The Best Online Schools for Information Assurance
| Staff Writers
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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.
|#1||Drexel University Philadelphia, PA|
|#2||Champlain College Burlington, VT|
|#3||Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA|
|#4||Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI|
|#5||Dakota State University Madison, SD|
|#6||California Baptist University Riverside, CA|
|#7||Lewis University Romeoville, IL|
|#8||Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY|
|#9||Wilmington University New Castle, DE|
|#10||University of Maine at Fort Kent Fort Kent, ME|
Featured Online Schools
The Best Online Bachelor’s in Information Assurance and Security Degree Programs
Drexel University's flexible, fully online BS in computer and security technology prepares students for careers in cybersecurity and computer system administration. The curriculum explores topics like programming, mathematics, and informatics. Typical students include IT professionals who want to advance their careers and other working professionals who have already completed an associate degree.
Drexel's program combines theoretical coursework with practical training. Required courses include human-centered design processes and methods, software project management, and database management systems. Students can choose a concentration in computing technology or computing security. Drexel may award credit toward the bachelor's degree for prior learning, including IT certifications in Windows 2008+, A+, CCNA, and Oracle 9i DBA.
Graduates work for government, corporate, and nonprofit organizations in roles like information security analyst, forensic computer analyst, IT security engineer, and security systems administrator. Program graduates may also apply to Drexel's master's in cybersecurity program.
Admission requirements include at least 24 college credits earned in the past 15 years with a 2.0 minimum GPA. Computer science, information science, information technology, science, and mathematics courses must not be older than 10 years to count toward transfer credit.
Drexel University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Champlain College offers a fully online, career-relevant BS in computer and information systems designed for working adults. The flexible, asynchronous program gives students 24/7 access to class materials and includes two seven-week terms each semester. Learners spend about 10-17 hours on coursework per class each week.
The 120-credit curriculum emphasizes practical learning and develops in-demand competencies in scripting languages and web services, project management tools, and database management systems. Students also gain interpersonal, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. The program has practitioner faculty with real-world experience and offers an online student support team.
The curriculum covers a variety of programming languages, applications, and platforms. Students take classes like information systems development, information systems analysis and design, and usability in website and software design. Computer and information systems majors also develop subject matter expertise by earning specialized certificates in areas like C++ programming, Java programming, computer forensics, or Linux administration.
Champlain prefers applicants with a minimum 2.5 GPA, though it admits students who do not meet this requirement on a case-by-case basis. Additional requirements include high school or college transcripts, answers to short essay questions, and a resume. Applicants with a native language other than English must demonstrate English proficiency. Program graduates find jobs as IT systems managers, application developers, programmer analysts, and software developers. The college offers a discounted tuition rate to active-duty military.
Champlain College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
Central Washington University offers 12 flexible, online bachelor's completion programs for working adults. Distance learners can earn a student-centered BS in information technology and administrative management from CWU's College of Education and Professional Studies. This in-demand, completely online program fills quickly each term and offers quality instruction and an engaging, cutting-edge curriculum.
Many information technology and administrative management majors continue working while earning their bachelor's degrees. The IT and administrative management curriculum explores issues like network security, team leadership and supervision, cybersecurity, and network maintenance. Students benefit from one-on-one, personalized advising throughout the program and can gain technical, supervision, and leadership skills. The program also provides internship opportunities that provide practical experience.
Admission requirements include a minimum 2.5 GPA and official high school or college transcripts. Applicants with fewer than 40 transferable college quarter credits must submit ACT or SAT scores. The university accepts students with a GPA between 2.0-2.49 on a case-by-case basis and may require supplemental application materials.
CWU's out-of-state online students pay the same tuition as in-state learners. The university offers four application deadlines and start dates each year in spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Central Washington University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
Davenport University offers 35 flexible online programs in fields like accounting, health information management, and sports management. A private, nonprofit institution founded in 1866, DU prepares students to succeed in high-demand careers. The university's 120-credit, accredited bachelor of business administration in computer information systems combines technical skills with business knowledge. Most students graduate within four years and find careers as computer developers.
The program's curriculum emphasizes three programming languages: C++, C#, and Java. Students also explore data analytics, project management, and finance. The program offers concentrations in web and mobile development, programming, database and analytics, or secure software development. Required courses include discrete structures, management foundations, object-oriented programming with C++, and operating systems.
Computer information systems majors who want a deeper understanding of applied mathematics to gain a professional competitive edge can pursue a mathematics minor. DU awards academic credit toward the degree to students with certain certifications in the technology field. The university's small online class sizes allow instructors to give students personalized, one-on-one attention.
