The government has announced a free online course designed to train lawyers and accountants to protect themselves and their clients from cyber attacks, in a bid to prevent UK businesses losing millions to cybercrime.
Developed by the government and industry experts, the course also aims to help legal and accountancy professionals advise clients on how to protect against information loss and other digital threats that can have expensive repercussions.
The focus of the course is to build awareness of the common cyber threats that may be experienced in the workplace, so that such risks can be prevented and dealt with if they crop up.
Four modules are listed for those who take the online course: an introduction to the risks and impacts on business and individuals; responsibilities for lawyers and accountants around data protection; how to manage cyber risks, including how to get help from government and the private sector; scenario training, including best practice responses to cyber incidents.
Digital economy minister Ed Vaizey, who announced the new training course, said that lawyers and accountants have to handle sensitive client information on a daily basis which makes them prime targets for cyber attacks.
Vaizey explained that the course will make cyber security "part of the day job for lawyers and accountants".
"It's essential that government and industry work together to protect UK companies from online attacks that can cause millions of pounds worth of damage," he concluded.
Martyn Jones, a former president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, said that tackling cyber threats effectively needs professionals to be aware of how their activity influences cyber security.
"Much of the risk centres on behaviour and ensuring employees do the right thing. The training launched today will help accountants become more knowledgeable and confident to support their clients in reducing risks and increasing their cyber hygiene," explained Jones.
Funding for the free course will come courtesy of the government's £860m National Cyber Security Programme. The programme looks to improve cyber security skills across all levels, and to work with security professionals to make a variety of industries more resistant to attack.
Digital skills are increasingly scrutinised by the government. Concerns remain over a lack of IT skills that could leave the UK vulnerable to cyber attacks and the technology industry exposed to a lack of skilled people to fill job roles.
However, for those with the right skills such a deficit offers an opportunity to use it to their advantage, as V3 recently explored when we took a closer look at the UK's digital skills gap.
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