Beginning this fall, Elon students will be able to minor in cybersecurity management. This addition to the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business comes at a time when demand for professionals with training in cybersecurity is at an all time high.

Many North Carolina universities, including nearby schools like High Point University and University of North Carolina, Greensboro, have offered cybersecurity training for years.

Since the early seventies, demand for professionals with knowledge in cybersecurity has continually increased. In 2022, there was an 11.1% increase in the number of jobs provided by the cybersecurity workforce, according to the International Information System Security Certification Consortium.

This increase in demand spurs from a large shortage of workers who have experience with cybersecurity. In 2023, there was a global shortage of 3.4 million cybersecurity professionals, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Elon’s new minor was created to address this “growing global need for cybersecurity expertise,” according to Elon's business school website.

John Wimmer, lecturer in management information services at the Love School of Business, wrote in a statement to Elon News Network that the university reached out to business professionals who were concerned about this scarcity when creating the minor.

“By speaking with business professionals looking for talent to add to their teams, it was apparent that cybersecurity was a missing piece,” Wimmer wrote. “By adding this minor, we hope students can augment the skills they are learning in their chosen discipline and add cybersecurity skills to make them even more valuable and effective in the business world.”

The demand for cybersecurity training increased substantially following the COVID-19 pandemic. The International Business Machines Corporation, commonly known as IBM, reported that in 2021 data breaches cost companies $4.24 million on average -– the highest recorded cost in 17 years.

“Based on in-depth analysis of real-world data breaches experienced by over 500 organizations, security incidents became more costly and harder to contain due to drastic operational shifts during the pandemic, with costs rising 10% compared to the prior year,” IBM wrote on its website. 

Students who choose to minor in cybersecurity management will not only gain training in fields ranging from business analytics to data wrangling, but they will also be allowed to obtain IBM’s Security Practitioner Certificate, an authentication in the business sector that 90% of industry leaders have expressed preference for, according to the Elon’s business school website.

Wimmer said students should not only have the skills needed to help organizations improve their online security, but also “proof that they have learned how to master some of these skills via these badges and certificates.”

Takoda Moore, a first-year financial technology major, agrees with Wimmer about the importance of Elon offering a cybersecurity program.

“The number one risk for a business is employees unknowingly doing something wrong, so just by having a minor you can educate more people on how to protect their businesses,” said Moore. In the upcoming Fall 2024 semester, Moore will be pursuing a minor in cybersecurity management.