NCCU Business Launches State-of-the-Art Cybersecurity Lab

Posted November 03, 2020, 4:52PM
From L to R : Donna Grant, Ph.D.; Yolanda Anderson, Ph.D.; Anthony Nelson, Ph.D.; and Erastus Karanja, Ph.D.

NCCU Business faculty, staff, students, alumni, administration and corporate partners recently celebrated the launch of a cybersecurity lab on campus. 

The first of its kind within the UNC System, this lab complements a new program for students interested in pursuing a degree in Information Technology with a concentration in cybersecurity. 

The lab, which opened on October 20, 2020, is a direct response to the global need for increased cyber protection, particularly during a time when more and more interaction and transactions are happening digitally. This program has been developed to prepare students for significant and immediate contributors to this industry.

“The global need for digital protection is a call that we must answer, and with the new cybersecurity lab and curriculum, our professors, industry partners and corporate leaders are ready to provide students with what they need to be viable influencers and contributors to this area,” said Yolanda Anderson, Ph.D., interim provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “We are excited to open our cybersecurity lab so that our students are able to have a first-hand engagement with the technology they will utilize to solve some of the world’s most pressing security issues.”

Gartner business research and advisory firm reports that the worldwide information security market will reach $170.4 billion in 2022.  There has been a 350% growth in open cybersecurity positions from 2013-2021, along with a critical call for talent to support the market.

NCCU is ready for this important mission, said Anthony Nelson, Ph.D., dean of the NCCU School of Business

“We are so grateful to have received a grant to support the construction of this lab for our students,” Nelson said. “This project has been a labor of love, as our faculty worked tirelessly to ensure the physical structure of the lab not only has the requisite state-of-the-art equipment but also curriculum that will advance the innovation and instruction needed to sustain a well versed and dynamic program.”  

Business leaders acknowledge the need to protect networks, systems, devices and data from cybercriminals, cyberthreats and cyberattacks, on behalf of companies and society as a whole.

“The ever-changing and complex strategies, tools and techniques needed to mitigate security breaches and really become more proactive than reactive in regards to our security policies and practices has made the need for our cybersecurity program and cybersecurity lab essential for our students to understand, analyze, incorporate and apply these skills,” said Donna Grant, Ph.D., and CIS chair.  

Cybersecurity lab assistant Jasmine Pittman said the program provides opportunities to develop new techniques for mitigating the dangers of cybercrime.

“As I learn more about the industry and acquire the skills and techniques I need to be an immediate contributor I look forward to being able to work with my peers to create new and exciting methods to attacking cyber issues,” Pittman said.

“We truly believe that the future of cybersecurity resides within the instruction and work of the students and faculty at North Carolina Central University and with this new lab they are well positioned to answer the call,” Nelson added.

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