Although the benefits of modern technology are manifold, one of its major shortcomings is that it can expose an organisation to uncertainty and threats. Well-structured security management helps to identify, mitigate and manage these threats and thus protects a company's interests.
Traditionally, mid- to high-level security professionals were not required to possess any academic qualifications. However, as the field has developed, and in order to demonstrate competence in a recognised format, such qualifications are becoming more important. Security professionals who are looking for a raise or to climb the corporate ladder are now increasingly expected to possess a recognised degree from an accredited university in an area relevant to security management.
"Security has been around for a long time but over the last 10 years, particularly since 9/11, we've seen the profession expand phenomenally," says Jeff Corkill, programme coordinator, master of security management, Edith Cowan University in Australia. "Just within the last seven or eight years, formal academic qualifications and training for chief security officers (CSOs) are being created allowing professionals in the field to compete with their peers within the management sectors."
The only programme of its kind offered in Hong Kong, the master of security management award offered by Hong Kong CyberU (HKCyberU) with Edith Cowan University in Australia is internationally recognised.
It is designed to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of security management to help minimise attacks that could lead to severe loss or damage for an organisation and covers risk areas that are relevant to all industries in both the public and private sectors.
The programme consists of three main stages that can be completed within two and a half years on a part-time basis. The majority of study materials are provided via online, complemented with face-to-face tutorials conducted by industry professionals. During the first stage of the programme, students are taught core components of a variety of areas within security management.
In the next stage students move on to research-based work where they can take an in-depth look at current issues in the discipline. "The uniqueness of the programme is that after core skills are covered students can focus on more advanced security issues and because these are continually changing, they are always going to be doing something different," Dr Corkill says.
The third stage of the programme requires students to produce a minor thesis to demonstrate their level of expertise in a particular issue. "When the students reach this point, they'll possess substantial knowledge that not only adds value to them as individuals but also benefits the corporations that have sponsored them," Dr Corkill says. "By the end of the programme they will have become experts in their particular field and their theses might even have the chance to be published."
The programme is designed for people with a minimum of five years of related professional work experience who want to learn more and at the same time attain a recognised qualification. "Whether you want to position yourself for a promotion or just want some professional development, attaining this qualification will allow you to set yourself apart from others," Dr Corkill concludes.