What is Network Security?

Network security is an over-arching term that describes that the policies and procedures implemented by a network administrator to avoid and keep track of unauthorized access, exploitation, modification, or denial of the network and network resources. This type of security combines multiple layers of defenses at the edge and in the network. Each network security layer implements policies and controls. Authorized users gain access to network resources, but the system blocks malicious actors from carrying out exploits and threats.

As you research the colleges for network security programs, you will see the terms cyber security (cybersecurity) and information security. The three are not synonymous. Information security (also known as InfoSec) ensures that both physical and digital data are protected from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, inspection, recording, or destruction. Whereas, the focus of network security is protecting a network from unauthorized accesses. The role of network security is to protect the organization’s IT infrastructure from all types of cyber threats.

Cybersecurity, a subset of information security, is the practice of defending an organization’s networks, computers, and data from unauthorized digital access, attack or damage. Specialists accomplish this by implementing various processes, technologies, and practices.


At the undergraduate level, most schools have their assortment of General Education courses. These may include Communication, English Composition, Algebra, Physical Sciences, Biology, and others. Colleges do this so you will have a well-rounded education covering a variety of subjects. Once you dispense with the General courses, you begin classes in your major.

The following is a look at some of the classes you may expect in a network security program.

Networks:  Material focuses on the general concepts and applications of computer operating systems and network infrastructure.

Network and Security:  This class prepares students for the CompTIA Security+ certification exam. Graduates will be able to demonstrate the knowledge and skills required to install and configure systems to secure applications, networks, and devices.

Emerging Technologies:  The course examines emerging technologies, identifies the benefits and drawbacks of technology adoption, and provides students with a process to evaluate technologies.

We outlined the difference between network security and information security; however, some programs combine the two. In addition, some of the curricula involve cybersecurity. A Bachelor of Science in Computer and Network Security provides students with the skills to tackle cybersecurity problems, as well as the credentials for information security. This particular degree prepares students to sit for these industry certifications:

  • CISA – Certified Information System Auditor
  • CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional
  • Security+
  • Network+​
  • ACE – computer forensics certification
  • A+
  • Linux+

Classes in the following subjects allow students to attain the aforementioned certifications:

Principles and Practice of Information Security: This course provides the latest security tips and techniques on Internet and computer security best practices. Topics also include important privacy legislation, case studies of infamous hackers, how to develop an effective security system, selection of IT security products, firewall benefits, and more.

Firewalls and Network Security:  This class studies Firewalls, Perimeter Security, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), Edge Devices, and Assessment. Students will learn how to develop a set of firewall rules that will keep hackers out, how to look at all possible ways in which unauthorized users might gain access to network assets.

Degree Options

Another program to consider is one that incorporates several aspects of Information Technology. An IT degree in Networking, Administration, and Information Security concentration teaches career-oriented skills in areas like designing, integrating and implementing the hardware and security software. Your classes in this bachelor’s degree include systems analysis, information security management, network security, security engineering, network routing, and more.

There are programs offering a degree in Cybersecurity and Information Security. This pairing involves the study of strategy, policy, and standards regarding the security of and operations in cyberspace.  Classes include threat reduction, vulnerability reduction, deterrence, international engagement, incident response, resiliency, and recovery policies. Additional classwork studies computer network operations, information assurance, law enforcement, diplomacy, military, and intelligence missions as they relate to the security and stability of the global information and communications infrastructure.

This is a short list of the jobs for graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in network security or related program. The salary and growth numbers provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2017.

Network and Computer Systems Administrator: Network system administrators are experts in hardware and software needs.

  • Median Annual Salary: $81,100
  • Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Information Security Analyst: Information security analysts are responsible for protecting companies from data theft and cyber attacks.

  • Median Annual Salary: $95,500
  • Projected Growth Rate: 28%

Network Architect: Network architects design and implement data communication networks with information security in mind.

  • Median Annual Salary: $104,650
  • Projected Growth Rate: 6%

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