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5 Ways to Prevent Identity Theft Online

by South University
November 29, 2018
A photo of a woman using a cell phone.

Around-the-world connectivity. Instant information sharing. Holiday gifts that can be purchased and shipped with only a few clicks. More cat videos than you could ever watch. The internet has given us many amazing things. Unfortunately, the internet also comes with its share of dangers. Chief amongst them is the threat of online identity theft. Identity theft occurs when an unscrupulous individual steals your personal and financial information, typically to use it for their own gain.

As more and more of our lives and daily transactions happen online, cyber security should be a concern for not just businesses but for all individuals. Luckily, you don’t have to be an information technology expert to reduce your risk of identity theft online. (However, those with an information technology or information systems degree who know how to secure business information and systems are in high demand!)

Below are some of the most effective steps you can take to prevent identity theft.

  1. Recognize and avoid malicious emails
    Malicious emails may look like they’re from a bank, government agency, or other business. These emails might inform of you of an urgent problem and encourage you to immediately call a number or click a link, where you’ll be asked for personal, financial, or login information. Never click on a link unless you are absolutely sure the email is authentic. Check the from address carefully for misspellings and to make sure it’s from a company email address.

    If you’re suspicious, get the company’s contact info from any paper documents you have or by looking them up online. Contact them directly using that information rather than the details provided in the email.

  2. Pay attention to URLs
    Before logging into or entering any sensitive information in a form online, check the security of the website. It should say “https” at the beginning and show a lock icon before the URL. Also, be sure that you are on a legitimate website. Hackers or cyber criminals may create sites that look nearly identical to the real site but have minor differences in the URL spelling. They may also use a different domain than the actual website, such as using .net when it should be .com or. gov.

  3. Update your software regularly
    Keep your software up-to-date on all devices from which you access the internet—including your smartphone, tablet, and computer. Doing so will decrease the likelihood that hackers will be able to access your files and information by finding and take advantage of vulnerabilities in outdated software. This include operating systems, internet browsers, email clients, and even Microsoft products like Word and Excel.

  4. Fortify your passwords
    Strong passwords are one of the best ways to secure your sensitive information. One way to create strong passwords is to use a sentence or phrase that is at least 12 characters long (including both capital and lowercase letters). For your most important accounts, turn on multi-factor authentication so that you get a text message or email to confirm your identity when logging in.

    Each account should have a unique password. Otherwise, someone only has to steal one password to access all of your information. Of course, managing multiple passwords can be difficult and overwhelming. A password manager can help. Password managers store all of your passwords for you and only require you to remember the password that allows you to access your password manager.

  5. Shop smart
    Before shopping on a new website, research that site to make sure it has good reviews from other consumers so that you know it can be trusted. Avoid submitting financial information or checking your bank account over public WiFi. Likewise, it’s best to use a personal computer rather than a public one for shopping and banking, since you don’t know what computers might be infected with malware.

    When shopping online, paying by credit card is a safe option because you can work with your credit card company to get your money back if your order isn’t delivered or you’re given the wrong items. PayPal is another option that can offer you protection. As always, before entering your information, make sure the website URL includes https so that you know you’re on a secure site.

Considering a career in information systems and technology?

Every business has information they need to collect, organize, access, share, and protect. To do so, they rely on information technology and systems that must be designed and managed by professionals in the field. Does working in this ever-evolving and increasingly critical field sounds exciting to you?

South University can help you prepare with our Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and Master of Science in Information Systems degree programs. Learn more today about how these programs can equip you for in-demand careers in technology and business.

by South University
November 29, 2018
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What Can I Do with an Information Systems Degree?

by South University
October 19, 2018
A photo of an information systems technology professional working in an IT server room.

Businesses rely on information systems for everything from managing daily transactions to gaining strategic advantages over competitors. So, what exactly are information systems?

Information systems encompass all of the technology, data, processes, and people that collect, process, and distribute data and information within an organization. To succeed, businesses need experts who can guide them in selecting, designing, implementing, and managing these information systems.

Because it's an important field, by earning an Information Systems degree, you can develop the skills and knowledge to enter or advance within a wide variety of technology positions and organizations. Below are just a few of the career paths for which the Master of Science in Information Systems program (MSIS) at South University can prepare you.

1. Systems Analysis, Design, and Development

Businesses turn to those who work in system design and development to create new technology and processes customized to their unique needs. Such professionals may research, evaluate, design, develop, and test software to support business operations and enterprise strategy, including determining software specifications and requirements. You may also set quality assurance standards and help with automating, maintaining, and improving existing systems. This work can involve a variety of platforms and development environments.