Admission requirements include official high school transcripts or GED scores and ACT or SAT scores. New students can start the program in fall, winter, or spring each year.
Davenport University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Founded in 1881 as a teacher training school, Dakota State University focuses on providing technology-focused, career-relevant online degrees. The university's bachelor of science in computer information systems provides a solid foundation in both business and computing. Students gain a working understanding of database management systems and programming and learn how to use technology to solve business problems.
The curriculum focuses on project management, application development, and database administration. Required courses include hardware, visualization, and data communication; information systems planning and management; business statistics; and legal environment of business. Students learn to use SQL to understand data and work with client and server-side web and .NET programming. The program also offers specializations in project management, business analytics, and application development.
DSU's CIS Advisory Board has regular input on curriculum updates to ensure that students learn about emerging issues and new trends in computer information systems. Graduates pursue careers as application developers, network security analysts, information systems managers, and business data analysts.
Admission requirements include high school or college transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, and AP or CLEP scores. DSU accepts applications year-round, and new students can start the program in fall or spring. International applicants must meet additional admission requirements.
Dakota State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
A private, Christian university founded in 1950 by the California Southern Baptist Convention, California Baptist University serves more than 11,000 students annually. The university's programs offer a Christ-centered approach with Christian faculty members. CBU offers 40 online programs, including a bachelor of science in computer information technology degree-completion program. Students in this program develop problem-solving, strategic, and critical thinking skills.
The curriculum explores computer security, project management, information security, and programming. Required courses include legal and ethical practices in information technology, e-commerce systems development, advanced business networking, and information processing systems. All learners at CBU must also take an overview of the Bible and foundations of Christian thought.
Students gain experience developing website applications, identifying network problems, managing databases, and determining which computer hardware best suits different situations. Graduates can find work as computer and information research scientists, computer network architects, computer support specialists, or computer system analysts.
Admission requirements include a high school diploma or its equivalent, a minimum 2.0 GPA, and at least 24 transferable credits. Applicants must submit a completed application, official transcripts, and a completed FAFSA. Some incoming learners may qualify for a fast-track option. CBU accepts up to 100 transfer credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA.
California Baptist University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
Designed for working professionals, Lewis University's completely online, flexible information security management BS degree provides practical experience working with technologies and tools that protect information security for organizations. The curriculum explores network security, risk management, data communications, and ethical hacking.
Required courses in the 128-credit curriculum include business continuity and disaster recovery planning, security incident and event management, IT operations security, and security management practices. Students gain 24/7 access to Lewis's Cloud Lab, which lets them connect remotely to virtual machines and complete database management, hacking, programming, and forensics assignments. Lewis also offers the degree in an accelerated format for learners who want to graduate more quickly.
The program emphasizes ethics and encourages students to think about moral issues related to information security. Well-known companies in the Chicago area provide internship opportunities for information security management majors at Lewis. Students also benefit from small class sizes and supportive faculty.
Graduates pursue careers as information security analysts, network administrators, computer forensics investigators, and IT security project managers. The degree also prepares students to apply for industry certifications like security+, certified ethical hacker, and certified information security manager.
The National Security Organization and the Department of Homeland Security recognize Lewis as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance. Information security students at Lewis can earn scholarships from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and National Security Agency.
Lewis University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1950, Mercy College offers more than 90 undergraduate programs and serves students of all faiths. The college's online BS in computer information systems teaches students to use computers to solve business problems. Dedicated faculty members advise computer information systems majors on what courses to take and connect them with internship and career opportunities.
The curriculum includes courses in information systems within organizations, systems analysis and design, operating systems, and artificial intelligence. Students learn to analyze business needs, design computerized information system solutions, and prepare cost-benefit analyses. They also gain communication, teamwork, and evaluation skills. Full-time learners can earn the 120-credit bachelor's degree in four years.
Students must complete a prerequisite course before enrolling in any introductory computer science courses. Mercy also requires a 15-credit residency in which students must complete 200-level or higher classes. Undergraduate computer information systems majors can take a maximum of two graduate-level courses to meet elective requirements.
Transfer students can bring in up to 75 credits from a two-year institution or 90 credits from a four-year university. Mercy accepts up to six upper-level business transfer credits toward the degree. Admission requirements include a completed application form and high school or college transcripts. Graduates qualify for careers like information security analyst, programmer, database administrator, and helpdesk specialist.
Mercy College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Future IT leaders can pursue Wilmington University's fully online BS in information systems management. Students gain technical skills and learn how to analyze business processes for continuous improvement. The program provides practical experience and a solid foundation in using cutting-edge technologies. New courses start every eight weeks, offering a flexible schedule for working students.
