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Cyber-security is the discipline that focuses on protecting computers, networks and devices used to store data. It is increasingly important for businesses because of the large amounts of sensitive information that are stored on these systems, including customer data and intellectual property. In addition, many attacks are designed to disrupt operations, which can have a financial impact as well as damage a business’s reputation.

Cybercriminals target all industries, but some sectors are more attractive than others to hackers. For example, financial services, healthcare and retail companies tend to have large amounts of data on their customers. This is often of great value to criminals, who can use it to steal money or identities. In fact, cyberattacks against these types of organizations have become a leading threat to national security, outpacing even terrorism.

Businesses that have a strong cybersecurity framework can minimize disruptions to operations and avoid losing customer trust, which can be difficult and expensive to recover from. It is also important for organizations to back up their data regularly and improve their firewalls to strengthen access controls.

Cybersecurity is an evolving field, and professionals should seek out industry certifications to demonstrate their abilities. Additionally, students who are interested in pursuing a career in this field should consider earning a college degree rather than attending a bootcamp. College programs are often offered on a part-time, asynchronous basis, which makes it possible for students to work while they study. Moreover, a degree from a reputable institution will provide credibility and help students land jobs in this field.