Sample Job Titles: Software Architect, Systems Software Developer, Systems Engineer, Network Engineer, Infrastructure Engineer, Systems Analyst, Quality Assurance Engineer

2. Database or Data Warehouse Management

Enterprise organizations can store incredible volumes of data, and someone needs to be in charge of how it's managed and disseminated. An Information Systems degree program can prepare you to oversee this data and take on roles where you design, model, and build large databases or data warehousing structures and activities. This includes creating tools that allows users to access data for things like billing, shipping, or other recurring tasks. Often, data management professionals must integrate new data systems into existing structures. They also regularly assess aspects like system scalability, security, reliability, and performance.

Sample Job Titles: Database Administrator, Data Architect, Database Architect, Data Warehouse Analyst, Data Warehouse Solution Architect, Data Warehouse Manager

3. Business Intelligence

An overwhelming amount of data exists in the world. Within it hides complex but valuable insights that can drive business success. The job of business intelligence professionals is to unlock the information that data holds and present it in meaningful ways to business leadership.

Business intelligence involves monitoring and analyzing information from your company or from around the world to forecast performance and inform business decisions. This can include designing, implementing, or improving data-based dashboards, models, reports, and other decision support systems used by corporate management to understand trends and inform decision-making. To work in business intelligence, you’ll need the strong technical skills and expertise you can learn in an MS in Information Systems degree program.

Sample Job Titles: Business Intelligence Analyst, Commercial Intelligence Management, Manager of Market Intelligence, Competitive Intelligence Analyst

4. Information Governance

Government regulations change constantly, and almost all organizations control personally identifiable or confidential data that must be secured and protected. Some industries, like banking, education, and healthcare, collect and manage data that is particularly heavily regulated. Information governance professionals manage this data to ensure that businesses comply with regulations such as SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), follow accepted IT governance frameworks, and minimize security risks.

To check that data is being managed in a compliant, secure, and effective manner, these professionals often conduct audits of enterprise information systems and data. They may also be involved in fixing identified issues and finding ways to prevent future problems from arising.

Sample Job Titles: Manager of IT Governance, Risk and Compliance, IT Program Manager, IT Security Analyst, IT Governance Consultant, Systems Analyst, Information Security Manager

5. IT Team and Project Management

Beyond preparing you to design, develop, and manage information systems, earning a master’s in Information Systems can also equip you to plan and oversee these processes within your company. In our Information Systems degree program, our curriculum includes a business course in which you can study leadership, managerial economics, organizational behavior, law and ethics, or quantitative analysis. You’ll also take a course on emerging technology so that you can help your organization in evaluating and adopting new trends and technologies.

On the whole, our Information System program can teach you how to identify and communicate business IS needs as well as apply project management best practices—from estimation, scheduling, and budgeting to project organization, control, and assessment. Together, these skills can equip you to lead your colleagues on information systems projects that improve business performance.

Sample Job Titles: Computing Services Director, Data Processing Manager, Information Systems Manager, Information Technology Director, Management Information Systems Director, Technical Services Manager, IT Project Manager

Learn more about South University's Master of Science in Information Systems today and find a campus near you!

by South University
October 19, 2018
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Information Systems & Technology Students Gain Experience with Advanced Industry Software

by South University
August 16, 2018
a photo of an two information technology professions working at a computer.

At South University, input from industry professionals and subject matter experts plays a critical role in our course and program development. Their insights help us to ensure that our students graduate with experience and understanding of career- and industry-specific tools and technology. This is especially crucial for our Information Systems and Technology students, as they prepare to enter a field full of constantly evolving tech.

Over the last several years at South University, Tampa, our Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) students have received valuable hands-on experience with software applications and tools used in the professional field of business intelligence and analytics. These opportunities for our student to gain applied knowledge have included:

  • In the Decision Support Systems class, students build their own data warehouse on IBM’s DB2 Warehouse Edition software and populate it with real data provided by IBM. They also learn how to design business intelligence models utilizing the Cognos Analytics platform and build the type of dashboards that allow business analysts to identify and better understand business trends. Such platforms and models can serve as key tools for informing organizational decision-making among upper management and executives.
  • Information Systems students are provided with the opportunity to learn about cognitive computing by using IBM Watson Analytics—an intelligent data analysis and visualization service that makes it easier to discover patterns and meaning in data. By using IBM Watson Analytics' guided data discovery, automated predictive analytics, and cognitive capabilities such as natural language dialogue, our students are learning how to use artificial intelligence tools to augment their own skills and better meet the demands of today's fast-paced, data-intensive corporate environment.