The 120-credit curriculum focuses on data warehousing, business intelligence, and information technology practices and applications. Required courses include information systems theory and practice, strategic application of information technology, and principles and practice of information security. The program does not include any residency or internship requirements.
Students can choose an accelerated option that lets them complete a 15-credit graduate certificate in management information systems or technology project management at the same time as the bachelor's. Students who complete a graduate certificate can also apply those credits toward Wilmington's master's in information systems technologies.
Wilmington awards credit for prior learning, professional experience, and IT certifications, allowing students to earn the bachelor's in information systems management more quickly and affordably. The university accepts up to 90 transfer credits.
Wilmington's open admissions process means that applicants do not need to submit standardized test scores or meet a minimum GPA. Admitted students can choose from six flexible start dates each year. Graduates can pursue global IT careers as information security analysts, computer and information research scientists, and data analysts.
Wilmington University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
The University of Maine at Fort Kent got its start in 1878 as a training school to prepare bilingual teachers to serve French-speakers in rural Maine. The small, public institution celebrates Franco-American/Acadian culture and promotes rural, sustainable development.
UMFK offers an online bachelor of science in computer applications with a concentration in information security through its distance education program. The degree emphasizes database administration, software engineering, and systems management.
This BS program prepares students to design, implement, and maintain computer applications and related technologies. Required major courses include introduction to programming, systems analysis and design, computer programming with Java, and computer organizations and assembly language. Graduates can become computer and information systems managers, computer programmers, computer user support specialists, or software developers.
This 120-credit, online BS requires undergraduate students to have a minimum 2.0 GPA and at least 45 upper level credits with a grade of 'C' or better before enrolling in the major. The program includes general education, major, and minor requirements. Students must earn at least 30 credits at UMFK, but the university may accept up to 90 transfer credits toward the information security degree. Students can choose from minors across the university, including criminal justice, geographic information systems, cultural studies, and social science.
Admission requirements for UMFK include a high school diploma or GED. The university recommends that applicants complete college preparatory courses in English, social science, mathematics, and a foreign language.
The University of Maine at Fort Kent is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
The University of Illinois Springfield offers a fully online BS in computer science that includes a concentration in information systems security. Students receive a solid foundation in the major principles and practices of computer science, including data structures and algorithms, programming languages, and software engineering. The program offers two start dates per year in the spring and fall.
The 120-credit curriculum includes required courses in foundations of network security and information assurance, Windows network administration, and systems programming languages. Students must also complete capstones in software engineering and systems security and information assurance.
The program includes an evaluation component that starts with an entrance assessment in the first semester and ends with an exit assessment in the final semester. The degree prepares students for graduate study in computer science or related fields. Graduates also qualify for entry-level computer science jobs.
The program accepts applications year-round. Admission requirements include a minimum 2.0 GPA and a statement of purpose. Applicants also must successfully complete two semesters of Java programming and one semester each of calculus, statistics, and discrete or finite math. The university accepts up to 90 transfer credits toward the degree.
The University of Illinois Springfield is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Created by a group of U.S. governors, Western Governors University offers student-centered, competency-based bachelor's and master's degrees. The university designed the curriculum for its fully online network operations and security BS with the help of leading IT employers. The program develops network operations, network design, and security management skills and prepares students for IT careers. Graduates can work as information security analysts, digital architects, and network engineers.
Learners in this self-paced program take courses in network and security, technical communication, leadership and management, and web development. The program also requires a capstone project and independent work with support from WGU faculty. Students must complete at least 12 competency units (3-4 courses) during each six-month term, and over 50% of students graduate within 36 months.
The program's curriculum includes options for 11 industry certifications, including CompTIAA+, Amazon AWS SysOps administration associate, and CompTIA secure infrastructure specialist. The program's key subject areas include introduction to programming in Python, Linux foundations, and scripting and programming foundations.
The program offers start dates on the first of every month. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or its equivalent. Prospective students also need one of the following: an associate degree from an accredited institution, two years of IT work experience, a transferable IT certification, or previous IT coursework.
Western Governors University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
A Southern Baptist-affiliated school founded in 1908, Wayland Baptist University provides online, career-relevant undergraduate and graduate education to more than 2,800 students around the world every year. The university combines faith with learning in a distinctively Christian setting.
WBU's online computer information systems bachelor's degree allows students who have occupational training or technical certifications through the U.S. military or their workplaces to receive college credit. Military students may receive academic credit for DANTES and CLEP testing and professional or technical training. Active-duty service members can continue their studies during deployments, and WBU also offers major financial assistance for military members.
