Universities now have access to cybersecurity education

(ISC)2 is making its educational resources, which are updated regularly by its members and industry luminaries, available to academia to help meet the global demand for more skilled cybersecurity professionals. With nearly 100,000 members worldwide, the (ISC)2 common body of knowledge (CBK) incorporates disciplines within information security, software security, forensics and healthcare.

The (ISC)2 Global Academic Programme is a key initiative behind the organization’s commitment to address the growing gap in availability of qualified cybersecurity professionals that has been tracked since 2004 by the (ISC)2 Global Information Security Workforce Study. The most recent report offers analysis from Frost & Sullivan into the acute nature of the skills gap, forecasting an annual workforce growth rate of 11.3% by 2017, and pointing out that 35% of respondents looking to hire additional workers find it difficult to find qualified personnel today.

“We believe it’s critical to recognize and support the role of the academic community in the development of much-needed cybersecurity talent for now and in the future,” said W. Hord Tipton, CISSP, executive director, (ISC)2.

“With the global skills gap in this sector increasingly acknowledged by companies and governments around the world, industry and academia must come together to address this challenge. (ISC)2 is in a unique position to offer its educational content, which is regularly updated and vetted by experts, to colleges and universities around the world as part of this collaborative development effort required for our now digitally-dependent society,” Tipton added.

Carsten Maple, Vice Chair of the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing, an association representing computing in UK Higher Education, highlights the need for more security content, saying: “It appears that many Computing graduates are leaving university having studied little in the area of security. There is a varied approach to teaching security, but in a number of institutions there is only one module -approximately 5% of the total credits in a degree – dedicated to information security in their core 3 year Computer Science degree. Clearly with the growth in cyber attacks there is a need for graduates to be equipped with skills and knowledge of the threats and methods to overcome these. To do this and to give Computing students the best opportunity to succeed, we as an academic community are trying to better engage with industry representatives in fields such as information security.”

The Global Academic Programme, which is being launched as governments around the world seek to improve university curricula as part of their national cybersecurity strategies, offers products and services for colleges and universities that can be tailored for both undergraduate and post-graduate requirements.

Classroom materials, which range from domain-specific modules and practice assessments to faculty handbooks and student textbooks are drawn from the certification CBKs. The program is open to accredited institutions interested in enhancing cyber content within their security, computing, IT or other relevant course offerings.

“In addition to the resources we have to offer, this program presents a real opportunity to become part of a global network of academic members interested in establishing a joint framework for delivering essential skills and supporting the growth of a qualified cybersecurity workforce,” says Jo Portillo, Global Academic Programme, (ISC)2.

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