Big Data has changed the very nature of the information security field. Over the last several years, the concept of seemingly impossibly large amounts of consumer and industry data (aka Big Data) has made frequent appearances in the news due to the questions it raises about information security and privacy on the public, private, consumer, government and business levels.

The practice of soliciting, cultivating and maintaining huge quantities of often sensitive data points, such as consumer IP addresses, corporate budgets, shopping habits or credit card information, has not only challenged conceptions of privacy in a digital era but also created a new (and hard to resist) target for hackers, online thieves and cyber-terrorists. As a result, individuals with an online M.S. in Information Security need to be aware of how to adjust their processes to conduct operations in a way that effectively works to manage the new phenomenon of Big Data.

Big Data's Impact on Business

Digital data and the management of information security has been a popular business issue for several decades. Ever since the Internet took hold as a major communication device in the 1980s, individuals with information security degrees have had to fight to protect public and private data sets from hackers. This challenge was compounded when wireless technology gained steam and became a commonplace means of connection. The importance placed on information security is exemplified in the fact that German citizens are now required by law to use only secure wireless networks or risk a fine.

But the emergence of Big Data has completely changed the information security field. While the concept of Big Data may make privacy-conscious consumers squeamish, it has been a treasure trove for marketing strategy and product development from a business perspective. By compiling data points from clients at the city, state, country or global levels, companies are able to analyze specific buying trends and regional influences. In fact, these databases have become so valuable that they are often considered part of a business's asset list.

However, Big Data has become a major target for cyber threats ranging from casual hackers to corporate espionage. Over the last five years, there have been numerous high profile attacks on Big Data across a range of industries. For example, in 2011, the Nasdaq exchange confirmed that their computer network that transmits confidential documents between company leaders had been hacked into. A few years earlier, TJX Companies experienced a security breach of its consumer credit card information that affected millions of their global customers. In addition to losing data that is confidential or competitive, a major consequence for businesses that have their Big Data stores breached is the loss of consumer confidence and trust. This is why Big Data security has become part of the core business strategy and savvy companies are investing heavily in finding qualified professionals to protect their sensitive information.

Information Security in a Big Data World

Gone are the days when companies hired a handful of technical specialists to manage their network security and information technology needs. Big Data now requires the information security industry to draw upon all of its areas of specialties to provide the kind of protection necessary to prevent major security breaches. Mid- and large-sized companies employ hundreds of technology-focused team members. Individuals who are going for their information security degree should focus on increasing their acumen in two of the core methods for protecting Big Data: infrastructure systems and encryption/authentication systems.

Many companies are pushing to expand their data infrastructure systems to protect Big Data as one of their major business assets. An interesting result has been that expanding or upgrading technological infrastructures has also become a core way to increase company worth. Secure information infrastructure consisting of servers, networks, firewalls, workstations and intrusion detection systems are integral to security as they support fast processing of complex algorithms and provide the first line of defense against digital threats.

Additionally, solid encryption and authentication systems are essential to Big Data security and have become essential in the information security field. Understanding the latest concepts in cryptographic and cryptanalytic techniques, as well as successes and failures in cryptologic history, single-key and double-key algorithms, issues in network communications, network security and security throughout the different layers of the OSI model for data communications is quickly becoming a requirement for individuals with a Master’s in Computer Science – Cyber Security degree.

Everyone is now living in the Big Data world. For individuals in the information security field, this new era of protecting unfathomable amounts of data means mastering concepts in cryptographic and cryptanalytic techniques. Big Data requires a small army of Information Security professionals who, unlike previous generations, specialize in many aspects of the field, not just one particular area. The M.S. in Computer Science degree from Lewis University is designed to prepare professionals for the breadth of knowledge needed to compete effectively not only in the job market but also against the near-constant state of threat for Big Data.

Lewis University Online offers an M.S. in Information Security for individuals interested in protecting individuals, organizations and governments from the growing threats associated with technology and information systems. Visit their program website to learn about how information security can enhance your opportunities and earning potential today.

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Business demand for specialized knowledge in a growing digital world will continue to expand as new technology security concerns arise. Lewis University’s online M.S. in Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security teaches students how to identify cyber threats, design combative software systems against an attack and investigate the aftermath using digital forensics tools. To learn more about the master’s degree call (866) 967-7046 to speak with a Graduate Admissions Counselor or request for more information.