Let's face it: Almost none of us would knowingly show up to a gunfight. Both fighting and guns are unpredictable. You never know how a fight is going to go, and guns have an intimidating tendency to inflict lethal wounds, even if the shooter isn't necessarily intending to kill. On the other hand, if there were no conceivable way to avoid showing up for a gunfight, you'd want to bring your own gun, right? It would be singularly unwise to, as the saying goes, show up to a gunfight with a knife.
Or, even worse, show up with nothing at all. At least with the knife, you could throw it at the other guy, or maybe dodge the first shot and get close enough to stab or slash. Yet that's what many people do, each day, when it comes to computer security. A recent study found that one in three U.S. computers don't have any sort of data protection solution installed at all. One-third of all computer users in the United States are essentially sitting ducks, entirely at the mercy of an intruder capable of any degree of sophistication.
You may not be looking for a gunfight, but hackers and thieves are looking for your system. And if there's nothing in place to stop or slow them down should they find you, so much the better — for them. Interestingly, as last week's global explosion of ransomware attacks bore out, it's not just individual users whose defenses are woefully inadequate. Absolutely critical IT networks, like those that support hospitals and public infrastructure, were penetrated with alarming ease. Clearly there are lots of ill-equipped gunfighters out there.
That's just one reason why employers are searching high and low for skilled cybersecurity specialists. If you're a tech enthusiast and looking to pin down a specialization that will have your résumé more or less continually in demand, then it's worth considering jumping into information security. If you already work in IT, then you're a step ahead: It's a good bet that many of the skills you've already developed will transfer directly to a career in cybersecurity.
For those of you whose knowledge of information security is essentially a blank slate, you can create a rock-solid foundation for your new career by picking up a subscription to TestOut Continuing Education's Security Pro training and certification. Security Pro not only includes TestOut's best-in-breed LabSim training platform, but it will fully prepare you to take and pass the CompTIA Security+ exam. Couple that with our own Security Pro credential, and you'll be standing tall with not one, but two security-specific sidearms.
Know what's even better than showing up to a gunfight with your own firearm — as opposed to merely having a knife, or nothing at all? Showing up with two.
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