How is security different in government, business, and education?

If you look at the foundations of information security, they’re all there. For example, we look at the CIA triad, the three things that information security professionals always think about. Confidentiality. Making sure that nobody has access to sensitive information that shouldn’t. Integrity. Making sure that nobody can make an unauthorized modification to information. And availability. Making sure that authorized users have access to the information that they need when they need it.

Those three things are the cornerstone across all industries of information security. The other thing that’s true across all industries, is that security is about risk. It’s about risk management. Going out and looking at different situations, trying to figure out what risks are involved, and then taking actions to mitigate that risk to the extent that’s appropriate given the business context. Now, there are also differences in information security across different industries. When you’re in the government, you’re in a situation where maybe you’re involved as a regulator, or you’re trying to sort through a lot of different regulations that actually apply to you as a government agency.

And the government tends to move pretty slowly. So, being in security in that type of environment can sometimes be a little frustrating, but you know that the work that you’re doing is contributing to society as a whole. In business, you wind up with a much faster pace, and you have different goals though. The organization has clear business objectives, and the role of security in those situations is to make sure that the organization can achieve its business objectives without jeopardizing it’s security objectives at the same time.

And then, education works actually in ways that are pretty similar to the way business works, but you have an added twist. You have a mission of educating students. So, you often find students involved in your security operations. You might have student employees working side by side with your regular staff, and part of our mission is to make sure that we educate our students about the field, and give them opportunities for professional growth and development, as well.

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