CSU College of Law’s unique multidisciplinary online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) curriculum blends the technical and legal aspects of cybersecurity and data privacy. The program and its access to extensive professional networks propels graduates into new or recharged cybersecurity and data privacy careers. 

In recognition of National Initiative for Cyber Education’s Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week, we took a closer look at the program with industry experts. Prof. Brian Ray, who is director of CSU College of Law’s Center for Cybersecurity Protection and founder of the online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy program, led a webinar about how the online program prepares graduates to enter the cybersecurity field. 

Prof. Ray spoke with two other industry experts and professors: 

A Multidisciplinary Approach 

The cybersecurity field has become increasingly complex and specialized, said Prof. Witten, and a multidisciplinary approach is now essential to enter the field. Even in mid-sized companies, Prof. Witten explained, cybersecurity professionals are dedicated to specialties. To be successful, graduates need to be conversant in the different disciplines and also to be prepared to continue building skills within an area of interest. 

“You need an inch-deep and mile-wide familiarity with the field to get your foot in the door,” he said. “The CSU College of Law MLS program provides that foundation.”

“Cybersecurity is a continuously changing field, where you need to continue to build your knowledge — and that dynamic makes the field exciting,” Prof. Witten said. “With the CSU College of Law MLS program, students are prepared for success because they learn the diversity of the field and they focus on both the legal and technical elements in a way that no other program does. The program also gives enough exposure to the breadth of the field that students can determine the path they want to take.”

The strength of the curriculum continued with the networks of the professors involved in the program, said Prof. Herath, are impressive and achieve results. “We will help you connect with people who have jobs in this area,” he said. “We get your foot in the door. Also, we will help you get your first job in this area.”

Essential Skills for Entering the Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Fields

The team discussed the skills that are essential for people who want to advance in the cybersecurity and data privacy fields. Listening and writing and being able to talk well on your feet are important. Successful leaders in these fields also must take a problem-solving approach. They should understand the big picture about what an organization wants to accomplish, helping stakeholders balance and navigate risks and compliance issues.

In my experience,” said Prof. Herath, “generalists typically make the better senior security folks.” “If they come from a policy or compliance background they’ve had to explain things succinctly and simply for decision-makers, for years.” 

The program teaches the required technical skills; even students without a technical background can develop them. The fusion of the technical, legal, and business dimensions of cybersecurity and data privacy differentiates the program and is effective, the group said.

The webinar conversation also addressed the role of certifications, such as CIPP, AWS, or CISSP, for students who are in the field or are interested in entering it.

CSU College of Law’s Master of Legal Studies in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy

CSU College of Law’s innovative online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy takes an integrative approach to education, preparing professionals to understand the technical and business dimensions of cybersecurity and privacy as well as current laws and regulations. 

The part-time and fully online program is led by faculty from the Center for Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection at Cleveland State University College of Law and other leading practitioners in the field, with a focus on relevant, real-world experience. Also, the MLS degree is designed for professionals who need to understand the significant legal and business risks posed by cybersecurity and data privacy. Lastly, the program prepares graduates with the knowledge and necessary skills to enter these fast-growing fields and to advance to senior positions within organizations.