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Information and security specialists work to maintain and protect computer systems and networks.
They implement cybersecurity plans, conduct penetration testing, and investigate breaches to protect data from unauthorized access. A bachelor's degree in information assurance and security prepares graduates for entry-level information security jobs.
The growing field of information security offers well-paid job opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security analysts earn a median salary of over $98,000 per year. The career path benefits from much faster than average job growth, with 32% projected job growth over the next decade.
Our ranking lists the best online information security programs to help prospective students find the right fit for their professional goals and interests. This page also covers information security careers, professional organizations in information assurance, and career advancement opportunities for professionals with an information security degree.
Featured Information Assurance Programs
The Best Information Assurance Degree Programs
These rankings include
#1 Best Online Bachelor’s in Information Assurance
Kennesaw State University
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
A public institution, Kennesaw State University operates a BBA in information security and assurance program from its main campus in Georgia. Distance learners choose from 56 programs offered online at the school. The online information assurance program provides a high-quality education in a flexible format.
At the school, online learners can choose classes that do not require live sessions. Majors participate in career counseling and academic advising. Internships help distance learners gain hands-on experience. Programs work with enrollees to approve local internship sites.
The school awards accredited bachelor's degrees to graduates from its online programs. Graduates of the information security and assurance program can pursue in-demand jobs.
Kennesaw State University Fast Facts:
Online Student Enrollment: 18,360
Total Bachelor's Programs: 90
Online Bachelor's Programs: 14
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 21-to-1
Admission Rate: 75%
Online Bachelor's in Information Assurance and Security Ranking Guidelines
We selected the following schools based on the quality of their programs and the range of courses provided. We also considered school awards, rankings, and reputations.
What Is Information Security?
Information security professionals protect data from unauthorized access by designing secure systems to store data and protect against cyberattacks. As the economy's dependence on networks and computer systems increases, data security has become a critical concern in every industry.
A specialty within the broader field of information technology, information security also includes multiple focused concentrations. For example, within the field of information security, cybersecurity professionals protect data from cyberattacks, network security keeps an organization's networks secure, and application security focuses on data security for web or mobile applications.
Information security professionals can also specialize in areas like risk management, data loss prevention, and secure software development. They can also work in cryptography, a field devoted to securing data, or cyber forensics, where they reconstruct data breaches and track stolen information.
As hackers become increasingly sophisticated, information security professionals must create innovative solutions to protect data. In addition to preventing unauthorized access, information security must also stop disruptions in service, the disclosure of private data, and unauthorized modifications to an organization's systems. A bachelor's degree in information security, information assurance, or cybersecurity meets the requirements for entry-level roles.
An information security degree trains undergraduates in cybersecurity and information assurance. During a bachelor's program in information assurance and security, students learn how to protect networks and systems from cyberattacks and maintain IT infrastructure for organizations across many industries.
Information assurance and security majors take courses in cyberdefense, ethical hacking, and computer forensics. The curriculum may also cover security management, operating systems security, and defense against cyberattacks. These courses provide the knowledge and skills required to analyze an organization's information security needs, identify cybersecurity threats, and create recovery plans after a security breach.
Some universities offer an information assurance and cybersecurity specialization within an information technology major, while others offer majors in information security. Both options provide focused training for information security jobs. Prospective students can enroll in an information assurance degree if they have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Some schools also require standardized test scores.
Earning a bachelor's degree in information assurance and security generally takes four years for full-time students, but transfer students with prior college credit can earn the degree in less time. In addition to coursework in information technology, information assurance, and cybersecurity, undergraduates complete general education requirements designed to build critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
What Is the Difference Between Information Assurance and Cybersecurity?
The fields of information assurance and cybersecurity share several key characteristics. Both fields promote the security of information and protect against cyberattacks and data breaches. The field of cybersecurity focuses on preventing unauthorized access of computer networks and private data. Cybersecurity professionals identify potential risks, conduct security tests, and create plans to prevent data breaches.
In contrast, information assurance predates the computer age and includes the protection of hard copy documents in addition to digital records. Information assurance makes sure that authorized users can access data while preventing unauthorized access.
