Fulbright specialist Professor Corey Schou is visiting the University of Waikato where he is working with Dr Ryan Ko at the country’s first cyber-security lab to advise on assessment and curriculum development for students being trained to enter the rapidly expanding industry.
Professor Schou is the programme director of the National Information Assurance Training and Education Center, established the first US Centre for Academic Excellence in information assurance at Idaho State University and has been a leader in setting computer security training standards in the US.
Shortage of information assurance professionals
He says there is a worldwide shortage of information assurance professionals and an even greater shortage of people qualified to train them.
"We are losing ground relative to the demand for professionals and that is why this is so important," he says of the CROW (Cyber Security Researchers of Waikato) lab, established last year.
University leads the way
"The foresight this University’s leadership has had to make this happen is brilliant."
Professor Schou is one of the leading educators in the field of cyber security, or information assurance as it is termed in the US, and says part of his role at the University of Waikato is to help the programme - which includes New Zealand’s first Master of Cyber Security qualification - with assessment and curriculum development.
It’s important, he says, for academic institutions to work to a "common language" of measuring success. One means of ensuring this common language is through the use of internationally recognized professional certifications from organizations such as (ISC)2 and others.
As part of that, he has agreed to provide the Waikato students full cooperation with his lab in the US. There, he says, his students graduate with not only high academic skills but also a high standard of industry training.
Professor Schou has joined the industry-advisory board and Dr Ko says having someone of his expertise on hand has been invaluable.
Professor Schou also advocates for his students at Idaho State University to work in their communities and sets aside a month each year for them to visit schools, hold seminars and conduct workshops to address issues around cyber security.
He says that’s an important factor in ensuring ordinary people are aware of the risks.
"Taking this issue to the community is very important, it needs to happen."
The University of Waikato will be doing that on 13 August, when Dr Ko takes part in a group discussion with NetSafe Chief Executive and digital safety advocate Martin Cocker and online legal expert and Faculty of Law Senior Lecturer Wayne Rumbles around cyber security as part of the University’s Winter Lecture Series.
Professor Schou will also be hosting a public lecture in lecture room S 1.02 at 6pm on 24 June 24.