Isle of Man News - POSTED Tue 23-05-2017

Cybersecurity degree launched at UCM

by LC

The University College Isle of Man (UCM) will be offering a BSc Hons Cybersecurity degree from September 2017.

After the global events of recent weeks, there can be no doubt about the importance of cybersecurity. UCM has been working with industry, government and their academic partner the University of Chester, for over a year on the design and delivery of the latest addition to UCM’s suite of IT-based degrees, which also includes a MSc Advanced Computer Science – a clear measure of UCM’s commitment to meeting the Islands need for highly qualified IT professionals. More than 34 applications to study have already been received for these degrees. 

While the recent, high-profile global cyber-attack did not directly impact on the Island, it heightened the need for constant vigilance by the Government, individual and companies.

The latest Grant Thornton International Business Report (May 2017) found that businesses in western economies take a less sophisticated approach to cybersecurity than south east Asian and African countries. In 2016 almost one in three (32%) in UK/Europe had faced a cyber-attack. In the UK the gap between employer demand for cyber security expertise and the number of people who have the necessary know-how is the second largest in the world with demand exceeding candidates by 68.4% (The Independent, January 2017).

Industry and governments alike are grappling with this ever increasing challenge of securing systems and information, as the rate of emerging cyber threats continues to grow in our expanding digitally-enabled economy.

The BSc Hons Cybersecurity and UCM’s other IT-based degrees will equip graduates with the skills to not only drive innovation and e-business on the Island but also the capacity to protect business, industry and governments from cyber-threats.

Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK said:

“Cybersecurity is of great concern to the Isle of Man. In both the public and private sectors, we rely on secure networked information systems that are robust against criminal attack. The security of information held digitally is vital to the reputation of the Island as we grow our economy, attract investment and boost business confidence. This degree will provide more individuals with the skills to keep us safe in this ever-changing area.’’

Laurence Skelly MHK, Minister for Economic Development, said:

“It is vital that the Isle of Man maintains its reputation as a safe place to do business as part of the Government’s commitment to create an environment that allows businesses to thrive and flourish. In an ever-changing digital environment, the introduction of a cyber-security degree course is one way that we can give confidence to businesses to invest in the Isle of Man by equipping graduates with the skills needed to protect firms from cyber-threats.”

UCM’s provision of this degree has been achieved in partnership with Government and the private sector and UCM has established an advisory group to ensure expert capability in cybersecurity in areas such as investigation and cybercrime; the practice of and theory behind exploitation and protection (security) measures; and in the application of cybersecurity aspects to business and organisations.

The teaching material will be kept cutting edge and teaching techniques will include real-world examples and practices. Industry experts will be engaged to lecture; some of the high tech equipment will be sponsored; local businesses will provide opportunities for student visits, placements. The cybersecurity lab will enable students to participate in live scenarios and student research projects will further develop knowledge and expertise that will help to develop tools that secure and protect Island businesses and individuals.

The MSc Advanced Computer Science can be studied full or part-time and takes blended learning approach by utilising excellent online learning resources as well as face to face lectures and seminars.

Jo Pretty, Principal at UCM, said:

“Almost by definition, IT knowledge and skills change and develop rapidly, and qualifications at master’s level are enable professionals to undertake research that maintains their expert capability. In keeping with our commitment to lifelong learning most of the modules offered in this master’s programme and our other degrees will be available to be studied individually either for CPD or accreditation.”

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