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Cyber Security Degree Requirements

Nov
02

Once a specialty only linked with government agencies and defense contractors, cyber security is now in the mainstream. Industries like health care, finance, manufacturing, and retail all hire cyber security professionals to protect valuable info from cyber breaches. The demand for trained specialists in this field is high. A report by job analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies discovered job postings for openings in cyber security have grown three times faster than those for IT job overall, and cyber security professionals are earning nine percent more than their IT counterparts. 

What Does a Career in Cyber Security Involve?

From “ethical hackers” who look for and exploit security vulnerabilities in web-based applications and network systems to cryptographers who examine and decrypt hidden information from cyber-terrorists, cyber security professionals work hard to make sure data stays out of the wrong hands. Cyber security professionals work in almost every industry, responding quickly to real-world threats. While there are cyber security associate degree programs, high-level careers usually require an array of technical IT skills and advanced analysis capabilities found in graduate-level degree programs.

Cyber Security Degrees and Careers In-Depth

A four-year cyber security degree program concentrates on the variety of methods used to protect data and information systems. Students get training in technical and business skills like database applications, systems administration, and data recovery. Coursework mixes criminal psychology, digital forensics, and policy analysis to offer a complete perspective of IT security. There are hundreds of job titles in cyber security, and some of the top positions include:

  • Security Analyst
  • Security Engineer
  • Security Architect
  • Security Administrator
  • Security Software Developer
  • Cryptographer
  • Cryptanalyst
  • Security Consultant

Pursuing a Cyber Security Degree & Career

While it’s possible to find some entry-level cyber security positions with only an associate degree, most jobs require a four-year bachelor’s degree in cyber security or a related field like IT or computer science. Coursework in programming and statistics in addition to classes in ethics and computer forensics prepare students with the technical and analytical skills needed for successful careers in cyber security.

In an environment where data breaches are becoming more and more frequent, more cyber security degree programs are being added each year. Before deciding on a cyber security degree, students should make sure that it is not only accredited, but also supports their career goals.

 Associate Degree in Cyber Security

An associate degree in cyber security is a two-year program suitable for the following types of situations:

  • Securing entry-level work as a computer support technician or a similar position
  • An added qualification for those already working in the field
  • A step on a path to a four-year cyber security degree

Associate degree coursework includes the vulnerabilities of a variety of hardware and software systems, network technologies, and key cyber security concepts like security administration and intrusion detection. Many programs also prepare students for certification exams typically required for full-time employment, ranging from basic CompTIA Security+ to ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Cyber Security Certificates

Many colleges and universities offer certificates in cyber security for those who are looking to develop further expertise in the field or add credentials to their resume. Students study the principles of computer systems security, including attack protection and prevention. Courses delve into cryptographic techniques, legal issues in computer security, digital forensics, and designs for network perimeter defenses.

Most certificates are 12-18 credits and accessible online. In some cases, students may apply credits earned in a certificate program to a master’s degree in cyber security at a later date. There are a few types of cyber security certificates that cover cyber security technology, cyber security management and related areas.

Complete advanced training

Some employers require candidates to hold an advanced degree like a master’s degree in cyber security. Prospective employers can also offer tuition assistance to meet this goal. A master’s degree requires an additional one to two years to complete after the bachelor’s degree-level and delivers advanced instruction in protecting computer networks and electronic infrastructures from attack. Students learn the ethics, practices, policies, and procedures of cyber security as they examine how to tackle network security defense techniques and countermeasures. Cyber security professionals also pursue certification to boost their skills while working full-time to gain hands-on experience.

Pass security clearances (if applicable)

Security clearances are a requirement for those who want to work with classified information as part of a military of government agency. A number of agencies issue both personnel and facility security clearances, but for the most part they are issued by the Department of Defense. Each type of clearance requires its own procedures and paperwork. The process, which can take three months to a year, does not begin until an employer has hired you, at which point you be given a conditional offer of employment. The first step is to submit clearance documentation, which is then followed by a Background Investigation.

