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Cyber-security is the technology, procedures and infrastructure that protect information systems from unauthorized attacks. As the world becomes more dependent on IT and technology, cyberattacks have become more common and complex.

The need for strong cybersecurity policies and infrastructure is vital for businesses, individuals and governments alike. Cybersecurity helps prevent hackers from stealing sensitive data and assets, as well as from infecting computers with malware that can disrupt operations.

At home, cybersecurity includes safeguarding devices like smart thermostats, video doorbells, nursery monitors and pet feeders. These devices are typically connected to the internet and can be vulnerable to attack by malicious actors seeking personal information or sabotage through the device’s controls. At work, it includes ensuring that employee devices, networks and data are protected with antivirus protection, firewalls, software updates (which often include security patches) and two-factor authentication, among other tools.

A cybersecurity breach can have devastating effects for an organization, not only resulting in loss of valuable data but also eroding the trust of the company’s customer base. In fact, a survey found that 86.6% of customers would lose faith in a business after learning of a data breach of their personal information.

The good news is that anyone can begin building the skills needed for a career in cybersecurity. Though many of the most prestigious certifications require previous experience, entry-level credentials such as the Cybersecurity Professional Certificate can help you gain critical in-demand skills and become job-ready in just 6 months.