Information security, also known as information technology (IT) security, is the implementation and maintenance of systems to protect information or data. This includes responsibility for the security of data in all forms, including not only internet-connected computers but paper files, other types of physical media, and data stored offline.
While cybersecurity is a subset of this field, it is focused primarily on the security of electronic data and computer technologies from threats via the internet. At the same time, many information security specialists also deal with common cybersecurity issues such as ransomware, spyware, viruses, and malware.
Information security professionals need a combination of skills. On one hand, it's important to possess a framework for assessing and managing threats from wherever they originate, including a background in risk management, information security policies and procedures, data analysis, and good communications skills to present your findings and recommendations.
At the same time, IT security specialists need a strong set of cybersecurity skills, since that will inevitably be a major area of work. That includes capabilities in computer programming, intrusion detection, system log analysis, firewall and data encryption, malware prevention, and more.
In this fast-changing field, it's also important to always keep up to date on new trends as well as threats. Whether you're just starting in IT security or are a veteran in the field, you'll benefit from reading the latest data protection news, following cybersecurity legislation, and keeping abreast of emerging best practices and techniques.
Information security expertise is extremely valuable, as it is seen as essential protection against potentially existential risks for more and more companies. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for information security analysts was $98,350 in 2018, and these jobs are expected to grow over 30% over the next decade - much faster than the average for all jobs. Additional jobs for information security experts include network security engineers, information security managers, and information system security officers.