Find the Right Cyber Security Degree Program

The field of cyber security concentrates on network and data protection at various levels. Whether you are looking for an accredited online program or a traditional on-campus program, students have a variety options when it comes to cyber security degrees.

While it is still a relatively fresh field, cyber security degrees are available at all levels, from associate degrees to PhD degrees. Students can engage in cyber security degrees online or in a campus-based environment. Each degree-level preps students for specific opportunities, from entry-level employment to careers in academia. Before choosing a cyber security program, students should ensure it supports their long-term goals

Top 5 Tips for Zoom Party Success!

Jul
31

5 Tips for Zoom Party Success!

Before March 2020, many people had not heard of Zoom. It’s quite the platform for sure – if you know how to use it, you know how to have a Zoom party too!

Did you know you can invite artists to your Zoom Party? These days they are becoming experts and have been using it to draw remote digital caricatures, or eSketches™, for a while. Over time they have learned how to make your Zoom events, birthday parties, work meetings, etc., flow smoothly with fewer hiccups and so everyone has a great time!

General Zoom Tips For Zoom Etiquette

Some zoom meeting etiquette is the same whether you’re in person or online. Zoom-specific options, like muting if there are distracting noises, is a feature we only wish we had for in person meetings! Here are some tips to improve your Zoom online events:

  1. Use the zoom chat feature! This is especially true if your conversation is only between you and one or two other people. Don’t take the focus from the speaker just to share that important idea – or that funny comment – with your friend or colleague!
  2. Ask guests to log on a few moments early. Depending on your system, and how many people are logging in, it may take a minute or two to get up and running. If a waiting room is enabled, the host will need to let everyone in at the beginning.
  1. Keep your video on. No one likes speaking to a screen full of blank squares! Now more than ever, we desire to see your smiling faces! If you need to get up, move around or leave for a minute, go ahead and turn your video off as to not disrupt the event.
  2. Remind everyone to turn off all notifications and silence their devices next to them.
  3. Avoid logging in to your Zoom Party in the same room as someone else who is logged in on another device. This causes an annoying echo effect! Either log in on just one device and share, mute one device, or have one person go into another room.

More important have fun. This is your opportunity to interact with people. Plus, you can have a great memory to “take-home”.

What Qualifies for Bulk Mailing?

Jul
01

How Much Does Direct Mail Marketing Cost? 

Bulk mail is a discounted mailing service offered by the USPS for those who prepare and send large quantities of mail. If you regularly send out standard-sized mailings in an amount equal to or greater than the numbers below, you may be able to save money but working directly with a printer. They can offer direct mail production and distribution rather than taking your pre-printed pieces to the post office. 

Usually, your bulk price mail is cheaper than a regularly priced single piece of mail. Single piece means you’re paying full price for a standard piece of mail.

So, how many pieces do I need to send to qualify for bulk mail?

Below is a list of exactly how many verifiable pieces you need to send in order to qualify for bulk mailing discounts. If you’re sending as much or more than this, it can be more cost effective apply to a bulk mail program or work with a direct mail printer. 

You’ll need to send at least:

  • 500 pieces for First-Class Mail
  • 200 pieces (or 50 pounds of mail) for Standard Mail
  • 50 pieces for Parcel Select (also known as Standard Post)
  • 300 pieces for Presorted or Carrier Route Bound Printed Matter
  • 300 pieces for Library Mail
  • 300 pieces for Media Mail

How do I get a bulk mail discount?

First, you’ll need a mailing permit, basically an allowance to send large amounts of postage from a single facility. You can apply for this at your USPS Business Mail Acceptance Unit, which is also where you will drop off your bulk mail. Then you will have to pay the annual mailing fee.

Next, you pay for your postage using one of three ways:

  • Precanceled Stamps: these are stamps that are set aside for presorted First Class and Standard Mail. You pay a much lower price for them upfront and then only pay the difference when/if you use them.
  • Postage Meter/PC Postage: this is best for home-printed postage. You can save time and money when you’re printing your own postage.
  • Permit Imprint: this is ideal for high bulk mailings; however, the items have to be the exact same weight to qualify. You’ll also must have an “advanced deposit account” from the specific post office you’ll be using. You prepay for your postage, then use their postage indicia for your permit imprint rather than a printed stamp and they deduct it from your account.

