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Navigating the evolving landscape of information technology and cybersecurity

November 01, 2023
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The modern digital landscape touches every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Smartphones allow users to manage their bank accounts, shop online and communicate effortlessly. Workplaces also increasingly implement emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics software.

Cybersecurity and information technology keep these devices and operations functional and safe. Cybersecurity refers to approaches and tools to protect digital assets, devices and networks from unauthorized access and security threats.1 Information technology (IT) encompasses all hardware, software and services used to manage and deliver information.2 This article examines the evolving roles of security solutions and IT in the digital landscape and emerging challenges faced by professionals.

Key areas of information technology

The evolving landscape of information technology covers many key areas, including:

  • Networking and Infrastructure: Routers, servers, and other devices carry data across complex networks, allowing people and systems to communicate electronically3
  • Cloud Computing: Data and services stored and shared over the internet using networks of remote servers4
  • Data Management and Analytics: The practice of collecting, storing and evaluating information to detect patterns and trends5
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): Self-learning machines use algorithms to perform tasks, analyze big data and predict future events6
  • Internet of Things: The use of appliances, sensors, and other devices that connect to the Internet and communicate with each other7

Many information technology professionals specialize in one area. For instance, computer network architects build the infrastructure for data communication, while database architects develop systems to store information.8

Emerging threats and vulnerabilities in cybersecurity

The growing reliance on digital technologies has led to a significant rise in cybercrime. Malicious actors exploit vulnerabilities in IT systems to steal sensitive data, commit fraud and disrupt services.9

Examples of current and emerging threats include:9

  • Malware: Cybercriminals secretly install malicious code or software on devices or networks to damage data
  • Corporate Account Takeover: Criminals impersonate a business and transfer its money to their own accounts
  • Phishing attacks: Cybercriminals use social engineering to dupe users into believing they’re sharing information with a trustworthy person
  • Ransomware: Bad actors install malware on computer networks and hold data hostage until businesses agree to pay a ransom

Security measures and best practices

Cybersecurity and information technology professionals use many methods to detect and stop emerging threats. Popular security measures include:10

  • Firewalls: This software prevents data from exiting or entering the system without authorization
  • Physical Management: Access controls like badges and security codes stop unauthorized users from reaching computers with sensitive information
  • Encryption: Algorithms can make data unreadable without an encryption key
  • Incident Response: Companies develop plans to recover data and restore services as quickly as possible in the event of a cyberattack or natural disaster
  • Honeypot: Cybersecurity professionals use a fake server to lure criminals and gain information about their attacks

Regulatory compliance and privacy

Complex regulations govern the use of data and privacy in today’s evolving landscape. All 50 states require businesses to report data breaches that lead to the loss of personal information. Organizations must notify law enforcement, credit bureaus, clients and other stakeholders.11

Additionally, many laws regulate the use of specific types of data. For example, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) restricts the information websites collect from minors. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act requires financial institutions to develop transparent information-sharing practices.12

Emerging technologies and their impact

Many emerging technologies have already begun to reshape the digital sphere. These tools have numerous implications for cybersecurity and information technology.

Examples of cutting-edge technologies include:

  • Artificial Intelligence: This technology allows cybersecurity professionals to implement automated threat detection and incident handling13
  • Blockchain Technology: IT professionals can use blockchain technology to create confidential, tamper-resistant electronic health records14
  • Biometrics: Scanners that read fingerprints, irises and other unique human body parts limit access to secured data and systems15

Cybersecurity risk management and digital success

Cybersecurity professionals use many techniques and tools to assess and manage risk, such as:16

  • Conducting regular risk assessments to identify network vulnerabilities
  • Researching emerging threats and countermeasures
  • Educating employees about cybersecurity best practices
  • Creating risk response plans to manage cyber threats

Companies can achieve digital success and maintain compliance by using diverse methods to evaluate and mitigate risk.

Cybersecurity and IT governance

A comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and strict IT governance models build trust with clients and stakeholders. These frameworks should include:17

  • Vulnerability management programs
  • Risk management programs
  • Network security and methods for data encryption
  • Cybersecurity awareness programs
  • Cryptography techniques to safeguard information
  • Incident detection tools and response plans

These components make data-handling processes more reliable, transparent, and trustworthy.17

Ethical and legal considerations

IT and cybersecurity professionals may encounter ethical dilemmas related to emerging technologies. For example, AI tools can have implicit biases that may cause them to profile unfairly. Similarly, the use of machine learning to process big data raises questions about data privacy.18

Professionals can navigate ethical decisions by complying with industry guidelines and laws. The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) and other professional associations have established codes of ethics for IT experts.19 Additionally, numerous federal and state laws govern ethical data handling and privacy rights. For example, the Federal Trade Commission Act requires websites to uphold their own privacy policies.20

Future challenges in the evolving landscape of cybersecurity and information technology

The cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving and information security and IT professionals are likely to see new challenges at every turn of their careers. One of the latest threats is the use of AI by cybercriminals to develop new cyberattacks. Furthermore, the rise of the Internet of Things has increased the number of devices cybersecurity experts need to protect.21

Unfortunately, the cybersecurity industry is experiencing a workforce shortage, with over many positions unfilled because of a lack of qualified individuals. As a result, many organizations don’t have enough employees to secure data and achieve compliance, but it could make a great opportunity to get into the field.22

Step into your future

Marquette University’s Online M.S. in Computer and Information Science gives you the core knowledge and skills you need to thrive as a leader in today’s digital landscape. Concentrations in IT Management or Information Assurance and Cyber Defense allow you to align your studies with your career goals and learn from esteemed faculty. You’ll also learn new skills and gain access to a variety of opportunities via the Center for Cyber Security Awareness and Cyber Defense.

If you're excited about the latest trends and security products and eager to take on the next biggest challenges in tech, speak with an admissions outreach advisor to learn more about Marquette's online computer and information science degree.


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  14. Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7362828/
  15. Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from nist.gov/national-security-standards/biometrics-public-safety-and-security
  16. Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from cisa.gov/sites/default/files/2023-02/22_1201_safecom_guide_to_cybersecurity_risk_assessment_508-r1.pdf
  17. Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from isaca.org/resources/news-and-trends/isaca-now-blog/2023/achieving-digital-trust-through-it-governance-and-cybersecurity
  18. Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from mdpi.com/1424-8220/23/3/1151
  19. Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from isaca.org/credentialing/code-of-professional-ethics
  20. Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/state-of-privacy-laws-in-us/
  21. Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from isaca.org/resources/news-and-trends/industry-news/2023/an-executive-view-of-key-cybersecurity-trends-and-challenges-in-2023
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