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Cyber law + cyber security = job security

There’s a world of opportunities for tech professionals with in-demand cyber law and security skills.

Online technology has revolutionised the way we communicate, work, shop and learn. The internet has changed our lives forever, and thankfully, most of it for good.

However the flipside of this instant information and interaction is the threat it can pose to our personal information, privacy and security. 

Every second we spend online leaves a tell-tale trail of websites, products and communication – information that’s not only valuable for advertisers but also cyber criminals.

Cyber law essential for tech professionals

Technology professionals work across a diverse range of roles that can all benefit from cyber law and security skills.

Dr Arash Shaghaghi, Lecturer in Cybersecurity at Deakin’s School of Information Technology, says today’s digital society closely entwines technology, law, regulation and policy making.

‘The processing of digital data is the bedrock of all areas of business and it is critical for tech, business professionals and executives to understand how law applies to digital decision making.’

Thanks to the speed of technological innovation – and its impact on society as a whole – data protection and its regulation is now a global concern.

‘Consumers have high data security and privacy expectations. To address these concerns and expectations, there are now rules and regulations that impose specific technical requirements that professionals need to be aware of and implement across different systems,’ he adds.

Growing demand for cyber security skills

Because cyber security bridges both the technology and legal domains, it’s an area with booming employment opportunities.

‘Cyber security professionals and practitioners define cyber policies that need to meet data security and privacy protections and ensure their implementation,’ says Dr Shaghaghi. 

Multiple reports and surveys confirm that Australia, like every other country, is facing a crisis in cyber security staffing with fierce competition for a small base of skilled employees. What’s more, 49% of cybersecurity workers in Australia have been reported to lack cyber security certification altogether. This translates to serious risks for organisations and their customers when it comes to protecting the privacy and security of their data,’ he adds.

Dr Jesse Laeuchli (Senior Lecturer in Cyber and Networking at Deakin) says cyber cyber security policy making and implementation are crucial issues for any organisation.

‘There is a serious shortfall of people with both the legal and technical capabilities needed to draft cyber security policy.  Attempting to draft policy without a deep understanding of the technologies involved leads to unworkable and unsafe policies for organisations.  Having legal and cyber practitioners who are well versed in both fields will lead to much better outcomes.’

COVID-19 has exposed new vulnerabilities

The 2020 global pandemic has powered an unparalleled transition to the online workspace – a market shift that’s delivered increased challenges and complications and a greater need for interdisciplinary knowledge.

Dr Shaghaghi currently leads an interdisciplinary project in technology and law and says COVID-19 has completely changed internet-use patterns.

‘The unplanned transition to working from home has blurred the boundaries between our professional and personal lives. Personal information is now more likely to be exchanged over services such as Microsoft Teams and many users may choose to store confidential information on personal cloud services for convenience. With these changes in behaviour, new vulnerabilities have emerged … it’s now more important than ever that personal and sensitive information is automatically secured.’

Expanding employment opportunities

Mr Damien Manuel (Director of Centre for Cyber Security Research and Innovation at Deakin and Chairman of the Australian Information Security Association) says that from a business perspective, cyber security is just another risk that needs to be managed.

‘However unlike traditional business risks, cyber security encompasses both data and information privacy and protection and adherence to both international and local laws and regulations. This has significant impacts across technology, policy, business processes and stakeholder engagement. A background in cyber law, combined with both a business and technology grounding in cyber security increases the employability of professionals who now need to bridge the divide between business, technology, regulation and policy,’ he explains.

Mr Manuel says there is a rise in the importance of digital officers and privacy officers to protect customer and company data.

‘Particularly with governments implementing additional legislation and regulations to limit the impact of data breaches and improve business resilience to cyber attacks.’

‘It is critical that we boost the talent pool in cyber security with people who have a background in law to improve the way policies are designed, rules are developed and implemented, and to help organisations and law enforcement deal with data breaches and cyber attacks.’

Deakin leads the way in cyber security education

Deakin’s School of Information Technology (IT) provides leading cyber security degrees that will help expand the pool of skilled professionals in this critical and growing area of industry.

In partnership with Deakin Law School, it now delivers the combined Bachelor of Laws/ Bachelor of Cyber Securityand the Graduate Certificate of Cyber Law.

Associate Professor Andrew Cain, Associate Head of School (Learning) in the School of Information Technology, says studying at Deakin enables students to achieve and demonstrate their potential.

'Studying at Deakin means being in touch with the latest discipline developments within a leading education system.’

Deakin’s Graduate Certificate of Cyber Law is a fully online, one- year course designed for both lawyers seeking knowledge of cyber issues and cyber professionals seeking cyber law knowledge. It delivers two units of cyber law from the Deakin Law School and two units of cyber security and analytics from Deakin's School of Information Technology. Completion of the Graduate Certificate of Cyber Law provides a pathway into Deakin’s Master of Laws and Master of Cyber Security (Australia’s first accredited cyber security course)


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