Online Legal Degree

While the world slowed down in 2020 due to the pandemic, cyber-crime did not. IC3, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, logged a 300,000 complaint increase from 2019. That increase led to a total of well over 791,000 suspected internet crime complaints in 2020. Cybersecurity and data protection companies are in great need of trained professionals to help protect their customers’ data and comply with ever-evolving cybersecurity and privacy laws. CSU College of Law’s Master of Legal Studies (MLS) in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy equips students with the legal knowledge and technical skills to step into this role easily.

The cybersecurity field is expanding rapidly and will continue to be one of the highest job growth industries in the U.S. With many companies allowing the majority, if not all, of their employees to work from home, cybersecurity risks to corporations have increased. The use of insecure home devices or connections to the corporate network has led to a surge in phishing and ransomware attacks by cybercriminals. When employees return to work with potentially malware-infected devices or negligent cybersecurity habits, it increases vulnerability at the workplace. 

The fine line between workers’ privacy on home devices and companies’ need to maintain security shows the urgency behind the cybersecurity job growth. These factors increase the demand for cybersecurity training experts such as Security Awareness Training Specialists. The Corporate Compliance Courses in the MLS program are well-rounded in the importance of training employers.

Many industries face new and challenging data security concerns that require both a legal background and cybersecurity competence. Additionally, compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) continues to be an ongoing challenge for many businesses. Legal guidance with an understanding of cybersecurity is essential.

Cisco reports that 45% of consumers believe data privacy is the responsibility of the federal government. Another 21% feel it’s the company’s responsibility. And 64% of Americans fault the companies rather than the hackers for the loss of personal data. Businesses and organizations are feeling the pressure to keep up with data protection and data privacy laws. But what is the difference?

Differences Between Data Privacy, Data Protection, and Cybersecurity

Although the terms seem similar, data privacy and data protection are not the same things.

Data privacy pertains to the personal consumer information that is collected and used by companies. The consumer is responsible for the amount of information given to an authorized party and can allow or deny the sharing of that information.

Data protection is the safeguarding of that personal information by the lawful party to prevent it from being sold, shared, or illegally accessed by an unauthorized party. It is the responsibility of the legitimate party to keep the records safe. Another aspect of data protection is making sure the level of privacy requested by the consumer is maintained. In other words, not sharing or selling the information if the consumer has indicated they do not want their records sold or shared with a third party.

Cybersecurity protects the digital systems, devices, networks, and programs where the consumer and company data are shared and stored. A data breach is a system, network, or program breakdown where information is purposely hacked into or unintentionally exposed. The convergence of data privacy and cybersecurity is examined in the Cyber Law course.


Financial institutions, health care organizations, information technology, communications companies, and government agencies are some of the most targeted industries for cybercrimes. These businesses often have in-house cybersecurity teams. But in the face of major attacks, many call on data protection companies or cybersecurity companies to help protect their assets, information, and customers. 

Some of these industries have specific laws, and some fall under federal regulations and guidelines. There is a high demand for the skills necessary to navigate the legal and cybersecurity fields within any industry. A Master of Legal Studies in Cybersecurity and Privacy Data from CSU College of Law prepares you with the legal background and sufficient cybersecurity skills to assist the high target industries.

An Online Legal Degree With Courses That Reflect Industry Needs


One of the most prevalent targets of cybercriminals, the financial industry has to be prepared to guard their clients’ records and their money. A legal background and technical skills will help with FDIC compliance requirements and keeping customer’s information safe.

Some of the MLS courses that pertain to the financial industry are Cybersecurity I, Cybersecurity II, and Corporate Compliance II.

Chief Information Security Officer is one of the most common cybersecurity positions that benefit from a legal background.  The CISO is responsible for developing and monitoring the business’s risk management processes and information security management.


The healthcare industry handles a large volume of personal, health, and financial records, making it a prime target for ransomware attacks. Bad actors hack into a system and lock the facility’s employees out, holding access to the system as a ransom for payment. The price of patient information is high. A study by Comparitech found that ransomware attacks cost the healthcare industry almost $21 billion in 2020.

The healthcare system is repeatedly targeted for several reasons. The numerous medical devices used for patient care are not typically equipped with security measures. Consequently, this makes them a point of access to the system network for attackers. Patient information needs to be accessed and shared, often remotely, using computers, laptops, and even cell phones. However, healthcare workers are not usually trained on the risks the devices present. Small security budgets and outdated technology also contribute to healthcare being targeted.  

Four of the main courses in the MLS program that pertain to the healthcare industry are Cybersecurity I and II, HIPAA and Privacy, and the Privacy Law and Management course.

A Privacy Compliance Manager, or Officer, develops and updates the privacy policies of a business or organization. Additionally, they train and oversee the employees to ensure they observe the policies’ legal and ethical requirements.

Government Agencies

Government agencies face various cyberattacks due to the amount of sensitive data that they collect and store. Foreign entities may use cyberattacks to try and acquire federal or state secrets. However, unlike the cybercriminals that attempt to monetize data, cyberattacks on government agencies are often caused by hacktivists.

Hacktivist groups and state-sponsored actors look to disrupt government processes such as elections. They may introduce viruses or leak information to gain attention or to make an activist statement regarding a political stance. Regardless of their motivations, hacktivist groups can be unified across continents and large enough to cripple the activities of government agencies for extended periods.

Most of the courses in the MLS in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy program provide a real-world understanding of how laws and regulations pertain to the cybersecurity of government agencies. Specifically, the Intro to American Law course, the Legal Writing, Research, and Advocacy course, and the Cyber Law course will give you knowledge of U.S. laws, how they are written, and how they can be incorporated into cybersecurity policies.

As a Cyber Legal Advisor, you would provide legal advice to data protection companies or cybersecurity companies on cyber law or regulations that influence cyber policies.

A legal role in the cybersecurity field is a unique position in a growing industry. CSU College of Law’s MLS program is student-centered and relevant to today’s legal professionals. It enables you to maneuver within the legal and cybersecurity realms in any industry.


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.