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MBA Programs In Cyber Security Bring New Tools To Executives

High-ranking business schools are launching cyber security MBA programs, as the threat of cyber crime becomes a focus for company executives.

Mon Feb 23 2015

Oxford became the latest business school to launch a cyber security program this month, as the line between technologists and executive boards becomes increasingly blurred.

Saïd Business School is to teach a Cyber Risk for Leaders Program that is aimed at business executives, designed to give board members the skills to identify, plan and respond to cyber threats.

It is the second UK business school to launch such a program in three months, after Coventry University Business School revealed plans for an MBA in cyber security in December.

Business schools are launching these new programs in response to demand from business.

Cyber attacks on large tech companies like eBay, Yahoo and US retailer Target have raised concern over internet crime. Many companies now see the matter as of critical importance.

There is a shortage of cyber security professionals, according to the Boston Consulting Group, and these skills are now in demand among managers and executives.

David Upton, the director of Oxford’s new program, wrote recently in the Harvard Business Review that the most important tool in fighting cyber crime is education.

He said that everyone from individual employees to boards of directors needs to understand new cyber threats. “Cyber crime has now become widespread enough to be a drag on growth in many countries,” he added.

The UK government estimates that cyber crime costs the economy £27 billion a year.

Saïd Business School will hope to draw on the University of Oxford's Cyber Security Centre, which launched in 2013 to provide information on elements of cyber security to governments, communities and organizations.  

Oxford last month also established a Cyber Security Capacity Portal, the first global online resource for building cyber security capacity, which works with organizations including the World Bank.

David, who is also a professor of operations management, said that cyber security requires a multi-pronged approach. “It’s increasingly clear that these risks need to be addressed at executive level, not just by the IT department,” he said.

Coventry University’s business school launched its cyber security-focused MBA program in January 2015.

It explores the financial, legal and reputational risks of cyber threats, as well as protecting intellectual property, commercial secrets and critical business assets.

It is backed by Sir Kevin Tebbit, the former director of GCHQ, the UK’s spy agency.

Sir Kevin said that the protection of national and corporate interests requires leaders to have a good knowledge of managing cyber risk and how risk impacts an organization.

The MBA program will include specializations such as data analytics and kinetic penetration testing.

Dr Donald Finlay from Coventry University’s faculty of business said that the emergence of complex legal issues about data is increasing concerns over cyber security.

Mike Loginov, chief cyber strategist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Security, said cyber security MBA degrees will bridge the gap between technologists and executive boards.

“Managing cyber risk is fast becoming an essential leadership skill,” he added, for combating both cyber criminals and large-scale industrial espionage.

In the US, the number of companies reporting concerns about cyber security to US regulators more than doubled in the past two years to about 2,000, according to official data.

There are a number of American business schools leading the fight against cyber criminals.

GWU School of Business, for instance, runs a specialized World Executive MBA with a cybersecurity specialization.

Its candidates get the chance to work on cyber security projects with organizations like the European Cybercrime Centre at the Hague and NATO in Brussels.

The Fox School of Business in Pennsylvania runs a master’s in Information Technology Auditing and Cyber Security, designed to prepare graduates for roles in IT risk, assurance and cyber security at accounting firms and consultancies.

Georgia Tech also has a certificate program in cyber security, while George Mason University offers a master’s in management of secure information systems.

Oxford’s Cyber Risk for Leaders Program, which costs £3,950, will run in June 2015.