Today, technology is incredibly complex. So much of our information, both private and personal, is online. This information is constantly under threat. Luckily, networking security degree holders are trained to make sure our private information is protected.
From serving individuals to protecting the data of large companies and organizations, working in networking security means being the first line of the defense against online attackers. However, it isn’t easy to work in this field.
In order to work in network security, it’s important you have the knowledge and fundamentals necessary to effectively stop the latest cyberattacks from being successful. This is why it is important to earn your networking security degree from an accredited program.
What is Networking Security
Networking security is a term that covers a multitude of fields. Simply put, network security is a set of rules and configurations that are designed to protect various aspects of computer networks and data. Network security configurations protect the confidentiality, accessibility, and integrity of data.
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Today, modern networks are incredibly complex and organizations are faced with the constant threat of attack at all times. These attackers take advantage of vulnerabilities and exploits to gain access to important information, private data, and more.
To combat these attacks, there are several network security management applications and tools available for people to use. These tools address the various threats and exploits that companies and individuals are at risk of encountering.
Network security is broken down into four types. These types are different levels of security and they tackle cyberattacks and deal with technology risks in various ways.
This form of network security is a type of software that protects organizations from malicious software. Some of the things this software is designed to protect organizations from include viruses, ransomware, worms, trojans, and other malicious software.
Good software scans files upon entry to make sure they do not infect the network. The best software continues to scan and track files, even after they’ve been successfully added to the network, to ensure that there are no threats that have gotten through.
Network Access Control
Network access control is a form of security designed to keep attackers from infiltrating your network. In order to do so, network access control puts comprehensive control policies in place for devices and users.
These controls can be set at the granular level. This means that administrators may have full access to the network, but they may not be able to access specific folders or allow their personal devices to be a part of the network.
Firewalls are probably one of the most common forms of network security. As the name implies, a firewall serves as a barrier between external networks and internal networks. There are typically a set of rules that allows or blocks traffic onto the network.
A firewall often acts as one of the first lines of defense for a network. Many network security managers work towards defining the rules of a firewall to make sure that it doesn’t impede any processes while blocking malicious viruses or software from entering the network.
Virtual Private Networks
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are connections to a network from another location. For example, if you are at home you can use a virtual private network to connect to an organization.
Some people use virtual private networks to hide their true location from any sources online that may be trying to access it. Many others use it to browse or access data that is locked to certain regions.
Networking Security Degree Types
Network security degree programs are broken up into various types. The two undergraduate programs are associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees. An associate degree program takes around one to two years to complete.
These programs consist of courses in information security, introduction to networks, principles of cybersecurity, and more. While an associate degree program does cover the topics needed to work in the field, the lessons aren’t as in-depth as the other degree programs.
A bachelor’s degree program in network security covers the same topics as an associate degree program but goes into more detail on each topic. These programs typically take four years to complete. Some programs may require students to go beyond their coursework and participate in internships. Many entry-level positions related to network security require a bachelor’s degree.
Graduate degree programs are for those who have already earned their bachelor’s degree and are looking to further their education. These programs can take years to complete depending on the course type and major. The first graduate program is for a master’s degree. This degree program opens up more career opportunities and allows you to work in management and leadership roles.
The highest degree level for network security is a doctorate. Only a few select universities offer doctoral programs for network security. Earning a degree at this level gives you the knowledge and credentials to work as a researcher or a professor. A doctoral degree is typically earned by those who wish to make advancements in their particular field.
Best Networking Security Degree Colleges and Universities
The right university prepares you for careers related to your chosen field. Network security degree programs are available at several universities across the country. Below is our list of the best universities and colleges offering online and on-campus network security or related degree programs.
Bellevue University has an online BS program for cybersecurity. This 127-credit hour program can be completed in four years. However, there is an accelerated program for students who wish to complete it in less time.
Applicants who wish to participate in the accelerated program must have obtained at least 60 credit hours or earned their associate degree from an accredited college or university. They must also pass an academic assessment to show their readiness.
Bellevue University has a transfer agreement with community colleges all over the United States. It also awards credits to those who have completed military training.