Distance learners can access 24/7 technical support, online librarians, tutoring, a writing center, and personal advising. The online bachelor's program in computer information systems offers affordable tuition and financial aid opportunities, small class sizes, and 11-week terms, which happen four times per year.
Admission requirements include official transcripts from all previously attended colleges, official military transcripts (if applicable), and official high school transcripts for applicants with fewer than 24 credits of prior college coursework. Prospective students may also need to submit ACT or SAT scores.
Wayland Baptist University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
One of the most affordable private universities in the country, Bellevue University focuses on career-relevant education. BU's online BS in computer information systems includes coursework in computer programming, databases and information systems, and management of information systems. Students gain the foundational knowledge and technical skills needed to advance their career goals. BU is transfer-friendly, awarding academic credit for prior learning, professional experience, and CLEP testing.
The 127-credit curriculum emphasizes applied learning and features faculty with real-world experience. Students take courses in systems design and analysis and implementation of information processes, systems, components, and software programs. The program fosters communication, teamwork, and project management skills and prepares graduates for both technology careers and graduate study.
The degree also features courses in the management and design of database systems, business telecommunications, information technology project management, and applied statistics. The program offers concentrations in application development, business intelligence, cybersecurity, and networking. All BU students must complete the Kirkland Signature Series: three courses in freedom and responsibility, American vision and values, and tradition and change.
Admission requirements include a high school diploma or its equivalent. Transfer students must submit official transcripts from all previously attended postsecondary institutions. Applicants from outside of the U.S. must undergo a foreign credit evaluation process. Distance learners at BU all pay the same flat tuition rate regardless of location.
Bellevue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
One of the 50 biggest public universities in the country, Kennesaw State University serves nearly 38,000 students annually and offers 150 degrees. KSU's bachelor of business administration in information security and assurance degree teaches students how to manage risk and protect information assets from threats. Faculty members from the Coles School of Business engage with information security experts to create a relevant curriculum that blends high-demand technological skills with business savvy.
The curriculum covers topics like information systems defense, authentication, confidentiality, and risk assessment. The program offers access to highly regarded labs and research centers like the Center for Information Security Education, Visualization and Simulation Research, and the Brain Lab. Major courses include applied statistical and optimization models, operations management, security script programming, and perimeter defense. Students must earn a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate.
Both the National Security Agency and the Committee on National Security Systems certify that KSU's curriculum meets the national training standard for information systems security professionals. The Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency also recognize KSU as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance.
Kennesaw State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The information security and assurance degree is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
Franklin University offers a completely online bachelor of science in information systems that combines foundational knowledge in business and technology. Students develop specialized skills in project management, data analytics, business intelligence, and technical documentation.
Designed for working professionals, the program explores how organizations can use IT to support decision-making, improve operations, and create a competitive advantage. Students must complete at least 30 credits at Franklin, but can transfer in the rest. Franklin awards credit for standardized tests, professional portfolios, and proficiency exams.
Students in the program can choose from two tracks: project management or analytics. Coursework focuses on data and information modeling, business analysis, agile project management, and requirements definitions. Students take courses like information systems architecture and technology, systems analysis and design, and introduction to analytics. Learners complete an information systems capstone during their final semester.
Graduation requirements include an overall minimum 2.0 GPA and a minimum 2.5 GPA in the major. Graduates can begin careers as data, systems, and cybersecurity analysts.
Franklin's information systems curriculum aligns with standards set by the Association of Information Technology Professionals and the Association for Computing Machinery.
Franklin University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Distance learners looking for an online information security degree can pursue the University of Maine at Augusta's BS in computer information systems, which includes a concentration in information systems security. The third-largest public university in Maine, UMA offers multiple computer information systems programs with online options.
The 121-credit curriculum includes courses in web applications and development, introduction to Java programming, introduction to data structures, and systems analysis. It also teaches learners to design web pages, solve quantitative problems, write computer programs, and manage databases. Students gain technical, analytical, communication, and organization skills. The information systems security concentration explores issues like cyberforensics, security risk management, and security monitoring.
UMA's computer information systems program also requires an internship. To help students meet this requirement, UMA partners with local businesses and Project>Login, which is an initiative to increase the computing and IT professionals network in Maine through internships and other educational experiences.
UMA uses rolling admissions and does not charge an application fee. Admission requirements include a completed application and official high school or GED transcripts. Students with 60 or more credits from a regionally accredited college do not need to submit high school transcripts. The university's Pine Tree State Pledge commits to ensuring that first-year, in-state students do not pay out of pocket for tuition and mandatory fees.
