While certainly similar, cybersecurity and information technology are not the same thing. Information Technology (IT) is tasked with implementing new technology to help the organization grow. This includes things like maximizing network performance, improving communications, and facilitating the sharing of information. Within IT exists IT security, which is concerned with creation and implementation of systems and procedures that protect your organization’s data in any form, physical or electronic. Cybersecurity, meanwhile, is about protecting electronic data. It involved safeguards against attackers gaining access to networks, computers, programs, and data, and actually falls under the larger umbrella of IT security. Both IT and cybersecurity are concerned with the protection of data. This involves identifying where the data exists and what it is, as well as creating ways to protect it. It is common for an organization to combine these two teams or roles into one, especially as data continues to move to online formats and away from physical formats.
In IT roles, you could be dealing with programming, networking, helping users with computer issues. IT is quite broad. Cybersecurity, on the other hand, is focused solely on protecting data. It requires constant supervision of an organization’s network and data, should a threat arise, whether external or internal. Whereas IT is more project-driven, cybersecurity is more about ongoing attentiveness and your organization’s goals for data protection. As more and more information is stored digitally, cybersecurity jobs require strong technical skills. A background in system administration, networking, software development, and data integrity are all necessary to work in cybersecurity. And because you are dealing with protecting company assets, personal information, and other sensitive data, there is a high level of responsibility. Many professionals in these fields will pursue undergraduate degrees in IT, computer science, and other more technical degrees.
Within the field of cybersecurity and IT, professionals do not necessarily need a Master’s of Business Administration degree. Although, for professionals interested in entrepreneurship within the sector of Cybersecurity or IT, for professionals wanting to climb the management ladder, or professionals wanting to gain a broader view in how these fields work within overarching organizational goals, an online MBA in Cybersecurity or IT can be a wise career decision. Your education from an MBA will give you the skills to understand an organization’s goals, which impact the ways it deals with data. Your degree will also empower you to successfully manage a team handling sensitive information. Because these degree programs include courses on leadership, you will be equipped to build a strong, trustworthy team of people you can count on to keep an organization’s data safe.
Cybersecurity and IT are two similar but distinct career paths. Research potential career choices in order to decide between IT and cybersecurity, and consider your personal goals. If you are looking to be a critical part of an organization’s management team, aren’t afraid of a high level of responsibility, enjoy the challenge of managing a group of people, and have a strong interest in keeping data secure, cybersecurity might be right for you.