Saint Leo University is partnering with the highly respected organization (ISC)², the largest non-profit information security body worldwide, to offer students and working professionals increased opportunities to earn the most sought-after certification credentials in the cyber security field.

(ISC)² is the administrator of multiple information security certifications that are universally recognized as the gold standard in the industry and are considered significant career differentiators. These certifications include CAP, CCFP, CISSP, CSSLP, SSCP and HCISPP.

Through the agreement, Saint Leo becomes a member of the (ISC)² and an official (ISC)² Continuing Professional Education provider. Becoming a GAP partner enables Saint Leo to offer review seminars and administer (ISC)²'s rigorous certification exams.

"Through its certifications and education programs, (ISC)² is committed to a safe and secure cyber world and to ensuring its members stay current with new developments," said Dr. Derek Mohammed, chair of the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems and director of the Center for Cyber Security Education at Saint Leo.

"We are pleased to be part of (ISC)²'s industry-academic initiative to grow the number of qualified information security professionals. Bridging the workforce gap between the increasing demand for qualified cyber security professionals and the amount of skilled professionals entering the industry is critical to the future security of our nation."

Leading-edge cyber security career preparation

According to Dr. Mohammed, the agreement with (ISC)² will assist the university in carrying out one of its most important commitments to Saint Leo students – to provide them access to the experiential skills and industry certifications needed to succeed in their career endeavors, along with the academic foundation and ethical framework required.

Saint Leo's new role as a GAP partner provides students with multiple benefits.

First, students will have access to the same certification opportunities and the most current educational resources and tools (ISC)² provides professionals. Over the last 26 years, (ISC)² has developed and continually refined its CBK – or common body of knowledge – to reflect the evolving threat landscape and accepted standards of practices. The (ISC)² CBK defines global industry standards and serves as a common framework of terms and principles that its credentials are based upon.

Second, Saint Leo faculty will teach (ISC)² certification preparation workshops and seminars, enabling university students to work with the same professors that they have been taking classes with as they prepare for these important exams.

And third, Saint Leo students will have the opportunity to interact with and learn from working professionals through its elite network of more than 110,000 certified industry professionals worldwide.

Developing qualified professionals to combat increasing threats

According to the 2015 (ISC)² Global Information Security Workforce Study, the information security workforce shortfall is widening with a predicted shortage of 1.5 million global cyber security professionals by 2020.

This rising demand for a workforce with broad skills and qualifications is due to a variety of factors including such as the continual advancement in variety and sophistication of cyber threats, the expanding footprint that requires security oversight including mobile devices, cloud-based services and the Internet-of-Things, and the lack of end-user security awareness and education.

To help meet this industry demand, Saint Leo's Donald R. Tapia School of Business offers a MS in cyber security online and on-ground, as well as a MBA with cyber security management concentration online. At the undergraduate level, the university offers bachelor's programs in computer information systems, and computer science with information assurance specialization. All are available fully online.

"Saint Leo is proud to partner with such a highly respected organization as (ISC)² to help prepare future cyber security professionals," said Dr. Mohammed. "Together we can contribute to the development of a qualified workforce that will meet this urgent industry need, and protect our businesses, our organizations and our nation's most critical assets."

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Image credit: Saint Leo University Communications