Data security experts have been a necessity since we hit power buttons on the very first computers. These experts ward off data loss caused by malfunction and also try to prevent or mitigate purposeful attacks by hackers with malice on their minds.
The IoT means security professionals have their hands full. With billions of devices of all kinds connecting to the Internet, the chances of accidental data meltdowns will increase exponentially, as will the opportunities for intentional tampering. In 2014, more than 40 percent of companies reported some sort of data breach [source: USA Today].
There can be staggering consequences for data mishaps. Targeted attacks could take down the Internet of entire countries (see: North Korea) or, on a smaller scale, simply interrupt the functionality of a personal medical device, putting someone's health at risk.
From your toaster to your smartphone, as more and more of your devices communicate with one another, the greater the chance that a hacker will find a loophole and leverage it to her advantage. Your financial history could be exposed, your health details revealed, your personal communications used to blackmail you in some way.
Data security experts need to understand the convolutions of the Internet and protect connected devices from attack. They must be able to analyze data trends and develop plans of action to protect every kind of digitized asset, whether it's your online fitness records, smart traffic lights or your power company's equipment.
These professionals must constantly research and evaluate emerging threats and prioritize their efforts to combat those threats. And of course, in the event that a data breach occurs, they need a disaster recovery plan at all times.