The University of Maine at Augusta is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
City University of Seattle's BS in information systems provides students with the opportunity to work on research projects alongside practitioner faculty. Available through entirely online and hybrid delivery methods, the program focuses on fostering the technical skills needed to work with databases, networks, operating systems, and other foundational components of information systems. CityU's only admission requirement is a high school diploma.
The only accredited information systems degree in Washington State, CityU's program provides networking opportunities with students around the world, practitioner faculty, and program alumni who work at major companies. Program graduates qualify for jobs as business analysts, computer programmers, and quality assurance managers in fields like business, homeland security, education, and healthcare.
The 180-credit curriculum includes courses like data management communications and networking, systems analysis and design, and software process management. The final semester includes a five-credit technology capstone course. Before beginning major coursework, students must complete preparatory classes like precalculus, introduction to marketing, and fundamentals of computing.
Distance learners can apply for loans, grants, and scholarships. CityU offers military tuition discounts through its membership as a Yellow Ribbon School.
City University of Seattle is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The bachelor of science in information systems is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
Available entirely online, the University of Maryland Global Campus's BS in information systems management focuses on management of IT personnel and systems. Created by high-level IT professionals like chief information officers, the program's frequently updated curriculum teaches students how to manage and implement secure information systems.
The 120-credit program accepts up to 90 transfer credits. Students take major courses like ethics in information technology, information security strategies, information systems in project management, and systems analysis and design. In their final semester, learners complete a capstone course on trends and practical applications in information systems management. The program requires a minimum 2.0 GPA for graduation.
The program prepares graduates to take industry certification exams like the PMI agile certified practitioner (PMI-ACP), project management professional (PMP), and certified associate in project management (CAPM).
UMGC provides no-cost digital materials for almost every course. The university's streamlined admissions process does not require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores. Prospective students need a high school diploma or GED. New information systems management students can choose from several program start dates each year.
The University of Maryland Global Campus is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Hodges University offers multiple computer science degrees both online and through blended learning. A private university founded in 1990, Hodges provides flexible, accredited, accelerated degrees for adult learners who want to expand their career opportunities. The university's computer information technology bachelor's degree focuses on software and hardware infrastructure issues and information security.
Hodges offers monthly start dates and its format lets learners focus on just one course at a time while enrolled either part or full time. Students gain practical experience with routing and switching, Windows server network administration, and PowerShell scripting. Distance learners benefit from small class sizes, award-winning professors, and a workforce-based curriculum.
Students become well-versed in ethical hacking, web design and development, and database administration and management. The program also offers embedded industry certifications like Security+, Cisco certified network associate, A+, and Cisco certified entry networking technician. These certifications allow students to demonstrate specialized IT expertise. Graduates qualify for positions like computer network architect, information security analyst, and database administrator.
Hodges offers some of the lowest tuition rates among private universities in Florida. Incoming students may qualify for financial aid opportunities like loans, grants, and scholarships.
Hodges University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
An information assurance degree prepares graduates for careers in information security, cybersecurity, and network security. Graduates can also become IT security managers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Is a Bachelor's in Information Assurance and Security Degree?
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 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, 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Information Security Professional Organizations
Professional organizations help information security students transition from school into the workplace. Early career professionals also benefit from the professional development tools offered by many organizations. The following information security professional organizations host conferences and events with networking opportunities, offer scholarships, and manage certification programs.
Information Systems Security Association International
An organization for cybersecurity professionals, ISSA promotes professional growth as a nonprofit organization. ISSA hosts educational forums, publishes a journal, and encourages peer interactions. The association also hosts international summits, web conferences, and local chapter meetings with opportunities to earn continuing professional education credits.
Formed to prevent a major cyberattack, EC-Council provides tools and resources for the information security community. The council offers information security certification programs, develops professional standards, and provides training programs on electronic commerce and information security. In addition to professional certification programs, EC-Council hosts events to educate and connect information security professionals.
Information Security Forum
The ISF provides research and practical tools for professionals in the information security field. The forum develops best practices for the field of information security and risk management, provides training resources for professionals, and offers a research library. Members can attend events to connect with other professionals, and the ISF also offers scholarship opportunities.
A professional organization for assurance, risk, and information security professionals, ISACA represents over 145,000 members in 180 countries. The organization supports regional chapters that offer networking opportunities and provide professional development tools to help members advance their careers. ISACA also publishes research and guidance on information assurance, awards certifications to experienced professionals, and hosts community events.
A tech association that also offers certification programs, CompTIA promotes professional development and continuing education. The association offers a membership program, funds and publishes research, and provides educational resources. The CompTIA Security+ certification recognizes professionals who meet standards in IT network and operational security. CompTIA also offers continuing education programs.
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