London’s new Centre for Cyber and Security Sciences will help fight cyber terrorism

The creation of a new Centre for Cyber and Security Sciences at London City University will assist greatly in bolstering new influxes of security professionals to the IT industry.

There is now a pressing need for new blood in the IT security ranks, largely thanks to the growth in reliance on IT by UK organisations. Centres like the new one at London City University will help encourage new professionals to enter the industry.

LCU has a solid track record for innovation. Before it was made a university in 1966, it was an institute, and it created one of the UK’s first technical optics departments in 1904. In 1909, it saw its first students qualifying for University of London BSc degrees in engineering as internal students.

After 1909, the institute was involved in aeronautics education. Two years ago, in 2009, the university’s School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences celebrated the centenary of aeronautics at the site.

I have high hopes that in a century’s time, the university will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Cyber and Security Sciences Centre, although I suspect that the role of IT security professionals will have changed more than a little by then.

After all, the role of IT security professionals has drastically changed in the 25 years since the first PCs appeared in the world of business. Back in the 1980s, IT security professionals were involved in developing the first anti-virus, and then firewall, applications. Then, when the Internet arrived in earnest in the 1990s, further evolutions took place.

As we move into the second quarter-century of computers in the workplace, the advanced skill sets needed by tomorrow’s IT security professionals will increasingly be developed by organisations and university resources, such as those supplied by LCU’s new Cyber and Security Sciences Centre.

Many of my colleagues who helped developed those early strategies for the then-emerging field of IT security back in the 1980s are now coming up for their retirement, so the arrival of the new LCU centre and the students it will train up in the years ahead is warmly welcomed.

It is good to hear that the new centre is also forging links with other leading bodies, notably the Computer Science department of St. Andrews and Purdue University in the US. The skill sets that will be learned by LCU computer science students will stand them in good stead for when they join the ranks of other IT security professionals, and can develop their skills further.

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John Walker served in the Royal Air Force in the very early days of Computer Security, and as an Investigator, and served with number specialist signals units, as well as working with GCHQ, CESG, and specialist agencies. Today he holds the appointment of Visiting Professor at a University in the Faculty of Computing and Informatics, and MD Secure-Bastion, and has worked on a number of International assignments, examples of which are Argentina, Germany, Holland, Spain, India, Netherlands, and Denmark/Norway. John is a published author, with articles in Information Age, CONSPECTUS, Consultants Advisory, Computer Weekly, Computing, NT Magazine, Information Security (US), Elsevier (Computer Science), and Management Consultant. John is also engaged with Government, and Parliamentarians, and has both contributed, and presented at Public, and Government debates for the House of Lords, House of Commons, DTI, EURIM, and Local Chambers of Commerce.