm, professionals must have a background in system and network configuration, software installation and programming languages like SQL, Oracle, Java, and Linux. However, as employers continue to bump security up on the priority list, the demand for computer security knowledge also rises. Experts in network security, mobile or application security, cryptography, data analytics and behavior analysis are needed to understand the security pitfalls of emerging technology.

Additionally, the lack of employable talent in IT security has led many universities to offer computer security degree programs or related certificates. Courses in computer programming, programming language, network security, application security, ethics, behavior analysis and cryptography explore best practices and concepts to address common security problems. These programs offer a practical education to help students build the skills needed to fill the talent void.

Security challenges in modern computer IT

Companies rely on their IT departments to choose hardware and software products that not only integrate smoothly, but also offer maximum data protection and efficiency. This includes making executive decisions about moving IT services to third-party cloud service providers. According to a CompTIA Trends in Cloud Computing study, more than 90 percent of U.S. companies are using some form of cloud computing. Despite this wide-scale cloud adoption, many companies are still wary of security flaws. Cloud security, and a host of other cloud-centric jobs, will emerge as one of the top specialized computer IT security careers as the shift to cloud computing continues.

Information technology is quickly shifting the focus from servers to services. Instead of a one-size-fits all system on premises, IT services continue to be dispersed both on- and off-site. This separates infrastructure, systems and applications. Cloud providers may store data across numerous datacenter locations around the globe to boost security, but the owner of the data still has full access.

No matter what direction technology heads in, it’s important to remember IT’s primary function: building secure and efficient systems to improve business outcomes. IT leaders are responsible for finding infrastructure, platform and software solutions that fit quality, integration, budget and security demands.

The number of ways data can be transferred – and the breakneck speed at which data is transferred – is a cause for security concern for many organizations. Today’s IT experts partner with business leaders to determine needs and advise on best practices and solutions, particularly for keeping data secure. In an industry full of potential threats, computer IT experts are the best defense to keep business-critical data as secure as possible.