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Cyber-security is the discipline focused on protecting data, information technology systems and network devices. Government agencies, military services, corporate businesses, retail businesses, medical and healthcare organisations – all these and more collect and store vast amounts of data. This data can include intellectual property, customer and employee data, financial records and many other types of sensitive information that could be used by criminals for nefarious purposes.

Protecting against cyber threats and attacks requires a holistic approach to security, encompassing a risk-based framework that is regularly reviewed and updated with new threat intelligence. It also involves ensuring that IT systems are actively managed and monitored, with penetration testing, vulnerability assessments and other proactive approaches to finding flaws in security. Staff awareness training is important to help educate employees about phishing, malware and other scams and how to spot and report suspicious activity.

It is important to remember that human error is the leading cause of data breaches, and a solid technical defence can be undermined by a single unintentional mistake or malicious intent. Formal training, classes and seminars on computer security best practice, company policies and incident reporting can help to mitigate this risk.

The field of cyber security is highly skilled, with many professionals working in it requiring significant qualifications and experience. Cybersecurity experts will often have a bachelor’s degree in IT, but bootcamps are gaining in popularity as an alternative to a traditional four-year degree and can be completed in less time with a focus on practical skills.