With the Internet of Things, portable devices, and remote work options, the future will be even more tech-filled than ever before. At the same time, the need for professionals who can deliver seamless and secure experiences will be even greater, says Alexander Perez-Pons, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
“It’s going to be wonderful, one day, when we have autonomous vehicles. They will communicate with each other and with various centralized locations. The infrastructure that supports this will need to be protected,” he illustrates by way of example. “This is also the case with drones. Soon, Amazon will be using drones to deliver packages to your home. Again, they will be communicating with a network, so protecting the infrastructure with network security will be important going forward with the growth we see.
According to Perez-Pons, the best way to be in-demand and fully conversant with technological growth is to pursue a computer engineering degree that equips graduates with the tools to tackle network security on both the hardware and software fronts. . In the following questions and answers, Perez-Pons explains why the Master’s degree in Computer Engineering: Network Security is so valuable.
Network security and computer engineering – what is the connection?
Computer engineering is at the crossroads between hardware and software, and network security is supported by both. You need to understand devices and programming, both hardware and software. There are a multitude of skills that you master in computer engineering that help you gain this understanding. It is a combination of these elements that is used to create and develop network security solutions.
What is the role of computer engineers in network security?
A solid background in computer engineering helps find network security solutions. For example, you need to be able to scan for malware. This means that you must understand computer programs and software in order to understand and support the forensic process. With forensics, you need to understand how the devices work – the hardware – and how those devices provide access to the information they contain, in addition to how those devices communicate, end-to-end.
You need to understand the software involved, how devices perform encryption, and how they perform on various platforms or endpoints. Things like encryption algorithms ensure data and transmission security when you have data in transition and again that’s the software side.
What is the value of earning an MS degree in computer engineering with a specialization in network security?
Many of the skills you learn with computer engineering, software and hardware knowledge, are aligned with the network security courses that are part of our computer engineering curriculum.
Understanding hardware includes how devices are configured, how they are integrated into a network, and how they are integrated and work to support each other. Computer engineering provides the fundamental and tangible skills that you will need to be able to integrate these skills with aspects of network security.
The advantage of having a computer engineering degree is that you know that a graduate will have both software and hardware skills, in addition to the network security part. Computer engineering is a technical degree, which means you have the technical skills to build an organization’s network security infrastructure.
The Master of Science in Computer Engineering: Network Security track is a technical degree in computer engineering that provides students with the tools to understand hardware, software, and communication skills – the technical skills needed in network security.
How has today’s computer engineering adapted and evolved according to needs?
There is a growth explosion with in-vehicle devices. There are more communicating devices and more Internet of Things devices, so now we know we have a different infrastructure. We also have 5G online in areas for better communication between devices. This acceleration creates different types of abuse cases that will exist in different applications. Networking is therefore fundamental, especially with remote working and working from home in cities and countries. Different infrastructures are to be considered. We need to protect these endpoints. We must ensure that these networks are protected.
The exponential growth we’ve seen means we’ll need a lot more network security, so network security must adapt to support even more protection for these devices. We are going to have more networking in our society and more protection will be needed. Whether they are Wi-Fi networks or other physical networks, they all need to be protected.
Malware enters a computer through a network. The way you know certain attacks are being carried out is through the network. Unless you physically come into your environment and connect directly to your computer, hackers will be able to access your resources through the network unless you secure it. The network is an indispensable means of protection and the vehicle used by many attackers to gain access to your data and resources.
If you’re trying to protect infrastructure, it has to be the network – it’s the most fundamental aspect and core of what you need to protect, more than anything else. That’s why we picked network security as the most important specialization we need to look at.