(MENAFN Press) Abu Dhabi, March 21, 2012: The importance of safeguarding vital corporate and personal information will be scrutinized at today's inaugural HCT-VCU cyber security workshop, held at the CERT Technology Park Abu Dhabi.
The one-day workshop, entitled Cyber Security: Meeting the Challenge, is jointly hosted by the UAE's largest higher education institution, the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), and the Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Business (VCU), based in the USA.
Workshop participants will interact with some of the world's leading exponents on cyber information security - Dr. Gurpreet Dhillon, Dr. Ian Angell and Dr. Karin Hedstrom. The Dean of the VCU School of Business, Ed Grier, will also address the audience, while H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chancellor, Higher Colleges of Technology will deliver the keynote speech.
The workshop will be chaired by Dr. Gurpreet Dhillon, an internationally acclaimed information security scholar. He is the author of seven books and scores of research articles. Over the past 15 years his cyber security work has spanned over two dozen countries and companies, eager to ensure protection of their valuable information resources. A graduate of the London School of Economics, Dr. Dhillon is a faculty member at VCU.
Dr. Ian Angell is Professor of Information Systems at the London School of Economics and is an expert on Information Systems. He is an advisor to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO, the European Security Forum and to the UK's House of Commons Parliamentary Information Technology Committee. For the past ten years he has concentrated on the issues of strategic information systems, organizational and IT policies.
Dr. Karin Hedstrom is a faculty member at the –rebro University, Sweden and her PhD is in the area of Information Systems. She is frequently engaged as a reviewer for various international agencies, both academic and commercial.
The workshop is a result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two institutions in November 2011, which provides for the parties to explore the possibilities of a jointly offering a Master of Science in Information Systems (Cyber Security Concentration) program and establishing a joint center of excellence in information security to help train employees in local institutions. Once accredited the Master degree will be the Middle East's first information security academic program.
According to a global survey of executives on information security this year by PricewaterhouseCoopers, only 20% of Middle East companies have an information security strategy for either cloud computing, mobile devices, or social media. Additionally, over a quarter of survey respondents did not know what data privacy safeguards their organization had in place.
Ed Grier, Dean of the VCU School of Business said the workshop was an integral aspect of the two institutions' partnership which is focusing on strengthening information security in the region.
Dr Tayeb Kamali, Vice Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology said the workshop would play an important role in engaging with, and educating the corporate, governmental and community sectors about the needs for protecting information assets.
"We are very pleased to be working collaboratively with the University to produce this vital workshop, which will help to meet the specific needs of the local industry and the community at large, bringing a greater awareness of information security principles to the region," Dr Kamali said.
"It will also assist in helping to encourage the development of the next generation of highly skilled information security experts in this growing field," he added.
Dr. Gurpreet Dhillon said the security of information and data was vital in the growing Middle East economies in order to thwart "info criminals" interested in computer-stored and generated data.
"Companies and governments must have the necessary people and knowledge to protect their information, which is an incredibly valuable commodity in our digitally-connected society," Dr. Dhillon said.
The collaboration with HCT has enhanced VCU's educational commitment to the Gulf region. In 1998, it established a campus in Qatar, which offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in fashion, graphic, interior design and painting & printmaking and a Master of Fine Arts degree in design studies.