What is the Difference Between a Cyber Security Career and an IT Security Career?
- 22nd October 2018
- Posted by: Juan van Niekerk
- Category: Security
Trying to decide on a career is not an easy task, especially when you’re faced with a decision which contains options that are very similar. Cyber security and IT security are two of the most popular careers today as more emphasis is being placed on security within organisations. Security has proven to play a massive role in business today with security breaches costing companies millions and sometimes even billions. However, even though cyber security and IT are similar, in terms of career paths they are slightly different. To help you decide which career is best for you I’ve outlined the main differences between cyber security and IT security careers. First we’ll start off with the difference between the two fields.
IT Security vs Cyber Security
Cyber security and IT security share a significant amount of similarities and when combined ensure maximum protection for organisations. However, they are often considered to be the same. IT security and cyber security are in fact two different fields that tend to overlap from time to time. To better understand the difference in careers, let’s first unpack the difference between IT security and cyber security.
IT security refers to:
“…the information security which is applied to technology and computer systems. It focuses on protecting computers, networks, programs and data from unauthorised access or damage.”– technojobs
IT security is a broad topic that incorporates different forms of technology such as physical computer hardware, networks, mobile technology and more. IT security merges into different technology forms and involves the safeguarding of various kinds of data. This data can be in electronic form, or even in the form paper! IT security ensures the protection and safety of information, in all it’s different forms. This includes physical and electronic data. The overall consensus is therefore that IT security covers the protection and prevention of physical and cloud-based data from being hacked.
Cybersecurity covers similar aspects to IT security, however there is more focus on electronic data.
“Cyber security comprises technologies, processes and controls that are designed to protect systems, networks and data from cyber-attacks. Effective cyber security reduces the risk of cyber-attacks and protects organisations and individuals from the unauthorised exploitation of systems, networks and technologies.”– IT Governance
Cyber security serves the purpose of ensuring data is protected from unauthorised access. Through cyberspace or online platforms, unauthorised access may result in cyber-attacks. Cyber security therefore is the field which focuses on the protection and prevention of cloud-based network attacks.
In a nutshell IT security and cyber security go hand in hand. IT security gravitates more towards the protection of the physical information which also includes electronic data, while cyber security generally refers to the protection of online or cyber information.
Cyber Security Career vs IT Security Career
In terms of careers, cyber security and IT security are equally great career choices with both offering excellent opportunities and competitive salaries. The difference between a cyber security career and an IT security career lie in the different fields from which these careers originate. The career progression as a result is slightly different too. However, at the end of the day both careers deal with the value of data, in its many different forms.
IT Security Career
According to IT Jobs Watch, IT Security Managers command salaries of £62,500 on average in the UK. This impressive salary shows no sign of decreasing as IT Security is becoming more and more important in society today. As we place more and more value on information, so organisations place more importance on security. A career in IT Security often begins in general IT and then branches out into a specialised field. Many IT security professionals started in general IT positions such as an IT Technician role, Field Engineer or even in a Help-desk role.
IT security as a career involves a focus on making sure an organisation’s data is kept secure. As an IT security professional, you could be responsible for front-line defence of networks and protecting information from unauthorised access and violations. You will be expected to prepare technical reports, run tests and monitor for abnormal activity. As an IT Security Professional you can expect to be the gatekeeper of all organisational information.
IT Security Career Path
As an IT Security Professional, careers which you can pursue include, but not limited to:
- IT Security Administrator
- IT Security Analyst
- IT Security Officer
- IT Security Architect
- Head of IT Security
IT Security Training
In order to move up the salary scale, gaining industry recognised certifications is an excellent step. If you’re new to IT and are considering heading into the field of IT security, the IT Placement Program is an excellent first step. As stated earlier, many IT security professionals started their careers in IT Technician roles or Field Engineer roles. The IT Placement Program from ITonlinelearning offers students a job opportunity and study package geared to IT beginners. This course prepares students for a general IT career while also laying the foundation for those who wish to move into the direction of IT security. For more information on this program click here or alternatively call a Course and Career Advisor on 0800 160 1161 (UK business hours).
Cyber Security Career
According to IT Jobs Watch, Cyber Security Managers command salaries of £72,500 on average in the UK. Of all the IT careers today, cyber security is one that is definitely trending with a top-notch salary to match! Cyber security professionals are some of the most in-demand professionals today as the UK is experiencing a major skill shortage in the field of cyber security.
As a Cyber Security Professional, you will have a range of career options. However, it is important to note that this is a specialised field. This means that you’re unlikely to begin your career in cyber security and will often come from a general IT security position first. As a Cyber Security Professional, you will be expected to prevent detect and manage cyber threats. You’ll be expected to be up to date with the latest security trends, plan for disaster recovery and use advanced analytic tools. You will be tasked with investigating security alerts and providing incident response. Many Cyber Security Professionals started their careers in a general IT position such as an IT Technician or a Field Engineer role.
Cyber Security Career Path:
As a Cyber Security professional, careers which you can be pursue include, but not limited to:
- Cyber Security Specialist
- Cyber Security Analyst
- Cyber Security Engineer
- Cyber Security Architect
- Cyber Security Professional
Cyber Security Training
There are many different avenues one can receive training for a rewarding cyber security career. We recommend online learning through a trusted and recognised training provider. What better way to study the intricate world of cyber than through the readily accessible platform of online learning. If you’re an IT beginner and looking for a package that is more focused on a cyber security career, look no further. ITonlinelearning’s New To Cyber Security program has been tailored to those interested in making a career out of cyber security. With online courses like CompTIA Security+, CompTIA CySA+ and a job opportunity, this is where Cyber Security Professionals start their careers! For more information on this programme chat to a Course and Career Advisor today on 0800 160 1161 or alternatively click here for more information.
To conclude, these roles do not, and cannot, exist in isolation of each other. Cyber security is as much a part of IT security, as IT security is a part of cyber security. In terms of careers, each career is concerned with the preservation of data however each from a different angle. As IT security tends to be more in the physical and virtual realm, where cyber focuses more on the virtual, both compliment one another. As the end goal is the preservation of data, we require both fields to ensure optimum security. Whether you decide to head into the realm of IT security or cyber security, both have various advantages and career paths.