The rise in cybercrime, coupled with a cybersecurity skills shortage, led Albany (N.Y.) Law School to offer the first online Master of Science in Legal Studies in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy.
“Cybersecurity has become as much of a legal and policy issue as it is a technical problem,” Antony Haynes, Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Information Systems at Albany Law, said. “We have this opportunity to bring these non-lawyers and non-technical folks into the conversation so they are able to contribute to what is truly a national problem that affects everybody in all walks of life.”
In addition to the threat, in 2015, 209,000 cybersecurity jobs went unfilled in the United States alone, according to an Intel/Center for Strategic and International Studies report.
The Albany Law program affords working professionals, as well as traditional students, a flexible schedule to advance career goals in cybersecurity and data privacy. Courses cover data protection, privacy, and information security law; cybercrime, cyberwarfare, and cybersecurity law; and electronic discovery, digital forensics, and digital evidence. Cross-registration is available with the University at Albany’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity.
Registration for the program, which launches January 2017, begins Sept. 1 and anyone with a bachelor’s degree can apply. “It is geared to non-lawyers and working professionals but lawyers can also benefit if they are interested.” Haynes added.
According to Haynes, two law schools in the country have an in-residence only curriculum but this is first online program of its type.
“Every organization from large companies and government entities to nonprofits needs to have a basic level of expertise and competence especially when it involves regulations and compliance,” Haynes suggested.
Banking and finance is one of the industries that raises the most anxiety, Haynes noted. “Over the last two years a syndicate of criminal malicious hackers was able to infiltrate over 100 banks across the world and steal $1 billion from these different banks.”
This is a tremendous problem and financial institutions not only need awareness of technical security issues but also compliance requirements. He cited the increasing roles of the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission as examples. In the last few years, the FTC engaged in over 70 enforcement actions.
“There are a variety of agencies that regulate industry and banking; it is definitely a very big concern,” Haynes said. Albany Law School is in the process of developing affiliations with some financial institutions relating to the MSLS.
“Our goal is to reach a broader audience; working professionals who are unable to take a year off from work,” Haynes said. “Too many areas of the law are changing too rapidly for any one person to stay on top of it all.”