When deciding on a major or concentration, it can be challenging to differentiate between two similar paths. If you’re interested in studying technology, should you get a degree in information assurance or a degree in cybersecurity? While both Baker College programs teach you to create reliable and secure computer and information systems for various organizations, they offer different areas of study and fields of expertise. Cybersecurity is only a spoke on the wheel of information assurance, which focuses on protecting physical information as well as digital information. While both fields work together, they have different specialties. We can help break down the differences below, so you can be confident in your choice.
Physical or digital…or both?
Information assurance has existed since way before the digital age emerged, even though it is a relatively new modern science. Under the umbrella of information security, information assurance protects data being transferred from physical to digital forms (or digital to physical), as well as resting data. Contrastingly, cybersecurity falls under the umbrella of information assurance, so it is a subset to a much broader realm centered on protection of digitized information systems. While information assurance also requires a knowledge of digital processes, a cybersecurity specialist works more closely with computer software and must have a stronger, more proficient understanding. Information assurance and cybersecurity professionals often work together to complete tasks and protect against attacks.
What are the inner workings?
Cybersecurity protects and regulates sensitive information from digital formats, dealing with both internal attacks and outside threats. Cybersecurity professionals focus on identifying the motivation, method, and an organization’s vulnerability for past attacks, then applying this information to create new protections, guidelines, and security measures to prevent future attacks. Information assurance professionals focus on what information should be protected, how we will protect it, how the business will be affected, and if the protections are working efficiently to prevent attacks. They keep and secure data safely, while cybersecurity prevents and fights attacks to this data. Cybersecurity focuses on securing networks and their devices (hackers, penetration testing, etc.), while information assurance focuses on securing data (data breaches, identity theft, viruses, ransomware, etc.) Both are key players in securing a company.
What do you learn when you study information assurance?
Baker’s information assurance degree is designed to integrate general business and management knowledge with expertise in computer information systems. You’ll be able to learn programming, databases, web, project management, networking, and security. Additionally, you’ll leverage the tools to effectively solve business problems, manage operations and infrastructure, interact with suppliers and customers, and drive revenue and performance. Graduates can continue their education with a Master of Science in Information Systems degree. Program courses include multiple programming languages, system modeling and design, business analytics, and securing systems. Students complete a senior project and a 150-hour work experience course.
What do you learn when you study cybersecurity?
Our cybersecurity degree will give you the knowledge to leverage specialized skills and an understanding of business processes. You will learn to develop, troubleshoot, support, and protect computer networks to help organizations operate more effectively and securely. Graduates can continue their education with a Master of Science in Information Systems degree. Program courses include ethical hacking, network intrusion, network defense, and computer forensics. Students complete a senior project and a 150-hour work experience course.
The great thing about cybersecurity is that technology is always changing! There are always new devices and systems ready for exploration. So even though it is a digital field, it never gets boring.
Is a degree in information assurance or cybersecurity worth it?
Protecting valuable information is more important now than it has ever been before, as businesses have seen an influx of fraud and theft of their personal information in recent years. A field in information assurance or cybersecurity protects others against bad guys–making YOU an undercover hero. There is a high demand for security professionals, meaning starting a career is not far out of reach. Our alumni have entered into a wide range of careers including:
- Working for the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), or the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
- Becoming a hired consultant.
- Teaching the specific subjects to others.
- Starting a business that does penetration testing and risk assessments for various companies/organizations.
No matter which path you choose, Baker College can help get you there. Both degree programs under the College of Information Technology and Engineering are led by IS or IT professionals who can provide real-world knowledge from their experiences in the field. Classrooms are equipped with cutting-edge technology specifically designed for a modern learning environment. Several courses implement Extended Reality (XR) to provide an immersive, hands-on learning experience that will prepare you for a successful career in a high-tech field.