On the front lines: a cyber security MBA
Right now, cyber criminals are trolling the Internet trying to steal sensitive information and money, to disrupt key infrastructure, or to shut down companies' or countries' communication with the outside world.
Cyber crime is serious and often random, according to Steven R. Chabinsky, deputy assistant director of the FBI's Cyber Division. "Unlike with traditional organized criminal groups, cyber crime groups don't necessarily form with a particular target in mind," Chabinsky says, adding that he repeatedly tells business owners and individuals, who mistakenly believe low profiles immunize them from cyber threats, that they can be "a target of opportunity."
Cyber crooks have not only rummaged through President Obama's campaign emails and documents before CIA, FBI and private experts shut them out, but have also robbed trillions in intellectual property and private company funds around the world in recent years, according to government documents. One notable cyber gang used stolen credit card information to retrieve millions of dollars from 130 ATM machines in 49 cities around the world in just 30 minutes, while a single employee of an American company robbed intellectual property reportedly worth $400 million.
In light of this situation, governments and companies around the world are continuously boosting anti-cyber crime operations, prompting an increase in jobs and education in this sector.
Cyber security jobs: public and private sectors
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of computer and information systems managers and administrators is projected to jump between 2008 and 2018. The number of computer and information systems managers is slated to increase 17 percent, while the amount of computer network, systems and database administrators is expected to skyrocket 30 percent. These workers assist companies in the adoption of new technologies, boosting corporate competitiveness and protection against cyber attacks.
The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, is hiring 1,000 cyber experts in three years to protect the nation's cyber infrastructure, according to Philip Reitinger, director of the National Cyber Security Center. A former Microsoft executive, Reitinger has jumped on YouTube to promote the following positions:
- Cyber risk and strategic analysis
- Vulnerability detection and assessment
- Cyber incident response
- Intelligence and investigation
- Networks and systems engineering
The Department of Defense is reportedly adding 50,000 security experts in coming years, as well, according to University of Dayton in Ohio, which offers a cyber security MBA. Cyber security positions are growing rapidly in the banking sector, as well, the university adds. To fill these positions, companies and governments prefer candidates with a technology and business school education.
A cyber security MBA: University of Dayton
University of Dayton offers a cyber security MBA or certificate program designed to help graduates keep government or private company information secure. Graduates of the three-course sequence either meet their MBA specialization requirements, obtaining a Cyber Security MBA or earn a Cyber Security Certificate.
The school offers its program in conjunction with Advanced Technical Intelligence Center for Human Capital Development (ATIC), an independent, not-for-profit organization specialized in filling technical intelligence positions in the public and private sectors.
"Our program provides students with the education and practical knowledge they need to manage the information security needs of a wide variety of organizations," says Janice Glynn, director of the MBA program at University of Dayton. "Through the connections and expertise of ATIC, they get guidance in the security clearance process and tapping into job possibilities."
Hugh Bolton, president and CEO of ATIC, says students will use real data in the classroom. "Some of it can even be live intelligence data," Bolton says. "The program is very project-oriented and team-oriented in a very real-world way." Students could work on security risk assessments and develop risk mitigation plans for real organizations.
The three specialization classes required to obtain the Cyber Security MBA include:
- Security Management for Information Systems
- Managing Telecommunication & Networking Systems
- Managing Internet Security
In Security Management for Information Systems, students learn how to develop and manage security processes in organizations. They discuss topics, such as compliance with relevant security standards and business continuity. Managing Telecommunication & Networking Systems introduces students to the management of computer-based communication networks, including hardware components, operating systems, network architectures and protocols, data integrity and security and message routing.
Finally, during Managing Internet Security, business school students learn about defensive and offensive matters related to the security of information networks. They discuss information security, psychological operations, hacking, viruses, and network systems management. A U.S. security clearance and three Department of Defense certifications should allow Cyber Security MBA graduates to move forward successfully in the booming information security field.
The University of Dayton's cyber security MBA is just one example of a degree program in this fast-growing field. Campus-based and online schools across the country offer similar opportunities for students looking for credentials in cyber security and other information systems programs.