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Beginner’s Guide to Cybersecurity

With more of us storing personal information online more than ever before, the threat of our data being compromised by hackers and viruses has also risen. This has led to a rapidly increasing need for both educating the general population about basic data protection principles and professionals who can help implement these complex solutions on our behalf.

The concept of our data being vulnerable can be unnerving, but learning more about how cybersecurity professionals do their jobs may put you more at ease. It might even inspire you to become one yourself! 

Triad of Cybersecurity

The triad of cybersecurity concept further defines the basic principles that contribute to the security of any organization: Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability. This model is also known as the CIA Triad and it has informed how agencies create policies surrounding their internal cybersecurity. It may help you to think of each component as a goal or objective for an organization. Threats are also evaluated based on how they will impact one or more of these principles. 


This refers to the ways an organization works to keep data private and prevent personal information from getting into the hands of unauthorized parties. An attack against an agency’s confidentiality can take many forms. It can be a targeted attack or it can be the unfortunate result of human carelessness, like neglecting to encrypt data or choosing weak passwords. This type of breach can be prevented by data encryption, powerful authentication systems, and proper training for all employees regarding how to protect themselves. 


In the cybersecurity field, the concept of integrity relates to making sure that information has not been altered and therefore can still be trusted. For data to have integrity, it needs to be reliable, accurate, and authentic. Without realizing it, we assume the integrity of our data all the time. When we check our bank statements, we inherently trust that those balances are correct. When we purchase something online, we trust that the vendor won’t change the price after the transaction is complete. One of the biggest countermeasures to protect the integrity of data is called non-repudiation, or being unable to refute a claim. For example, digital signatures are used to prove that correct information was sent in case someone claims they were given a different message.


Data doesn’t have much value if it isn’t accessible to those who are authorized to use it. Therefore, availability refers to the networks and systems that store the data being reliable and accessible whenever people need them. There are many threats to the availability of data. These include things like power outages, disasters, and of course human error. Cybersecurity specialists work to ensure data is available by completing regular system updates, data backup plans, and off-site storage in the event of permanent damage. 

Important Cybersecurity Specialties

Cybersecurity might sound like one career path, but it is an umbrella term to describe all of the different professionals who must work together to keep data safe. There are several specialties within the industry of cybersecurity. While some of these specialties may overlap in responsibilities or required skills, they each play an important role in the overall protection of private information. Below are a few examples of cybersecurity specialties, but there are several other options available. 

Identity and Access Management (IAM)

These professionals handle the ways we use authentication and identification to gain access to our systems. They also generally enforce these policies across an organization and are responsible for keeping up to date on the latest identification technologies. Because the ways we log into different systems and devices are so varied, these professionals need to be well-versed in a lot of different phones, computers, and operating systems. 

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

These professionals help manage virus and malware detection on the devices used by an organization. They also deploy system updates, patches, and make sure that antivirus software works properly with all of the different technologies that an agency may be required to use. If something appears to be interfering with the security system in place, DLP professionals are the first ones to troubleshoot the issue.

Penetration Testing

Members of this team are responsible for purposefully attacking their agency’s systems to assess for weaknesses. The hope is that this can be done before actual attackers get the chance. Based on the information they find, they will make recommendations to the rest of the team regarding how to strengthen their defenses against hackers and malware. They also come up with what is called “human engineering” tests, which try to convince employees of the company to divulge personal information through means like fake password reset emails. 

Learn About Cybersecurity With Career Centers

If you’re ready to get started on your journey toward a career in cybersecurity, check out the cybersecurity classes and bootcamps available through Noble Desktop, a partner program of Career Centers. Class sizes here are deliberately kept small so you can receive more personalized attention from your instructor. 

If you’re a beginner who wants to learn just the fundamentals, Noble Desktop offers a one-day Intro to Cybersecurity & Networks course. You’ll learn different basic security protocols and leave with a greater understanding of network models. Or, if you already have some skills with the Python language and want to apply those to a career in cybersecurity, you can check out the Python for Network Security class. 

Those looking for a truly immersive and comprehensive experience can look into the Cybersecurity Bootcamp. This course requires a few months of your time, but you’ll walk away with a solid foundation of knowledge. The course also includes several 1-on-1 mentoring sessions designed to prepare you for job interviews and other networking events. 

Learn more in these courses

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