A study from the Online Trust Alliance found cyberattacks against businesses doubled from 2016 to 2017, with more than 159,000 attacks reported. Most of these attacks could have been prevented with better information security policies and employee training. Earning an online doctorate information systems security degree prepares managers and executives for the ever-evolving challenges of protecting data and sensitive information from would-be cybercriminals.
Professionals in computer information systems management earn a median salary of $139,220. As companies store more sensitive information in connected databases and cloud servers, the need for executives who understand how to protect that information continues to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) anticipates a 12% growth in employment through 2026.
For more degree and career info, jump to:
- Choosing an Online Doctorate in Information Systems Security Program
- What Else Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Information Systems Security Program?
- Careers with a Doctorate in Information Systems Security
Online Doctorate in Information Systems Security Programs
Online Doctorate in Information Systems Degree Program Ranking Guidelines: We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
Liberty University Online
Located in central Virginia, Liberty University lies just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Lynchburg. As one of the country's largest private nonprofit universities, Liberty's enrollment includes more than 94,000 online students. Liberty offers 349 online programs, including 38 doctoral programs like the doctor of business administration (DBA) in information systems.
Liberty offers all courses in this 60-credit information security systems degree online, although students may take some intensive courses on campus. Liberty suggests students complete three years of consecutive coursework, followed by a year and a half of writing a dissertation, although students may finish the degree sooner. Liberty allows DBA students seeking an online doctorate in information systems security to transfer up to 15 credits. Core courses include topics such as research methods, strategic thinking, and human resource management. The DBA specialization in information systems consists of 12 hours of related coursework.
Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of the Cumberlands
Located in the southeastern Kentucky city of Williamsburg, University of the Cumberlands was initially founded in 1888 by a group of Baptist ministers as the Williamsburg Institute. The school became University of the Cumberlands (UC) in 2005 and currently educates approximately 11,500 students, roughly two-thirds of whom are graduate students.
All courses in UC's 60-credit doctor of philosophy in information technology can be taken online at your own pace. The online doctorate in information systems security includes 18 hours of core courses, 18 hours of professional research including a dissertation, and 24 hours of content specialty courses such as cybersecurity. Students learn to use predictive analytics and identify cyberthreats. Students must have completed a master's degree and earned a GPA of 3.0 or above before applying for an information systems security degree online.
University of the Cumberlands is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The federal government has named UC a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.
Choosing an Online Doctorate in Information Systems Security Program
An information security systems degree integrates technical skills with policy creation and organizational leadership. Many schools require applicants to complete a graduate entrance exam (like the GRE) and demonstrate professional experience in computer programming or information systems management. Most schools also require applicants to have earned a master's degree, though some schools do offer integrated master's and doctorate programs.
The Ph.D. curriculum focuses on applied research in data security, providing practical solutions to real-world problems. As such, students study advanced computer programming fieldwork, data analytics, and quantitative and qualitative research methods. Many schools offer concentrations for specific careers, like healthcare information, human-computer interaction design, and information assurance. Depending on the program, expect to spend three to seven years completing upwards of 60 credits. Online programs often offer flexibility for working professionals, though some require on-campus or fieldwork components.
The dissertation provides a comprehensive evaluation of what you've learned and your ability to apply independent research to organizational challenges. You often work with a team of mentors to develop a topic in your area of interest and conduct research and data analysis. It can take several terms to complete the dissertation, capped by an oral defense that evaluates your research methodology, conclusions, and communication skills. The dissertation allows for greater specialization in your chosen field.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Information Systems Security Program?
While exact course requirements vary, earning an information systems security degree online builds upon your prior training in computer science and programming. Expect to study theoretical principles and demonstrate the practical application of those principles through projects and a dissertation and oral defense.
Curriculum for an Online Doctoral Degree in Information Systems Security
Governance, Quality, Compliance, and Ethics:
Students study information security regulations and the impact they have on organizational processes. This course also delves into how organizations govern the use of their data and how they recognize when individuals undermine those policies, as well as ethical issues of trust and privacy.
In this course, students learn about encryption protocols and the mathematical foundations of modern cryptography. Students also learn to build secure encryption protocols from cryptographic primitives.
Students in this class study the technology that powers internet search engines, including text analysis, ranking algorithms, and data retrieval. They learn to establish metrics to determine effectiveness, classification, and clustering of data.
In security management courses, students learn to create data security framework for organizations. In addition to data security, the course also examines risk mitigation for internal or external security breaches.
Students in information assurance courses learn to audit organizational security plans and network architectures, identifying potential risks and developing mitigation strategies by aligning information security with business goals. Students often create a plan that incorporates policy, security standards, and information compliance.
Careers with a Doctorate in Information Systems Security
An online information security degree prepares graduates for careers developing secure data networks and instituting proper security protocols for organizations like banks, federal agencies, and technical consulting firms. Advanced technical skills, combined with data analytics knowledge, allows graduates to take on leadership roles in any organization, leading technology security efforts.
Chief Information Officer:
These executives focus on data processing, information networks, and long-term information technology purchasing priorities. They often develop organization-wide policies to protect sensitive information from phishing or malware attacks and institute ongoing training to ensure all staff understand how to prevent security breaches.
- Median Annual Salary: $139,220
- Projected Growth Rate: 12%
Computer Network Architect:
Network architects determine the hardware and software needs of an organization, providing ongoing support to the company. They analyze data traffic and determine how to best meet short- and long-term information technology needs, often presenting their findings to top-level executives. They provide training for staff and troubleshoot technical problems.
- Median Annual Salary: $104,650
- Projected Growth Rate: 6%
Network and Computer Systems Administrator:
Systems administrators install and maintain hardware and software across internal networks. They implement network security policies and set up monitoring to provide early warnings for data breaches. They help determine future network needs and train employees to use new software.
- Median Annual Salary: $81,100
- Projected Growth Rate: 6%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics