Business leaders: Here’s a $399 crash course on cybersecurity threats

BY Sydney LakeOctober 07, 2022, 5:23 PM
An employee at his desk at S2W Inc., a South Korean cybersecurity company, in Pangyo Techno Valley, Seoul, South Korea, as seen in August 2022. (Photographer: Woohae Cho—Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Cybercrime is projected to cost $7 trillion globally in 2022, according to research by Cybersecurity Ventures. And despite strong business and interpersonal skills, many professionals lack the cybersecurity knowledge needed to help their company prevent cyberattacks.

Complicating matters further, there’s a massive cybersecurity talent gap of more than 700,000 open positions in the U.S. C-suite leaders and business executives are “paying attention” to cybersecurity, according to Cybersecurity Venture’s report, “but they tell us reports on cybersecurity are way too technical, and use terms they don’t understand.”

To help business leaders prepare for “real-world” scenarios involving cybersecurity, talent development platform Udacity announced this week it’s launching a Cybersecurity for Business Leaders Program—which is tailor-made for C-suite executives and senior-level managers.

“Cybersecurity should be a top concern for all of us—especially given the impact that the choices we make now about cybersecurity can have on our future business success,” Udacity CEO Gabriel Dalporto tells Fortune. “C-suite and senior-level managers must be able to identify potential cyber threats to their organization and understand systemic risks present within its digital ecosystem of suppliers, vendors, and customers.”

What you’ll learn in the course

Dalporto says that professionals who participate in the cybersecurity program should walk away with the following five major understandings: 

  1. Developing a common language and understanding of cybersecurity risks and best practices
  2. Identifying potential cyber threats and systemic risks present within their digital ecosystem of suppliers, vendors, and customers
  3. Evaluating how to respond to low-, medium-, and high-risk cyber threats
  4. Creating a culture of cybersecurity awareness across the organization
  5. Creating cybersecurity budgets for their organization

Essentially, the course is designed to help people understand cybersecurity risks, identify potential threats, and create a budget for cybersecurity protections. It’s also important for business leaders to get “buy-in” from other employees by launching cybersecurity awareness campaigns, training plans, and accountability measures, Dalporto says.

What’s more, participants complete the course with materials they can apply in their current companies. They leave the program with a “fully baked out” incident response plan (as Dalporto puts it), an internal cybersecurity awareness campaign model, and a three-year cybersecurity investment budget proposal for their company.

“Many leaders have struggled to keep pace with the digital transformation of their industries, leaving significant knowledge, process, and technology gaps in how they manage threats,” Dalporto says. “It’s a challenge to stay current—but a challenge we should all embrace to ensure the right decisions are made at every level.”

Program details

Enrollment for the program is open until October 12 for the upcoming cohort. The program takes one month to complete with about three-to-five hours of commitment per week. No prerequisite courses are necessary, though Udacity also offers other cybersecurity-related courses, including an Introduction to Cybersecurity. 

The program is taught by Eric Hollis, president and CEO of HollisGroup, a cybersecurity and risk management consultancy. Hollis holds several cybersecurity certifications, including Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), an advanced certification for industry leaders.

“Digital ecosystems pose an easy access point for cyber threats and breaches,” Hollis said in a statement. “Cybersecurity for Business Leaders is a highly-detailed program, and I’m eager to work with a diverse set of leaders who are looking to expand their cybersecurity skill set and help their teams excel.”

The program costs $399 to complete and also includes access to mentor support and career services.

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