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Building leadership skills in the fight against cybersecurity threats Print E-mail
Friday, 17 April 2015 22:11
Saïd Business School, University of Oxford has launched the first executive education programme that sets out to address cybersecurity issues from the perspective of what company leaders need to know.  The Cyber Risk for Leaders Programme is designed to arm senior executives with the knowledge and strategies to deal with the increasing cybersecurity threat.
A recent Saïd Business School study, in conjunction with Heidrick & Struggles, shows that cybersecurity is among the top 10 concerns of CEOs globally. As the scale of the problem grows, so does the cost. Taking into account the costs of rectifying the problem, cyber attacks currently cost between $500 billion to £1 trillion – greater than the combined GDP of about 70 countries. And the risks may be underreported.
‘Cyber security is no longer the preserve of the IT Manager,’ said Professor David Upton, Professor of Operations Management at Saïd Business School, and Co-Director of the Cyber Risk for Leaders Programme. ‘The scale and potential costs to an organisation means that responsibility for managing that risk lies with the most senior executives – it has to be taken as seriously as any other operational, reputational or financial risk. The problem is that many executives feel unprepared to contribute to the debate and are concerned that they don’t know what questions to ask or how to process the advice they are given to lead their organisations’ response.’
Some very high profile cyber attacks have hit the headlines recently including Sony Pictures, Home Depot, JP Morgan Chase, Walmart and Apple, as well as government departments. Millions of dollars, as well as jobs have been lost, share prices have been hit and the reputational damage has been immense. But cybersecurity is no longer just a concern for the largest and highest profile organisations, the risks to any organisation, either from internal or external sources cannot be ignored and senior executives must be fully involved in cyber risk management discussions.
‘It’s not just about how you respond to that four-in-the-morning phone call,’ said Professor Sadie Creese, Co-Director of the programme and Professor of Cybersecurity in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford. ‘It’s about preparing the organisation as a whole to live with and minimise the risks associated with today’s digital business environment. That calls for leadership, which is why we have developed this programme specifically for leaders.’
The 2.5-day programme will take an inter-disciplinary approach combining IT expertise from across the University of Oxford with business disciplines. However, rather than teaching executives technology, the programme will give participants the tools to assess their position and develop strategic operations in an electronically enabled environment; understand the cyber risks to which their organisation is exposed; ask the right questions of their technical and HR teams and be a more intelligent “consumer” of the advice; and communicate the risks to the leadership team and/or board.
The programme will be taught through a combination of interactive lectures, group work, simulations and discussions of real cases encompassing everything from out-of-control social media to someone hacking a supplier’s system to infiltrate a company’s data. Expert practitioners, at the forefront of practice in cybersecurity will deliver guest lectures, and explicit “teach the teacher” sessions will ensure that participants are able to transfer the knowledge throughout their organisations.
The programme is based on cutting edge, rigorous Oxford research into cybersecurity through the Corporate Insider Threat Detection (CITD) project and the Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre. GCHQ has categorised Oxford University as an Academic Centre for Excellence in Cyber Security Research.
Last Updated on Friday, 17 April 2015 22:13

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