The former head of Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre is to deliver a free course aimed at educating business leaders in Scotland about the risks posed by online hackers and fraudsters.

Professor Ciaran Martin, formerly chief executive of NCSC and now professor of practice in the management of public organisations at the University of Oxford, will teach a cybersecurity executive education programme in three modules across four sessions beginning on March 8.

The non-technical course is aimed at helping CEOs, directors and non-executive directors in the public and private sectors to understand and manage their organisation’s cybersecurity risk and become more involved in cybersecurity in response to escalating cybercrime and increased remote working.

Unlike many cybersecurity programmes it will not rely on technical language, to ensure accessibility for participants who may have less experience with technology; the course is run by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) – where Martin is an advisor – and funded by Scottish Government.

The course will detail how and why cyberattacks happen, how to manage cybersecurity risk and the effects of cyberattacks on a business. It will be interactive, including case studies and real-life examples that lean on Professor Martin’s 25 years of experience in the public and private security sectors, including at NCSC and GCHQ, Britain’s spy agency ‘listening post’.

Professor Martin said: “Recent cyber incidents reinforce a key message: cybersecurity must be viewed as a mainstream business concern, and is a board imperative, and lack of awareness is no longer an excuse. However, many business leaders are prone to labelling cybersecurity a concern of the IT department. What we’re doing with the SBRC in Scotland will help non-technical minded executives to understand why that’s no longer sufficient and learn how they, too, have a role to play in keeping their business secure, and how to fulfil that role.”

Jude McCorry, CEO of SBRC, added: “There has been an unprecedented rise in cybercrime over the past year, and it is vital for all business leaders – even those who don’t normally work with technology – to be more engaged and contribute to reducing the risks of cyberattacks in businesses throughout Scotland.

“We are conscious that many CEOs and directors will not necessarily have the technological know-how required to manage cybersecurity. This course has been specifically designed with that in mind and will include an introduction to the technology used in cybersecurity, as well as identifying how and why cyberattacks happen. This is a rarely used tactic, but one we hope will become more common as cybersecurity is demystified for the business community.”

The course will initially be delivered over four sessions lasting up to three hours each on the following dates:

  • Monday 8 March
  • Thursday 25 March
  • Monday 12 April
  • Thursday 22 April

Further dates will be announced. More information and registration details are available on the SBRC website here.