South University is pleased to be working with the IBM Academic Initiative to provide Information Systems and Technology students with such important hands-on experiences and expose them to these new technologies in cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, data science and analytics, and the cloud. We look forward to seeing how our graduates will put these new skills to work for their employers and uncover meaningful insights and information that will undoubtedly help the evolution of their organizations.

Want to know more? Learn why businesses need information systems and technology professionals and how our MSIS program was built around that demand. If you’re interested in gaining skills and knowledge related to Information Systems, our MSIS program is available online and at multiple campus locations. Start planning for tomorrow today!

by South University
August 16, 2018
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Faculty share driving factors behind Information Systems graduate program

by South University
November 18, 2015

As part of the team developing the curriculum for South University’s Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) program, Jason Crittenden and Angelo Thalassinidis focused on answering one question. A question that was not what courses students should take, but instead “What competencies do we want our students to learn?”

After looking closely at the needs of today’s businesses, they arrived at three answers.

1. Data Analysis and Management

With all the talk about the value of big data for businesses, the team identified data analysis and management as an essential skill for information systems professionals.

“Big data is here to stay,” says Dr. Crittenden, Department Chair of Information Systems and Technology at South University, Richmond. “There is an extraordinary amount of unstructured data that resides in our world and companies are begging people to sit down with it and try to find out what they can do with all of this data.”

Both Dr. Crittenden and Dr. Thalassinidis believe this data is being used in fascinating ways--and that the possibilities only get more interesting with evolving technology.

“Once you connect all the data that we have or that we can gain access to with natural language processing and artificial intelligence, we're going to see a number of developments that will have tremendous business applications,” says Dr. Thalassinidis, Director of the Department of Information Systems and Technology at South University, Tampa.

2. IT Governance and Compliance

With the constant influx of new or updated regulations from the federal government, IT governance and compliance is the second area the MSIS team identified as essential.

“From HIPAA to Sarbanes-Oxley, you are hard-pressed to find a regulation that gets released by the Federal Government that does not have some slant where IT needs to be involved, whether that's in the health world, the criminal justice world, or the educational world,” says Dr. Crittenden, who also notes that many job listings today want people skilled in IT auditing.

3. Emerging Technology

With technology changing every day, people who can very quickly research, learn, adopt, and implement new technologies are crucial.

Dr. Thalassinidis expects that much of this new technology will be concentrated in specific areas. “Where we see innovative technologies being used now is to address business ambiguity. We're going to see more of that,” he says. “We're going to also see the connectivity of everything exploding even more. Because of technology, small companies can act big, and big companies can act small and give you that personalized experience.”

However, what exactly new technology will look like, reminds Dr. Crittenden, is hard to predict. “Even the brightest of individuals out there, the Stephen Hawkings of the world, the Elon Musks, the people who sit and think about how these things are going to happen in the future, they really have no idea either.”

Combining These Competencies: Bigger, Faster, Stronger

If students develop competencies in these three areas of data analysis and management, IT governance and compliance, and emerging technologies, says Dr. Crittenden, they will gain valuable skills for their professional future.

He says, “It will make them better managers of technology, it will make them better analysts, and I think students will be, what I always like to say, ‘bigger, faster and stronger.’”

Dr. Thalassinidis adds, “The MSIS program addresses all aspects of information systems, whether that is their development and maintenance or even retirement, in a way that will reduce risk to the business and enable businesses to continue moving forward.”

Plus, what you learn, says Dr. Crittenden, can stand the test of time. “We have brought components into the program—risk management, compliance, data management, the emerging technology pieces—that really prepare students for not just jobs that are happening today, but jobs that will be available a year from now, two years from now, ten years from now.”

To learn more about the MSIS program, explore our related posts or visit our program detail pages.

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Administrative office: South University, 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805 © 2015 South University. All rights reserved. Our email address is

The information and opinions expressed herein represent the independent opinions and ideas of the faculty and/or staff and do not represent the opinions or ideas of South University.

South University, Tampa is licensed by the Commission for Independent Education, Florida Department of Education. Additional information regarding this institution may be obtained by contacting the Commission at 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, FL 323099-0400, toll-free telephone number (888)224-6684.

South University, Tampa is licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 3284.

