Due to a rising number of attacks on the country’s cyber networks, President Barack Obama considers cyber security to be an essential part of keeping the nation safe, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
However, the federal government is not the only entity that needs to be on the lookout for online threats. Private businesses are also vulnerable to attacks that cost them time and money.
This can especially be true for small business, according to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal.
Small businesses often lack the budget necessary to deal with cyber security, the Journal reported, and lose about $194 for each record compromised by cyber attacks.
Many small businesses are victims of cybercrimes. About 72% of the 855 worldwide data breaches that took place in 2011 were among companies with 100 or fewer employees, according to research from Verizon Communications Inc. That’s an increase over the 2010 Verizon study, which found that 63% of 761 data breaches were at small businesses.
Another survey sited by the Journal, this time from the Computing Technology Industry Association, found that 76% of executives at 500 U.S. companies said they had faced a cyber attack in the past year.
Among the small businesses that have been victims of cyber thieves in recent months is New York-based mannequin maker and importer, Lifestyle Forms and Displays Inc. The Journal reports that in May, the company had $1.2 million stolen from its bank accounts in just a few hours.
The growth in the problem has led to a growth in the cyber security industry, something that is apparent in federal job growth numbers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of information security analysts, web developers and computer network architects will grow 22% by 2020, faster than the average for all occupations across the country.
Attaining a degree in cyber security specialist typically involves at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or cyber security, with some employers preferring those who go on to obtain a master’s degree. Analytical skills are a plus, as is the ability to be detailed-oriented and concentrate for long periods of time.
Another sought-after quality for a cyber security expert, according to the BLS, is ingenuity. The ability to think like a cyber thieves, stay ahead of their strategies and design methods to prevent them from succeeding in their criminal efforts are all keys to success in the cyber security field.