Security - Host or Network?
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  1. #1
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    Security - Host or Network?

    I need to decide very soon on a course of study. Iím unsure whether I should focus on host security or network security. Based on the little I know, I prefer the former, but I have the impression that networking is a more stable career. Which did/would you choose? Why?

    UB

  2. #2
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    I need to bump this. Apologies if my question is naive. I'm a newbie to digital security, and I really need your input. I've narrowed down my degree options (at DeVry) to the following:

    1) B.S. Computer Information Systems w/ emphasis in Info Sys Sec
    2) B.S. Network and Communications Management

    Option 1 seems more of a general computing education, and 2 is much more specialized. 1 offers little networking knowledge, and 2 offers no programming. I would imagine many AO members would probably choose 2, but, either way, I'd like to know why.

    - Why did you choose the career path you did, and how did your impression change once you established yourself in the industry?
    - Now that you have hindsight, which of the two previously mentioned degree options would you recommend?

    Any other thoughts, such as working conditions, stumbling blocks, regrets, suggestions, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Just trying to get a handle on the digital security field lest I make a colossal mistake. Many thanks.

  3. #3
    Some Assembly Required ShagDevil's Avatar
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    Uncle Buki,
    Personally, if I had nothing else to go on besides the title, I'd go with option 2. Option 1 sounds a little too vague for my liking.
    Why did you choose the career path you did
    Because I always wanted to have god-like powers over people and the local food store is clear out of omnipotence. So I settled for being a Network Admin.
    No seriously, I always liked working with computers and kept at it until I got the job I wanted.
    how did your impression change once you established yourself in the industry?
    I realized that I'm an over-paid idiot who oversees other over-paid idiots that use the network. I also realized that by being a Network Admin, I inherently became an electrician, a structural engineer, water-jug changer, a coffee pot fixer and the all important- bug squisher guy. (somehow, it's assumed I can fix everything in the building).

    On the serious side, I would really check into both options to make sure you're not missing anything in "fine print". See if DeVry could give you a hint as to what each major is intended for in the business market. To me, that's key.
    The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his - George Patton

  4. #4
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    Just a little addition ...

    To add to ShagDevil's excellent response, I would suggest asking DeVry to point you towards career path's chosen by ex-students of each course. that way you could get a handle where each one might lead you.

    Good luck with your decision.
    Tomorrow is another day for yesterdays work!

  5. #5
    Master-Jedi-Pimps0r & Moderator thehorse13's Avatar
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    I would focus on neither. Here's why. Security is melting into the business process and will continue to do so. Soon, security will be plug and play much like hardware is today. This means that security professionals will have to understand the business just as much as the technology used to forward the business, when to use it, to what degree and then have to tie positive returns to the security added to the business process.

    That said, if I *had* to choose, I would select network security simply because long term, businesses cannot sustain (or justify) the cost of fighting malware at the host level and will soon respond by moving back towards a thin client architecture. Risk assessments will drive this movement exponentially. Be smart and get a business degree AND a technical security degree and you'll be very marketable now and in the years to come. Mark my words.

    --TH13
    Our scars have the power to remind us that our past was real. -- Hannibal Lecter.
    Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful. -- John Wooden

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    I agree with thehorse when he says "Security is melting into the business process and will continue to do so" but I would go one step further and say that it has to otherwise it will not work.

    Security can no longer be that annoying team in the basement that is a pain, it has to integrate with the business and encourage the business to be more proactive in security, otherwise we are always chasing our tails and playing catch up in the old business driver V's Security requirement game.

    Sorry, that was my little rant. As for your question, what exactly do you want to do? Do you want to be a technician, or do you wan't to be a security advisor?

    My read on the two courses are that the first will concentrate more more on systems and Security concepts and will provide you with a more broad security and system knowledge plus the conceptual level Security stuff (which is what I did), the second will probably be more hands on and technical and more focussed at networks and Network Operating systems (possibly).

    If you want to be a Network admin that specialises in Security administration go with 2, If you want to be a more generalist Information and IT security Advisor (i.e policies and guidelines, auditing, risk assessment, compliance monitoring, business analysis, software development and project management ) I would go with number 1

    Remember these are just my opinions, I don't know the exact details of the courses.

  7. #7
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    cabby, you referred to networking with the word "technician." This could be a problem for me should I choose the networking degree because it's an online program. So I'm wondering how am I supposed ot learn to be a technician without hands-on experience. What are some of the things (other than simply plugging in cables) that I would need to familiarize myself with?

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the replies, folks. Horse, right now I'm more interested in the technical side of things, but I definitely see your point with Business (and I've heard it from others too) - an MBA down the road is definitely something I'm thinking about. At DeVry there is also an electronics engineering degree, with an emphasis in security (physical security). Anyone have an opinion on the engineering field?

  9. #9
    Master-Jedi-Pimps0r & Moderator thehorse13's Avatar
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    Egineering, in MHO, is going to get VERY competitive. You will have to deal with engineering shops across seas and may find yourself burnt out soon after getting in the game. All this at a cut rate salary too. Many developed countries are already equal or better at it than the U.S. Be careful.

    --TH13
    Our scars have the power to remind us that our past was real. -- Hannibal Lecter.
    Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful. -- John Wooden

  10. #10
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    My guess it would probably involve indepth study of IP addresses, subnets etc as well as common networking protocols concerned with routing, switching, authentication, remote access as well as how to configure these devices (routing and firewall rules etc) as well as the study of common Network operating systems and Network devices.

    There isn't many (if any) degrees where you actually plug cables etc but there may be simulated lab exercises that say Computer X and computer Y need to communicate via protocols XYZ, but computer Z should only be able to communicate with computer Y using protocols WX configure the router appropriately.

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