Research Dimensions

Building Cyber Skills and Leadership

Business use of cyberspace has grown rapidly in recent years, and leadership and workforce skills in security risks have struggled to keep up, potentially leaving organisations exposed to threats. This dimension is examining the current state of cyber security training and education and identifying what needs to be done to better protect organisations now and in the future.

We will consider education and training in cyber security for pupils, undergraduates, postgraduates, apprentices, vocational students, general staff, IT specialists, executives and policy makers. We will examine what currently works, what has been tried and failed, and the reasons for this.

Executive training is a key area for our research, as business schools’ curricula have traditionally included very little about managing information risks, let alone cyber security ones. Dealing with cyber security has conventionally been a technical issue but there is now an increasing awareness that these risks need to be understood and addressed at executive level.

It is vitally important for business people to understand technical issues, and for security experts to be more aware of corporate needs. Education and training can help spread the message that cyber security cannot solely be the remit of the IT department, but has to be everybody’s responsibility.

Businesses also need to consider both external and internal risks, such as criminals blackmailing an employee to pass on passwords. Managers need to be made aware of the importance of applying best practice.

There is almost certainly a role for IT specialists within organisations to communicate to junior or senior managers the need for better security. While many will be highly qualified, people enter into the IT industry by diverse routes, and some may also require additional training in certain aspects of cyber security. Education in cyber security in schools should both equip pupils to use the internet safely while young and prepare them for their working life. We will be examining how best to add the subject to the curriculum. We need to find out what pupils already know and how the curriculum can help their awareness of cyber security to inform their behaviour as citizens and in the workforce. This is not a straightforward question, because by the time current school pupils enter into employment, the nature of work and the workforce is likely to have changed considerably

By the end of the research, for each level of education and training, our work will show cases of success and failure, and develop general principals and guidelines to allow organisations to better protect themselves against future cyber attacks.

This dimension is currently Chaired by Professor S.H. (Basie) von Solms, Director, Centre for Cyber Security, University of Johannesburg.

Professor David Upton Co-Chaired the dimension before he sadly passed away in 2017. The Oxford Martin School and The Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre are deeply grateful for Professor Upton’s contributions to our community.

our dimension leads on cyber skills at work