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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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Meet Jesus Borrego: South University, Austin IT Program Director

by South University
January 25, 2018
A photo of Jesus Borrego.

Jesus Borrego became interested in electronics as a child of five or six, helping his grandfather build radios with off-the-shelf components. By the time he got to college, he decided to earn an electrical engineering degree and, in doing so, discovered computers. Before long, he also held a bachelor’s and master’s degree in computer science. Later, he would return for a PhD in Information Systems Management with a focus on Information Assurance.

"What I love about IT is that you can never know it all," he says. "There are so many branches that you can take 20 years studying one area and never finish it."

A Rich Career that Crossed Disciplines & Country Lines

Borrego began his technology career in a company with Top Secret clearance contracting for the US Air Force and Pentagon. There, as a Senior Engineer, he worked on flight and satellite replenishment simulations, including simulations of missile defense systems for nuclear attacks.

Across multiple companies, Borrego spent over two decades in satellite communications, telecommunications, and flight software. Yet, these are far from his only specialties. Throughout Borrego’s 35+ year career, he’s led teams and projects in custom software development, database administration, communications and networking, cyber security, and information assurance, including roles at global organizations such as Western Union and HP/Agilent Technologies. He's also presented in English and Spanish at over a dozen national and international conferences.

"What I like is the linkage between one topic and the other,” he explains. “I enjoy going across the field, rather than being an expert in just one area."

At one point, Borrego worked for a company tasked with consolidating Metlife International's worldwide database. In this job, he traveled to Mexico, Chile, and India, spending three months in each country working with peers from around the world.

What I liked about the project was interacting with so many different groups of people, so many different languages, and so many customs,” he says. “It was a very complex technological project, but the biggest takeaway to me was how similar we are worldwide. We have the same dreams, the same pursuits, the same need to provide for our family.

A Dedicated Technology Educator & Personal Mentor

Outside his industry work, Borrego has been teaching since 1989, something he’s loved since the very first class he taught. "It's addictive to see somebody's expression when they get it and the lightbulb goes off," he says.

Today, Borrego is proud to be the Program Director of Information Technology at South University, Austin.

"I've been teaching in technology for 28 years and I believe we have the right curriculum. That’s what attracted me to South," he says. "In particular, the purpose of our bachelor's is to learn the language so you can understand the different branches of technology. Our courses give you the foundation that allows you to move into specialties like cybersecurity or artificial intelligence as well as any new careers emerging inside those fields."

As an instructor, Borrego is tough but compassionate. He pushes his students to actively participate in class, believing that the worst thing a student can do is to not ask questions. "You can tell when somebody's not getting it," he notes. "I tell them, 'Okay, I see that look. You are not getting this one part. We're going to stay here until you get it.'"

He also takes the time to get to know his students and offer advice on their careers as well as balancing their schoolwork with their family lives. Often, he stays in touch with past students. "I've seen them go from entry-level positions up into senior-level and management positions over the years," he says.

While Borrego acknowledges that the IT field can be intimidating, he believes many opportunities await those who have the passion and drive to pursue it, stating "everything is hard before you know it, and then it gets easier."

Giving Back to the Community: Dr. Borrego to Host Cybersecurity Minischool

In everything from consumer shopping to banking to healthcare and more, an electronic security breach can have high consequences for individuals and organizations.

To teach you about protecting personal and enterprise assets, information assurance and cybersecurity industry veteran Dr. Jesus Borrego is hosting a no fee Cybersecurity Minischool on February 16, 2018, from 6pm to 8:30pm at South University, Austin. All members of the community and local businesses are welcome!

Participants will receive a certificate of attendance, helping those who plan to request Continuing Education Units from professional organizations. Get more information and register for this upcoming event today.

by South University
January 25, 2018
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What to Know if You're Considering Studying Criminal Justice

by Jared Newnam
November 16, 2016

Keeping our communities and our country safe is a key focus of everyone in criminal justice. Of course, what that looks like in practice depends on the career you pursue and whether it’s in law enforcement, correction, politics, or law. Across the board, however, a few things hold true for those exploring a bachelor’s or master’s degree in criminal justice.

Education and Experience Can Help You Stand Out

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), numerous careers in criminal justice may see 4% job growth in the coming years. This includes, Detectives and Criminal Investigators and Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists. Others, like Private Detectives and Investigators, Bailiffs, and Police Patrol Officers, will experience an average growth rate around 5% to 8%.

As with any job and depending on location, applicants may face competition for desirable positions. (Median annual salary for criminal justice roles mentioned above ranges from $41,000 to over $77,000.) The BLS especially anticipates strong competition for Private Detective and Investigator roles.

In competitive job situations, a candidate with a criminal justice degree and work experience may be most likely to catch the eye of a potential employer. For example, for Police and Detective positions, the BLS says that “applicants with a bachelor's degree and law enforcement or military experience, especially investigative experience, as well as those who speak more than one language, should have the best job opportunities.” For Probation Officer and Corrections positions, as well as employment within federal agencies, a bachelor’s degree is often required.

Technology is Increasingly Important across Professions

If you’ve been researching or studying criminal justice online, you likely know that technology has a drastic impact on the field.

On one side, there’s an array of valuable technologies. These take many forms, including connected database systems, automated license plate readers, and handheld biometric scanners used to identify suspects. In some locations, criminal justice workers currently carry tablets and smartphones that make it easier to access and distribute information. Such tools will only improve in the years to come.

Criminal justice professions under increasing scrutiny are also turning to technology like social media to build trust and demonstrate transparency in their communities. Although privacy concerns are still being debated, GPS systems and body cameras are also being introduced to support both safety and accountability in criminal justice professions.

Meanwhile, others apply technology for harm, with the The Department of Justice describing cyber crime as "one of the greatest threats facing our country" and Business Insider reporting that “the frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks are at an all-time high.” When it comes to jobs, cyber crime is driving employment trends, with the BLS noting that “Internet scams, as well as other types of financial and insurance fraud, create demand for investigative services.” Such crimes are expected to continue at local, national and even global levels.

What to Look for in Criminal Justice Programs

While we’ve already noted that a criminal justice degree can help when applying for jobs, it’s also essential that students select the right program.

Your criminal justice degree program level (bachelor’s, master’s, etc.) will determine program length and curriculum, but all criminal justice degrees should share some foundational elements. First, anyone considering criminal justice courses or comparing criminal justice curriculums should look for programs that explore the importance of technology in this field. Equally valuable are criminal justice courses that address ethics and topics related to race, class, and gender. Finally, soft skills like leadership, problem-solving, communication, and conflict resolution should also be taught throughout a criminal justice curriculum.

Whether you prefer studying criminal justice online or on-campus, South University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice that can prepare you for working in today’s changing field. Explore our criminal justice programs online or contact us today to learn more.

by Jared Newnam
November 16, 2016
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