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Web Security: How Security Management Professionals Protect Applications and Servers

Business informatics — sometimes called business information systems or management information systems — is where IT, data and computer science intersect with people who use digital assets to drive success.

This user-centric approach to data management focuses on designing, developing and deploying intuitive systems that bridge the gap between technical operations and business processes.

“Informatics is all about seeking human meaning in a world of data. It is how we find, process, protect, and share information,” says Kevin Kirby, dean of the College of Informatics at Northern Kentucky University (NKU).

NKU’s online Master of Science in Informatics (MBI) – Security Management program can help professionals future-proof their careers. It includes deep dives into network, web application and operating system security to prepare graduates for key data and infrastructure protection roles.

Why Choose the NKU Online MBI – Security Management Program?

The demand for security management and cybersecurity professionals is climbing with the increasingly competitive digital transformation of the global economy. Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated at cracking web security protocols, firewalls, encryption and authentication systems.

The NKU curriculum emphasizes a holistic and proactive approach to cybersecurity. It includes hands-on labs and exercises to reinforce lectures and provide practical experience in risk assessment and acceptable-use protocols, data management practices and security measures, including:

  • Encryption. Business informatics professionals implement encryption technologies to secure data throughout the pipeline to prevent unauthorized access in the event of a network breach.
  • Firewalls and network segmentation. Security managers build, configure and maintain firewalls around companies’ digital assets to control access, often dividing large networks into smaller parts to restrict the impact of a successful cyberattack.
  • Continuous monitoring and auditing. This proactive approach to identifying potential vulnerabilities ensures effective and optimized security measures.

As remote work becomes the new normal, security management is becoming more complicated as work-from-home employees create new attack surfaces for state-sponsored hackers and organized cybercrime syndicates.

“Enterprises face the dual challenge of securing their network infrastructure while having limited control over the devices provided by ISPs for the home networks of employees,” Forbes warns.

What Emerging Web Application Security Issues Does the Curriculum Address?

Cybercriminals leverage tactics such as social engineering to gain access to networks and inject code into applications to alter their actions. The following are some types of code injection attacks:

  • SQL injection. Cybercriminals hack an application’s database, enabling them to steal, modify or erase sensitive data and execute malicious commands.
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS). This involves corrupting a legitimate website and prompting it to infect users’ browsers and steal personal information, including identities.
  • Cross-site request forgery (CSRF). An attacker tricks a logged-in user into clicking a malicious link, which can result in changed account settings or unauthorized transactions.

Business informatics security managers must often provide oversight to protect digital assets by recognizing potential vulnerabilities in applications and closing them before hackers can exploit them.

“Web application security policies must be implemented and updated to assure online platforms’ trustworthiness and safeguard enterprises and their users from emerging cyber threats,” GBHackers notes in its 2023 Web Application Security Guide.

Why Do Operating Systems Need to Be Hardened Against Attack?

System hardening refers to critical measures — such as enforcing robust password and two-factor authentication standards, system preventative maintenance and upgrade standards and firewall and safelist protocols — needed to strengthen infrastructure security.

Hackers have dozens of tools to compromise devices, network and database operating systems and add more daily. Beyond the most familiar — brute force, social engineering and denial of service, among others — security managers are faced with the following:

  • Zero-day exploits. Hackers pick through software code to find weaknesses before the manufacturer does and attack before a patch can be released.
  • Credential sniffing. Cybercriminals infect networks with malware that intercepts and captures login credentials and authentication tokens.
  • DNS spoofing. Malicious actors manipulate the Domain Name System (DNS) to redirect users to malicious websites or intercept communication, potentially leading to unauthorized access or data theft.

Through NKU’s online MBI – Security Management program, security professionals can develop the skills and expertise to recognize and respond to cyberattacks against their organization’s applications and servers.

Learn more about NKU’s online Master of Science in Business Informatics – Security Management program.

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