Both fields require training in security technology. Entry-level information assurance jobs -- like information security analyst -- typically require a bachelor's degree in information assurance, information security, or cybersecurity. Prospective students considering a cybersecurity degree can learn more about the best online bachelor's programs in cybersecurity.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Information Assurance and Security Degree?
Information assurance and security is a growing career path with opportunities in many fields. For example, a bachelor's in information assurance and security prepares graduates for in-demand jobs like information security analyst. The degree also leads to opportunities in IT management, computer systems administration, and network architecture.
After completing a bachelor's degree in information assurance and security, professionals should also consider earning a certification or a graduate degree. Certifications in cybersecurity or information systems security demonstrate advanced skills, and many employers prefer to hire candidates who hold certification.
A graduate degree can help information assurance professionals advance their careers. Master's programs, including online master's in management information systems or online master's in information assurance and security programs, can lead to more responsibilities and higher earning potential. Professionals considering management roles can also earn an MBA with a concentration in information assurance or cybersecurity.
Information Security Jobs
Professionals with an information security degree can pursue a variety of careers, including information security analyst. With a bachelor's degree and IT experience, professionals can also advance to roles like IT security manager.
Information security jobs offer strong starting salaries and high demand. According to BLS data, information security analysts should see 32% projected job growth over the next decade. The following list provides an overview of information security jobs.
Computer and Information Systems Managers
Computer and information systems managers, also known as IT managers, oversee an organization's computer-related activities. They determine the organization's IT goals and implement computer systems that meet those goals. Computer and information systems managers also research new technologies and manage other IT professionals, such as information security analysts and computer systems analysts.
In the information security field, computer and information systems managers make sure an organization's network and data remain secure. For example, IT security managers oversee an organization's network and data security, develop programs to prevent security threats, and educate employees on data security. Most positions require a bachelor's degree in information science and IT work experience.
Computer Systems Administrators
Computer systems administrators manage daily operations for an organization's computer networks. They install and maintain computer systems, including network hardware and software. Computer systems administrators must determine an organization's needs and ensure the system meets those needs. They also optimize computer system performance and make upgrades or repairs.
In addition to installing and monitoring computer systems, computer systems administrators oversee security permissions and train users on accessing information in the system. Employers typically require a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field, and many expect professional certification.
Information Security Analysts
Information security analysts protect computer networks and systems by implementing security measures. They monitor an organization's networks, identify security breaches, and investigate cyberattacks. Information security analysts then create reports documenting any security breaches and the damages they cause.
As part of their information security responsibilities, information security analysts install software designed to protect information and conduct simulated attacks to identify vulnerabilities in the system. They also create security standards for their organizations. Most positions require a bachelor's degree in information assurance or information security, and many employers prefer candidates with professional certifications.
Network architects create data communication networks for organizations. Also known as network engineers, they review an organization's business plan to determine the computer network needs and design a layout to meet those needs. Network architects manage digital networks and solve problems. They also research new technologies and meet with management to discuss upgrades to.
When designing, network architects must incorporate information security techniques to protect systems from bad agents. Network architects typically hold a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field, and many positions require professional experience in IT. Some employers prefer professional certification for network architect positions.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Become an Information Security Analyst?
Information security analysts typically hold a bachelor's degree in information assurance, cybersecurity, or a related field. The career path requires specialized training in information security.
What Can You Do With a Degree in Information Assurance?
An information assurance degree prepares graduates for careers in information security, cybersecurity, and network security. Graduates can also become IT security managers.
What Is Information Security?
The field of information security protects private data from breaches. Organizations in every sector, including the government, depend on information security professionals to prevent cyberattacks and keep information secure.
What Is the Difference Between Information Assurance and Cybersecurity?
Information assurance protects both digital and analog data, such as hard copies of records, while cybersecurity focuses on computer and network security. Both fields require strong programming and computer skills.
What Is a Bachelor's in Information Assurance and Security Degree?
A bachelor's degree in information assurance and security trains students to prevent data breaches, protect private information, and design secure networks and systems. Graduates can pursue a variety of information security jobs.
How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Bachelor of Information Assurance and Security Degree?
Earning a bachelor's in information assurance and security typically takes four years for a full-time student. Accelerated programs offer a faster route to the degree.
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