Information security of computer systems and networks

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Cyberattacks in the modern world are an integral part of the global technological threat, which has become a significant factor in economic and political life. Only trained specialists can fight it, but, as stated in the Doctrine of Information Security of Russia, there are not enough high-level professionals in the country.

Staffing requirements and training options

The National Program "Digital Economy" and its subprogram "Information Security" set a goal to increase the number of specialists in the field of information security from 7 thousand in 2018 to 20 thousand in 2024. But even this amount may not be enough. Higher educational institutions of the country are now formulating proposals for participation in the training program for the digital economy, competing with each other and finding solutions that are most consistent with the provisions laid down in the Doctrine and the national program.

As of the end of 2017, specialists in the digital economy were trained in 331 universities of the country, including non-state ones. This year, about 42 thousand students were admitted in all areas related to informatization, 25 thousand places were budgetary. Of the total, only 852 data protection specialists fell to the share of data protection specialists, which means that the economy is not provided with specialists of this profile.

Most technological universities - MEPhI, Higher School of Economics, federal universities - have established data protection faculties, but practice has also revealed the need for training specialists in a narrower area of information security of computer systems and networks. The specialized course is prepared on the basis of the corresponding program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and reflects the main trends in the field of information security. It will become the basis for training specialists who are tuned in to the practical solution of problems of protection against cyber threats. Like most professional retraining courses, it is taught at various universities in the country, but these and similar programs are also being implemented on the basis of private educational institutions of additional professional education.

It is often difficult to talk about the quality of training in such educational institutions; the responsibility to determine how the courses correspond to the needs of the time has been assumed by the Federal Service for Customs and Export Control. Most of the additional professional training programs for specialists in this area are approved by the FSTEC RF, which indicates the quality of training. The department is actively involved in shaping the training course, helping to change it in the direction of the development of the situation in the cyber threat market.

When choosing training in a popular specialty and similar professional retraining courses, you need to make sure that the program is coordinated with the FSTEC of the Russian Federation, its main parameters are in line with state policy. Specialties of this profile are closed, only citizens of the Russian Federation can study there. Citizens of other countries, even the CIS, or persons who have citizenship of another state, will not be accepted for training, a large amount of information will be associated with state secrets.

Development of the direction

A specialist trained in a professional direction will be in demand in various sectors of the economy, education, and management. The Ministry of Labor and Employment conducted a survey "The need for personnel in the field of computer security." He set goals to determine:

  • to what extent Russian companies experience staff shortages in terms of trained specialists in the field of computer security;
  • how satisfied companies are with the quality of training;
  • how is the selection of personnel and what difficulties are experienced by the organization;
  • what plans do companies have to change the number of specialists in this profile at the enterprise.

The results of the survey should become the basis for changing the system of training specialists, expanding educational programs, bringing them in line with the expectations of the employer. Also, the results of the survey should become the basis for the development of public-private partnerships in the field of training specialists, the creation of joint professional training programs in the business areas of interest.

Demand in business

Businesses are most interested in getting professionals navigating today's digital threats. The National Program "Digital Economy" is based on the concept of close cooperation between the state, business and science in the field of digital technologies. One of its results should be the emergence of at least 10 world-class companies working with disruptive technologies and surrounded by an ecosystem of startups. To solve this problem, a joint training program for information security of computer systems and networks is needed, in which the work of the state and universities would be coordinated with the needs of growing companies - world leaders in the field of IT technologies.

Principles of training a specialist

Experts believe that even the best training program provides an understanding of no more than 80% of real-life threats, 20% falls on the so-called "zero-day" threats, that is, they appear in real time. To be able to resist them, a specialist must deeply navigate the ecosystem of digital threats, understand the mechanism of their occurrence and the principle of formation. But cybersecurity is not limited to hardware and software solutions, it is based on an organizational basis. A professional must have a deep understanding of compliance, that is, know the regulatory documents, standards and regulations and be able to independently develop corporate security policies.

The preparation is carried out in many directions. As part of the training, the specialist gains knowledge in the following areas:

  • information threats in computer systems and networks;
  • basic concepts of security policy;
  • fundamental Russian and foreign standards in the field of information security;
  • basic cryptographic methods and algorithms for protecting computer data.

Normative base

Within the framework of this topic, the specialist will study Russian legislation describing the rules and principles of protecting information and personal data, recommendations of regulators - FSTEC and the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, Russian and international standards for ensuring the security of systems and networks of various categories: from industrial automated control systems (ACS) to automated banking systems (ABS).

Management of risks

Security risks in corporate systems and networks change daily, and it is necessary to understand the logic behind them. The specialist will study:

  • risk assessment methods;
  • tools for monitoring, identifying and diagnosing risks;
  • methodology for making a decision in identifying an information security incident.

Within the framework of practical tasks, risk assessment procedures are performed according to foreign and national methods.

Corporate organizational documentation

The ability to build an information security system from the organizational and legal backbone is necessary, a specialist will learn:

  • prepare documents provided for by the requirements of the legislation and regulations of the FSTEC of the Russian Federation in the field of protection of commercial secrets and personal data from unauthorized access;
  • develop information security policies and concepts that govern user actions.

As part of the practice, a specialist is usually instructed to independently prepare a package of organizational and administrative documentation for the company.

Information security measures

Knowing how to plan and manage information security activities will be a valuable practical skill. The specialist will study:

  • general procedure for organizing security of information of limited access;
  • the concept of multilevel defense (defense in depth).

Technologies and means of protection

As part of the course, a specialist will gain knowledge about technologies:

  • identifying vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks;
  • differentiated access control;
  • means of cryptographic information protection (CIPF);
  • creating and using virtual private networks (VPN);
  • firewalling;
  • intrusion detection;
  • antivirus protection.

But just studying theory does not make a person a specialist; practice is necessary. In order to respond to the challenges of the time, specialists must go through it in an aggressive environment in which cyberattacks are a daily routine. The country's universities providing training in this specialty organize cooperation for students with leading organizations operating in the IT technology market, for example, Rostelecom. Some private universities offer for a year (260 hours) of training a specialty to conduct from four real audits of security systems in large companies, gaining not only knowledge, but also practical experience, the ability to configure monitoring tools and apply them flexibly.

The economy is already challenging the data protection professional. The demand for personnel who have undergone professional retraining in this specialty is great, and with the increase in the number and degree of threats, it becomes more and more.