South University, Richmond, and South University, Virginia Beach, are certified to operate in the Commonwealth of Virginia pursuant to Title 23, Chapter 21.1, §23-276.4 of the Code of Virginia by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (James Monroe Building, 101 North 14th St; Richmond, VA 23219; 804-225-2600;

by South University
November 18, 2015
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Why Businesses Need Information Systems and Technology Professionals

by South University
November 12, 2015

Just what is the role of information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) in modern organizations? According to two of our faculty members, these areas are integral to every business in every industry.

From Competitive Advantage to Necessity

Jason Crittenden entered college focused on business, but soon something else caught his attention, a new development called the Internet. He was hooked. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Information Systems, he continued on to earn a master’s degree in Information Systems and a PhD in Instructional Systems and Workforce Development.

Dr. Crittenden started his career in web development before transitioning to database development, building robust, scalable systems for his department, which he then linked to the enterprise systems. Following that role, he spent several years as a research professor studying educational technology. In 2011, he joined South University, Richmond as the Department Chair of Information Systems and Technology.

Today, he sees the dynamism of technology and the way it influences businesses as the most exciting element of the field. “Business happens now in nanoseconds. It doesn't happen in days or in weeks, and having IT and IS solutions has become a must in all organizations,” observes Dr. Crittenden, adding, “We wake up every day to new technology wonders.” Such changes, he says, can drive everything from the formation, evolution and eventually obsolescence of a business.

“If a market in Asia has a glitch, it is felt all over the world within the hour,” says Dr. Crittenden. “Once IT was purely for competitive advantage reasons, but it has evolved so that, yes there are companies that can and still utilize it as a competitive advantage, but IT is now a necessity. There is no business without IT or IS anymore.”

Finding Answers to Business Questions

Angelo Thalassinidis started his career in computer science, and over time he discovered his knowledge could inform business decisions. His interest in the field, however, was sparked long before beginning his career. “At about 12 years old, I started dating a girl whose mom didn't like me. The only way we could communicate was if I would write her letters and code the letters,” he recalls.

After learning to write in code, he became interested in breaking codes, which eventually led him to study mathematics and computer science in college. When he finished school, however, he was surprised to realize that he preferred working with databases over cryptology. Before long, he found work in business intelligence, monitoring and analyzing information published around the world to forecast business performance.

Following roles in management, consulting, and data warehousing and information support systems, he moved to Greece, where he co-founded a company that collected real estate data and produced market indexes. In 2011, he returned to the US and began working at South University, Tampa as the Director of the Department of Information Systems and Technology.

Over the last 20+ years, Dr. Thalassinidis has seen information systems and technology professionals become increasingly important for businesses. “The business comes to us with an issue or a concern and we are the solution,” he says. “The question used to be ‘Can you do this?’ and now it has become, ‘We have this general problem and we have no idea how to address it. Can you help us?’”

When faced with these questions, finding a solution quickly is crucial. “In the business environment, because of the complexity, because of a number of things, you cannot afford to not do it right the first time. You cannot afford to not have a reliable infrastructure. You cannot afford down time on your network or your website,” he says.

A Graduate Program Joining Business with Information Systems and Technology

According to Dr. Crittenden and Dr. Thalassinidis, South University's Master of Science in Information Systems program is not only accessible to business professionals, but also teaches skills very relevant to today’s organizations. “This is not a heavily technical program,” explains Jason. “It is a program that bridges the business world with the IT world.”

For starters, students are not required have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and those from a business background are welcomed, even encouraged, to apply.

“This degree will help someone get a very, very good hands on experience with what technologies and what governance methodologies are out there and how to use them from a business perspective,” says Dr. Thalassinidis. “This program is designed for people who want to incorporate Information Systems into their organizations and to gain a competitive advantage in the workplace by understanding what these technologies can do.”

Learn about the Master of Science in Information Systems program on the blog or visit our program detail pages for more information!

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Administrative office: South University, 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805 © 2015 South University. All rights reserved. Our email address is

The information and opinions expressed herein represent the independent opinions and ideas of the faculty and/or staff and do not represent the opinions or ideas of South University.

South University, Tampa is licensed by the Commission for Independent Education, Florida Department of education. Additional information regarding this institution may be obtained by contacting the Commission at 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, FL 323099-0400, toll-free telephone number (888)224-6684.

South University, Tampa is licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 3284.

South University, Richmond, and South University, Virginia Beach, are certified to operate in the Commonwealth of Virginia pursuant to Title 23, Chapter 21.1, §23-276.4 of the Code of Virginia by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (James Monroe Building, 101 North 14th St; Richmond, VA 23219; 804-225-2600;

by South University
November 12, 2015
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