NKU launches region’s first cybersecurity program

NKU-Cyber-Threat-Lab
NKU’s JRG Cyber Threat Intelligence Lab is the region’s premier cybersecurity training space.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Northern Kentucky University now offers the only undergraduate cybersecurity program in the Greater Cincinnati region.

NKU’s bachelor of science in cybersecurity blends fundamental business knowledge and computer science skills to protect vital information in the age of digital transformation. Unlike technology programs currently available across higher education, the new College of Informatics (COI) program takes an innovative approach to risk management, ethical hacking and secure software development.

“Each week, we see a number of cyberthreats impacting major organizations. Experts are predicting nearly 2 million cybersecurity positions worldwide will remain unfilled by the year 2022,” said Dr. Maureen Doyle, Department of Computer Science chair. “This is an emerging degree field, and our new program addresses the critical need for cybersecurity skills—both regionally and nationwide.”

Students will learn the processes and technologies behind digital security in COI’s JRG Cyber Threat Intelligence Lab, the region’s premier cybersecurity training space. NKU worked with top corporate security professionals to create a real-world environment to gain hands-on cyber defense training. The lab is a combination of threat intelligence center and network cybersecurity laboratory.

Tech-savvy students also get real-world experience with NKU’s successful Cyber Defense Team. Since 2009, the team has won regional competitions such as the Midwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition and US Bank’s Strength in Security Capture the Flag.

“While other programs prepare students for work in cybersecurity, they do not develop a foundation of business knowledge that’s necessary for career advancement,” said Dr. Yi Hu, professor of computer science. “This is a complex, ever-changing career field. We are training cybersecurity professionals to put all of the puzzle pieces together.”

Last summer, NKU had its designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education renewed by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. NKU became the first institution in Kentucky and the Greater Cincinnati region to receive the designation in 2014. The university had to meet stringent criteria to receive the designation, a feat accomplished by only 270 other institutions.

To learn more on NKU’s Cybersecurity program, visit its website.