Kennesaw State University is based in Georgia and offers a Bachelor of Business Administration in Information Security and Assurance. This bachelor’s degree program in network security is recognized by both the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
Full-time students complete the 126-credit hour program in four years. Students complete 18 hours of major coursework and 42 hours of general education. If you have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 and at least 30 credit hours earned previously, you can submit them for transfer approval. KSU also provides credit for those who have completed military training or earned professional certificates.
Along with traditional coursework, Kennesaw State University offers online courses. These courses are a part of a 15-week semester. For students studying online, KSU provides various online resources.
These resources include tutoring and coursework provided through the university’s Brightspace Desire2Learn platform. While a majority of the courses offered are fully online, most do require an in-person meeting per semester.
Liberty University offers an online BS in Information Technology. Students can choose a concentration in data networking and security. Students take 48 credit hours of core coursework, and work related to the data networking and security concentration consists of 15 credit hours.
Students have the opportunity to participate in a three-credit-hour internship to gain real-world experience outside of their coursework.
The university’s fully online program takes 120-credit hours to complete. Liberty takes up to 90 hours of transferred credits. The program is designed through online courses that are divided into eight-week subterms. Full-time students complete 12-credit hours each semester and part-time students complete anywhere from six to 11 credits.
Excelsior University offers a bachelor’s degree program in information technology with a concentration in information security. The program also has a concentration in cybersecurity and network operations for those who want to work in network security.
This 120-credit hour program requires traditional coursework, along with an integrated technology capstone, information technology coursework, and an arts and sciences component.
Throughout the program, students gain knowledge and skills in computer forensics, cryptography, and network security.
Drexel University has an online bachelor’s degree program in computing and security technology. The program is designed for working professionals and those with some college experience. Drexel credits individuals who have earned certificates for various programs, including in operating systems or other IT courses.
The fully online BS program that Drexel offers is part-time and takes place over the course of 10-week quarters. The bachelor’s degree requires students to complete 188 quarter credit hours. Coursework covers topics in programming, mathematics, and information science.
Students choose a concentration in computing security or computing technology and complete two additional quarter credits in a transfer student seminar or a Drexel University experience course.
In order to be admitted into the program, applicants must submit a transcript, letters of recommendation, SAT or ACT scores, and a personal essay. To help working professionals, Drexel maintains partnerships with multiple corporations and provides tuition discounts to their employees.
Saint Leo University has a Bachelor’s Degree in Cybersecurity program that is made of 121 credits. All classes can be completed online and it is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in cybersecurity. The program focuses on the fundamentals of penetration testing, implementation and maintenance of security systems, ethical hacking, and protection protocols.
Students are required to take courses in computer forensics, homeland defense, disaster recovery, and network security. In addition to traditional courses, students participate in virtual labs and use software tools to take part in simulated situations related to security and IT infrastructure.
The university offers various services to help students reach their career goals. It is one of the most military-friendly institutions in the nation. The school also has an agreement with dozens of community colleges to help make transferring credits an easier process.
Dakota State University specializes in computer information systems. Its coursework is rigorous, but the university boasts about its high job placement rate for those that graduate from their program. One of the university’s offerings is its Bachelor’s Degree in Network and Security Administration.
This program includes courses in operating environments, database management systems, web application programming, and advanced routing and switching. To give students the best experience, Dakota State University has small class sizes of around 25 or fewer students.
It also offers both physical and virtual labs. In these labs, students experiment with various setups related to network setup and configuration, forensics with enterprise hardware, and defensive hacking.
Students who perform may qualify for the school’s Fast Track program. The school also has a two-year associate degree program in network security. All credits earned may be transferred to the bachelor’s degree program.
Networking security is a growing field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects careers, such as information security analysts, to grow by 32 percent from 2018 to 2028, which is significantly faster than the average.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Network Security, it’s possible to work in any number of cybersecurity-related fields. Businesses in every industry must have some form of network security established to protect the data of consumers and employees alike.
Networking security and other related degree programs are available through both traditional and online methods. Several colleges and universities offer individuals the opportunity to earn their degree while still meeting their professional obligations.
If you want to be the first line of defense against malware, malicious software, trojans, viruses, and people wishing to hack into computer systems, take the first step toward a successful career in network security and start working toward your degree today.
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