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Managing the Cybersecurity Skills Shortage

By Drew Robb

Companies need more cybersecurity talent. International Security Consultants, a trade group, predicts a shortage of 1.5 million cybersecurity workers by 2020, and surveys by consulting firm Frost & Sullivan show that two-thirds of Americans believe their employers have too few security workers because of a lack of skilled candidates.

“For years we only heard the words ‘cybersecurity’ come out of the mouths of people in the utilities and petroleum industries, and, of course, the Department of Defense," said Ted Lane, an analyst at Foote Partners, a research and consulting organization specializing in the information-technology job market. "Now virtually every industry is formulating a cybersecurity strategy and is searching for people with skills in this area. Without any doubt, a cybersecurity skills gap has developed on a global basis."

According to Foote Partners, fields with the greatest need for workers are security architecture, big data analytics, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and Web-based security, mobile/cloud security and financial security.

Utica College has launched a Master of Business Administration program with a series of specializations, including Cybersecurity and Cyber Policy, to augment a more general degree. These MBA specializations could lead to careers in the following fields:

Security Architecture
Because computer security is so complex, security architects are needed to design networks and security perimeters that can protect companies. That requires establishing a team capable of detecting even the most subtle external attacks and taking steps to defend against them. Former hackers are thought to be the best candidates, but they can be challenging as employees.

Instead, someone with cyber security expertise coupled with a solid foundation of data-driven decision making skills, personnel, and management technique necessary to supervise a cybersecurity team, can safeguard an organization’s data and systems.

Big Data Analytics
The use of analytics can enable fraudulent or suspicious patterns to be detected quickly. Although the underlying security architecture may be sound, the reality is that bad guys will find ways to get into computer networks by breaching external defenses. It takes analytical skills to be able to spot unusual patterns of behavior within a company and block breaches.

Here too the ideal candidate for this career can demonstrate both strong analytical and cyber security skills. Graduates from a numbers driven MBA with a specialization in the cybersecurity field would be well prepared to lead initiatives combating cyber threats.

ERP and Web Security
Because ERP systems contain the bulk of operational and financial data, they have become a big target for cybercriminals. And because most attacks are Web-based, it is crucial to stay on top of all known methods of entry into a network. The manager of an ERP system has to be able to bring the appropriate cybersecurity knowledge to recognize and prioritize these real vulnerabilities within the system and ensure that the team he/she manages is able to implement efficient security measures to protect the organization.

Mobile/Cloud Security
Mobile devices are now prevalent in every business with an online presence, and often connect seamlessly to business applications to allow employees to work on the go. Many of these applications operate in the cloud. As a result, organizations are exposed to new threats and vulnerabilities. IT managers must gain familiarity with mobile, cloud and security in order to effectively manage mobile activity.

Financial Skills
The financial industry, in particular, is lacking in cybersecurity talent. According to a report from analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies, Cybersecurity Jobs, 2015, the cybersecurity jobs that are the most difficult to fill call for financial skills, such as accounting and knowledge of regulations associated with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Finance and IT/Cybersecurity courses are not typically taught in the same college program, and so a master’s degree that encompasses both areas can open the door to more employment opportunities.

Utica College offers professionals the opportunity to customize their MBA by selecting any four graduate-level courses – including Finance/Accounting and Cybersecurity – to design an ideal curriculum that fits their needs.

Request More Information or call us today 315.732.2640 or toll-free at 866.295.3106 to speak with a Program Manager who can give you all the inside information on the online MBA.