Oxford to train corporate leaders on cyber security

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Executives will be equipped with the knowledge required for developing strategic operations in an electronically- enabled environment.

Executives will be equipped with the knowledge required for developing strategic operations in an electronically- enabled environment…

Saïd Business School under the Oxford University, has launched an executive education programme on cyber security. The objective of the programme is to prepare company leadership teams to fight against the increasing cyber security threat.

Senior executives from different companies will be armed with the knowledge and strategies to deal with the growing menace.

Today, cyber security is a major concern for all CEOs, globally, as cyber attacks result in a loss of $500 billion to around £1 trillion to the corporate sector. The figure is even greater than the combined GDP of around 70 countries.

As the scale of the problem grows, so does the cost of rectifying it.

David Upton, professor of operations management, at Saïd Business School, and co-director of Cyber Risk, says in an official communique, “The scale at which cyber threats are happening and the amount of losses incurred due to these issues, imply that the responsibility of managing such high-risk activities lies with the senior-most executives of the company and not just the IT manager.”

Cyber security is considered as serious an affair as any operational, reputational or financial risk.

“However, many senior executives feel unprepared to contribute to the debate and are concerned about how lack of knowledge restrains them from giving the right advice and leading the organisation on this front,” adds Upton.

It is also true that cyber security is no longer just a concern of the big organisations. It can affect organisations of any size.

The programme promises to prepare the organisation, as a whole, to live with and minimise the risks associated with today’s digital business environment. This calls for leadership, which is why the programme has been developed specifically for leaders.

The two and a half-day programme will take an interdisciplinary approach, combining IT expertise from across the University of Oxford with expertise from various business disciplines. However, rather than teaching technology to the executives, the programme will give participants the tools to assess their positions and develop strategic operations in an electronically-enabled environment; understand the cyber risks to which their organisations are exposed; ask the right questions of their technical and HR teams and be more intelligent ‘consumers’ of their advice; and communicate the risks to the leadership team and/or board.

The programme will be delivered 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 cyber security, will deliver guest lectures. Explicit ‘teach the teacher’ sessions will ensure that participants are able to transfer the knowledge throughout their respective organisations.

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