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Training for Information Assurance (IA Training)

Training for Information Assurance (IA Training)

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Last Updated November 6, 2011

Cybersecurity professions who need to meet government mandated requirements for information assurance (IA) training certification are on a tight deadline. IT professionals looking to expand their information security knowledge to qualify for more lucrative government jobs would benefit from specialized training as well.

Over the next decade, certified information systems managers are projected to experience more job opportunities, greater job security and higher earnings, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Plus, certified information systems managers can command salaries roughly 10-to-15% higher than noncertified individuals in comparable roles. Contributing factors to the increased need are expected to be from technology growth, competition and greed.

As technologies grow more competitive with one another, the need for certified IT professionals is expected to increase. These professionals will need to be able to adopt the most efficient software and systems for their clients’ safety, as well as be able to troubleshoot when a problem occurs. Their goal should be to protect critical information in a range of areas from credit card numbers to social security numbers, and secured government information to corporate financial records. Certification ensures that these IT professionals are qualified to not only handle sensitive systems, but that they are able to responsibly handle sensitive information as well.

Information Security vs. Information Assurance – What’s the Difference?

Information security is often misconstrued for being information assurance and vice versa. Both areas of data protection are related, but there are fundamental differences. Information assurance not only protects data, software and hardware, it also serves a purpose for protecting those items from hacking and malicious code attacks. Plus, IA covers a broad area of governmental duties which can range from fraud examination to forensic science, criminology to disaster recovery, and much more.

The DoD defines IA as the practice of managing information related-risks. IT professionals who specialize in IA seek to protect and defend information and information systems by ensuring confidentiality, integrity, authentication, availability and non-repudiation. Specially trained IA professionals are in charge of ensuring that only authorized users have access to authorized information at an authorized time. If a breach occurs, critical information could fall into the wrong hands.

IA Training Means Learning the 5 Core Principles

Before IA existed, the practice was simply known as information security, which had three controlling interests: confidentiality, integrity and availability. The goal was as simple – all that was needed was a couple of guards put in charge of a computer’s safety and well being. As technology evolved, information assurance came into the forefront of importance. Its goal was to guarantee that the data being protected was authentic and valid. By combining the key points from information security and IA together, you now have the five fundamental pieces that make up information assurance today:

  • Availability is the cohesion of processes involving the computer systems that hold the data and the security processes that protect it working in tandem, making the information immediately available to the end user.
  • Authentication guarantees that downloadable files, logins and passwords are not fake.
  • Confidentiality allows only authorized users to access, use or copy information. Authentication works closely with confidentiality, if the user is not authenticated they will not be granted access to confidential information. If the protected information is accessed by a non-authorized user, a breach of confidentiality has occurred.
  • Integrity protects data and does not allow it to be corrupted, altered, deleted or recreated without proper authorization. Again, authentication is central to keeping another facet of information assurance functioning properly.
  • Non-Repudiation is a service that validates the integrity of a digital signature’s transmission; starting from where it originated and ending where it arrives. Non-repudiation guarantees that the digital signature is that of the intended party, thereby granting authorization to the protected information.

You cannot have a proper IA protocol in place without all five of these facets working together hand-in-hand. Cybersecurity professionals receiving specialized training in IA can help increase their value as an employee.

Qualify to Work in Information Assurance for the DoD

Since 2004, the DoD mandated that all full- and part-time military servicemembers, contractors and foreign employees with privileged access to information systems must acquire a commercial information security credential accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Villanova University is widely recognized as a leader in online professional education. Villanova offers intensive, non-degree programs for working professionals who wish to improve their skills and progress in their career. You can learn anytime, anywhere at your own pace and view professor-led lectures through video-based, e-learning technology.

National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth. Certificate program options do not guarantee career or salary outcomes. Students should conduct independent research for specific employment information.