Why you should study security in college

An expert at Brown University provides a counterpoint to an earlier story on why you don't need to study security in college.

Why you should study security in college

Emerging demands on today’s cybersecurity leaders

There is a philosophical divide between academics and those in the workforce as to the value of taking security classes in college. This is a counterpoint to Why studying security in college is a waste of time.

As the pace and scale of information security breaches accelerate and the threat landscape becomes ever more sophisticated, cybersecurity leaders must better prepare their organizations and security personnel to withstand the unknown. Today’s leaders must strengthen corporate capacity to mount comprehensive responses to high-impact security events by incorporating economic, human, legal, organizational, technological and socio-political factors into their plans. 

Alan Usas, director of Brown University's Executive Master in Cybersecurity program, believes these skills and knowledge can be best learned on a college campus.

Why you should study security in college

Building resilient IT systems that limit cyber risk

Leaders need practical skills to meet the challenges of building and managing agile, resilient IT systems and combatting cyber risks. This means juggling the costs and risks that are part of every security and privacy decision, and effectively competing for the internal corporate resources essential for security. The best leaders must deepen their understanding of global security best practices and heuristics, apply their security and business knowledge and expertise to strategic planning as well as on-the-ground decision-making, and hone their leadership and operational skills.

 

Why you should study security in college

Factoring in that troublesome human element

Security is not solely, or even primarily, a technical problem. Major security concerns stem from the ways people interact with technology so the human factor is central in the risk and response equation. Proactive cybersecurity leaders consider the strengths and weaknesses of human agents by learning how human behavior exposes the organization to cyber risks; how to deploy nimble, knowledgeable teams to address them; and how to increase security awareness in all users. Leaders and their teams must consider workflows, tradeoffs between usability and security in how systems are designed and how corporate policies are established, ways to deter and detect intentional and accidental insider threats, and other human factors.  

 

 Why you should study security in college

Leveraging law, policy and governance structures

Cybersecurity leaders leverage law, policy and governance practices related to information sharing within and across the private and public sectors, the protection of critical infrastructure, the defense against cybercrime, internet governance, and the complexity of international law to privacy, security and to cyber conflict. Accomplished cyber leaders address the challenges of network and computer insecurity across organizational, national and international boundaries while upholding civil liberties and other fundamental values.

 

4 privacy drone

Securing privacy and data protection globally

With the world going digital and humans surpassing machines as the preferred target of cybercriminals, protecting personal data and privacy has become a critical security issue. Cybersecurity leaders can no longer rely solely on familiarity with HIPAA and other US consumer protection laws - today they need to understand privacy protection and legislation around the world. The privacy and autonomy of the individual in relation to the state as well as the corporation, the concept of privacy by design, and the emerging privacy and data protection challenges that arise from technological advances such as drones, driverless cars and the Internet of Things are just the tip of the iceberg as cybersecurity leaders seek to ensure privacy and data protection.

 

Why you should study security in college

Getting results by influencing others with effective communication

Cybersecurity no longer operates in the IT silo but is an organizational drama in which every employee has a role in protecting critical assets, managing risk and achieving business goals. Cybersecurity leaders have to translate the impact of cyber attacks into compelling business terms such as lost revenue, productivity or profitability to ensure that all stakeholders, including employees, board members and shareholders, understand the risks and potential impact of security vulnerability. Being a persuasive communicator, change manager, negotiator, conflict resolver and champion of ethical action are the soft skills that today’s cybersecurity leaders need at their fingertips.

 

Why you should study security in college

Anticipating the future of technology and its security challenges

Important technological and societal security challenges are coming in the next three to five years as new cyber threats emerge, network-connected devices form the ‘Internet of Everything’, and legal frameworks and social norms about cybersecurity evolve. Cybersecurity leaders must anticipate and plan for the legal, policy, economic and human challenges of emerging technologies and be ready to implement socially acceptable, defensive strategies that guarantee business success.