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City University to launch Masters course for CISOs

Security pros are being urged to boost their credentials with a new business-orientated qualification

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City University London will offer a new postgraduate course from September, designed to help information security and risk professionals progress to managerial roles.

The new Masters in Information Security and Risk (MISR) aims to address a gap in the market for IT professionals that can “speak business”. One half of the course is devoted to security strategy, risk management and security architecture, while the other half focuses on putting this into a business-oriented context.

“Talking to people out in the industry, particularly if you go to the financial sector, they say one real problem is they don't have a security person who they can take along to the board meeting without having to act as an interpreter; so we're putting together a programme to address this need,” explained course director Professor Kevin Jones, speaking at the Infosecurity Europe Press Conference in London yesterday.

The course is aimed at existing IT professionals, and will follow the model of the executive MBA, with eight modules taken over 2 years. The course costs £7,500 per year.

There will be 2 modules per academic term. Seminars will take place on Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday, so two weeks of every term, people will take one day off work, give up an evening, and give up a Saturday. This allows them to  cement the next layer of their education without major disruption to their existing work schedules, according to Jones.

Seminars will be in the form of peer group sessions, led by academics with state of the art knowledge. Jones said this will help to put the teaching into a real-world context, and enable students to learn from one another.

“If we can really bridge this communication gap at he highest levels of the security profession, enabling people to not just get the job done technically but to successfully interact with the whole constituency in a meaningful way, then we solve a lot of the problems that we have to do with security,” said Jones.

“The CEO will not say, 'No, I'm not going to buy that expensive piece of kit you've just asked for', if it has been explained to him in meaningful terms why that kit is necessary,” he added. “We need everybody to share the cultural awareness that information security is a vital component to the entirety of the culture of being successful in business.”

City University first announced the MISR in April 2011, claiming that the course would begin the following September. However, the university told Techworld that it decided to take an additional year to adjust the course content slightly, following feedback from industry, and to ensure that it has a peer group of students that are capable of excelling as CISOs.

City University also offers a Masters degree for IT professionals who want to become CIOs and a Masters aimed at professionals who want to develop their leadership skills and learn how to tap into the creative potential of individuals and organisations.


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