Just two decades ago ‘cyber security’ was only a concern for Hollywood and multinationals, but in 2019 cyber attacks pose a serious risk to businesses – large or small – and it’s essential that these threats are taken seriously.
According to the annual Cyber Security Breaches Survey from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport only half of UK businesses are implementing all five of the basic steps laid out in the government’s Cyber Essentials scheme. This essentially means 50% of UK businesses aren’t protected from cyber threats. There are obvious technical risks to this, but there are wider implications too.
No business can survive without clients, but, in the vast majority of cases, clients have a choice of who they choose to do business with. With an increasing focus on security, savvy customers are keen to understand a business’s cyber security strategy and the measures it has in place should a breach occur. Data leaks can have far-reaching effects with clients’ customers suffering secondary breaches – and often the reputational damage caused can be more difficult to repair than the technical aspects.
Organisations that can communicate a strong and concise cyber security approach to potential customers have the opportunity to set themselves apart from competitors that have not yet taken such steps.
Investing in a secure business
Investors, much like customers, are also looking at the security of the companies they’re investing their money with. A business that can demonstrate a high level of understanding of the issues it faces and have both security measures and a plan of action in place to deal with a breach should it occur is a much sounder investment – and is likely to cost it less in the long term.
The need for knowledge
A large part of the issue is that there is very little understanding of cyber security within businesses. Companies have realised they need to employ people with the skills and knowledge to ensure they’re fully protected and understand wider issues such as reputation, client relations and ultimately the bottom line.
This is why the University of York has introduced a 100% online Masters degree in Computer Science with Cyber Security. It offers ambitious career changers the opportunity to retrain in this in demanding field and take the skills and knowledge they gain into the workplace. The course is aimed at those who may not currently have a computer science background. It covers topics such as network and operating systems, security risk analysis and secure software development.
The course offers great flexibility; it’s delivered entirely online so there’s no need to take a career break and you can gain an MSc from a prestigious Russell Group university without ever needing to visit the campus. The course is also offered on a pay-per-module basis, so there’s no large initial outlay, plus there’s a choice of six start dates per year so you can choose a date to suit you, which creates a very flexible approach to launching a career in cyber security.