Polytechnique Montréal and Deloitte, one of the leading professional services firms in Québec and the rest of Canada, are joining forces to revamp Polytechnique’s high-calibre training program in the field of cybersecurity. The course content of the three certificate programs in Cyber Investigation, Online Fraud and IT Network Computer Security has been upgraded to account for current market needs and the changing nature of cybercrimes. The newly updated programs will be offered at Polytechnique beginning in the fall 2016 semester.
According to a December 2015 report by Deloitte titled Navigating a Harsh Cybersecurity Landscape, a majority of organizations in Canada are unprepared to deal with a cyberattack. Most Canadian companies surveyed believe they are equipped to counter such an attack, but only around a third of them (36%) actually have effective procedures and technologies in place to safeguard their critical assets. In addition, only one company in 10 has a high level of preparedness for cyberattacks, having implemented secure, vigilant and resilient procedures.
Furthermore, the 2016 edition of Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report, which examined tens of thousands of security incidents that affected various organizations in 82 different countries, found that in 2015, “89% of breaches had a financial or espionage motive.” And in Canada, the 2015 NortonCybersecurity Insights Report noted that more than seven million people had been victims of cybercrime in the previous year.
“Polytechnique has been concerned for quite some time about the growing and increasingly complex needs of organizations when it comes to cybersecurity,” explains Gervais Ouellet, Polytechnique’s Coordinator of Certificates in Cybersecurity. “After meeting representatives of several major organizations to identify their needs, and with support from Deloitte’s cybersecurity experts, starting this fall we will be offering leading-edge and even more concrete training aimed at anyone who wants to ensure that their company or organization is protected against the new breed of online criminals, or is seeking ways of solving such crimes.”
Polytechnique and Deloitte reviewed, adjusted and upgraded the course content of all three certificate programs, which entailed comprehensive overhauls to 29 courses and the addition of 14 new ones, making for a completely new curriculum.
“These three cybersecurity training programs are unique in the world and perfectly in line with the needs and concerns of today’s organizations,” says Steven Chamberland, Polytechnique’s Director of Academic Affairs and Student Life, adding: “In response to the challenges and changing nature of cybercrime, we have developed a flexible, scalable training framework that allows courses to be adapted in real time, as cybercriminals change their tactics.”
To stem a rising tide of cybercrime limited only by the imaginations of those perpetrating them, organizations are snapping up personnel trained in this field: currently, there are five job openings for every graduating student. The most in-demand positions are cybersecurity analysts and consultants, access- and identity-management specialists, data analysis specialists, online fraud investigators, and cyberbullying consultants, to name only a few.
“Deloitte is proud to be partnering with Polytechnique and sharing our global cybersecurity expertise,” says Marc Perron, Québec Region Managing Partner, Deloitte. “As the recognized leader in cybersecurity in Canada, it was only natural that we should move forward with this partnership, to train the professionals of tomorrow and in turn help local enterprises address the challenges they face when it comes to cybersecurity.” He adds: “Knowing how to assess cybersecurity risks and guard against them is a key concern for many organizations, and we’re pleased to be able to transfer knowledge to the next generation.”
For his part, Amir Belkhelladi, Lead Partner, Eastern Region’s Enterprise Risk Service Security practice, Deloitte, notes: “The Polytechnique and Deloitte partnership will provide students with access to lecturers who have real-world experience with cybersecurity and are among the world’s leading experts on cybercrime. As cybercriminals refine their methods, organizations must take steps to ensure that their personnel assigned to cybersecurity stay on top of new threats and the means to counter them. Hence the importance of the training programs offered by Polytechnique.”
Other partners have already contacted Polytechnique to express their interest in being part of ongoing improvements to the various cybersecurity training programs. Students enrolling in one or another of the programs will soon have the opportunity to do in-company internships. The certificate in IT Network Computer Security will be available in distance-learning form in September, and starting in winter 2017, all three will be available in their entirety online. In the following fall semester (2017), selected courses will also be given in English.