Do I need to presort bulk mail?

Lastly, you have to presort your work. This requires going through and ensuring all of your mail is presorted by zip code. This is the key reason you get cheaper prices -you save the post office time which means you save money.

Often businesses find this goes beyond what they’re willing to spend time doing, but if you can afford the extra time it can save a significant amount of money on high volume shipping. 

Using Bulk Mail to Market your Business

Now that you know what qualifies for bulk mailing, how much does direct mail marketing cost? Data continues to show that consumers respond favorably to direct mail. When done strategically, direct mail is a great way to increase revenue for your business.

Before reviewing costs, it’s best to figure out what type of direct mail piece is most effective for your brand. While research from the Data and Marketing Association suggests the response rate is usually highest for oversized envelopes (versus something like a letter-sized mailer), you’ll still need to determine what will work best for your campaign goals.

Which is right for you is going to vary and depends on a few different things:

  • What’s your budget? – Oversized mailers and catalogs are more expensive to design, print and ship because of their increased weight. 
  • What are you selling? – If you sell a serious product, like insurance or tax preparation, you most likely will want to send a traditional letter. If your offer is more fun and creative, you can create a colorful and eye-catching postcard.
  • Who is your campaign targeting? – If you’re nurturing past customers who are already familiar with your company, you won’t need to give them as much information and a letter or postcard can suffice.  If you’re targeting cold leads, you may need to send a bigger brochure so they can learn more about you.

If you’re interested in the more expensive direct mail pieces, it’s a good idea to do testing on a smaller group so you can measure how well it converts before going wider with it. Working directly with a direct mail printer can be a cost-effective way to A/B test, and even save on campaign costs depending on your campaign specifics. 

Direct Mail Costs

Direct mail pieces costs can range anywhere from 30 cents to more than $10 per person, depending on how much you spend on design, copy writing, mailing lists, printing, and distribution. Some companies do much of this inhouse and wind up only paying for printing and mailing or you can find printers that also offer design services in addition to fulfillment and distribution. 

Let’s break down these individual cost factors:

Design Costs ($0 – $100)

When it comes to designing your direct mail piece, there are several options:

    DIY – If you only need something basic, like a renewal letter, you should be able to create something suitable in Microsoft Word.

    Use a template – You can find a number of websites that sell templates that cost $10 on average.

    Hire a professional – If you need creative help, your best bet is to pay a professional print designer. You can someone local in your area, find a freelancer online, or see if your printer offers design services.

Marketing Copy Costs ($0 – $100)

If you have a tight budget, you may have no other choice but to write your own marketing copy. However, if budget allows you can hire a professional copywriter. Your copy has to be persuasive and there is an art to getting it just right. Copywriters are trained to write content that hooks the audience and gets them to buy.

Mailing Lists Costs ($0 – $0.30 / record)

Free mailing lists can be generated by gathering data you already have on your current customers, or by doing a trade of your info with another business in your industry.

If neither of these options are a possibility, you will pay between .02-.30 cents on average per record. The cost will vary based on the quality of the list, how many records you buy, and how many times you can send to the list. 

Printing Costs ($0.03 – $2.00 / person)

Printing costs will vary based on the following:

  • Paper quality
  • Black and white vs. color
  • Paper size
  • 1 sided vs. 2 sided
  • Number of pages
  • Quantity

Visit an online or local printing business to find out exact printing costs for your campaign.

Distribution Costs ($0.25 – $2.00 / piece)

Of course, the final cost to consider is mailing costs. Prices fluctuate and are dependent on the current postage rate, the quantity you send, and how much all of that mail weighs. Keep in mind, the larger the pieces, the heavier the order, and the more you’re going to pay.

Bulk mailing and direct mail, if done right, can be both an effective and cost-effective way to market your business.

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