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What Is the NSA’s Role in Cyber Security?

Cyber security risks are everywhere. We store and transmit most kinds of information (financial, personal, business, political, military, etc.) through cyberspace, creating millions of opportunities each day for malicious players to steal, block or corrupt it. The National Security Agency (NSA) plays a vital role in protecting U.S. security interests, and students in a graduate program for an MBA in Cyber Security will learn NSA methodology for evaluating and mitigating cyber security risks.

What Is the NSA?

Although the NSA is perhaps better known for its intelligence mission, the agency also protects the nation’s critical information. The NSA oversees the systems that potentially handle classified data as well as information critical to the U.S. military or intelligence services. To accomplish this, the agency works in conjunction with the government, academia, private industries and international partners to carry out its objectives and protect critical digital infrastructure.

The NSA is unique in that it belongs to both the U.S. Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community. The agency can work closely with U.S. leaders, policymakers, the military, other intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies at all levels to secure U.S. communications and maintain the national defense. The NSA also keeps a close watch over the movements and strategies of international adversaries and how they might harm U.S. interests, while at the same time protecting the privacy of U.S. citizens.

The NSA and the Cyber World

In the past, the NSA focused on protecting U.S. communications via telephone, radio or fax and on monitoring and deciphering U.S. adversaries’ communications via their own national networks. Recent decades, however, have seen communications shift overwhelmingly toward digital methodologies. Cyber security risks now pose the greatest threat by far to national intelligence and information security.

Current and Future Cyber Security Risks

National secrets and military communications are not the only forms of vulnerable information. The NSA also helps organizations and corporations protect intellectual property, research and development and financial information related to the day-to-day operations of an array of businesses.

When intellectual property and corporate or individual financial information are at risk, the very fabric of the U.S. economy is at risk. The NSA works with other agencies and commercial partnerships to recognize cyber threats, develop solutions, and protect information storage and transmission.

The future of national cyber security lies in developing more robust methods of detecting cyber security risks and proactively responding to them. New cyber threats are continually cropping up, and the NSA must lead the effort to automate the process of analyzing, detecting and reacting to millions of these threats every day.

The NSA and Higher Education

The NSA recognizes the need for more cyber security professionals across all sectors. It has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security to promote cyber security education, primarily in institutions of higher learning as well as internships and education programs for K-12 students.

The NSA strongly encourages colleges and universities to develop cyber security programs and curricula to advance the protection of national security interests, whether those interests lie with the NSA, other agencies, the military or the private sector. Those interested can enroll in an MBA in Cyber Security program to study how cyber security relates to business management.

Practical courses in a cyber security degree program give students the opportunity to learn the NSA’s ISAM Methodology for evaluating and mitigating cyber security risks. Practical application comes in the form of a long-term project with an actual organization in a real-world situation.

Learn about the UT Tyler online MBA with a concentration in Cyber Security program.


UT Tyler College of Business & Technology: MBA Online in Cyber Security

NSA: What We Do

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