OSUIT’s online Cybersecurity & Digital Forensics program ranked nationally

OSU Institute of Technology’s online Bachelor of Technology in Information Technology: Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics program was recently recognized nationally as one of the best.

BestColleges.com, an online resource that aims to help prospective students find the best schools that meets their needs, recently released their annual rankings of best online colleges and programs

OSUIT’s Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics program was ranked No. 17 in the nation in the organization’s list of Best Online Cybersecurity Programs. The rankings were based on academic quality such as admissions, retention and graduation rates; affordability; and online programming.

Cybersecurity is a field of information technology that covers tools and systems that monitor, mitigate and prevent online threats from hackers, cyberterrorists, network outages and other issues that could compromise network security.

Dean of the School of Information Technologies Randy Ritchey said he and the faculty and staff are proud of this accomplishment.

“It provides external validation for the faculty that they are doing a good job in teaching students,” Ritchey said. “As for the students, I believe this recognition informs prospective students who are researching cybersecurity programs.”

As people and businesses become more and more reliant on technology, the need for cybersecurity technicians and digital forensic specialists has grown and will only continue to increase.

According to BestColleges.com, the U.S. government maintains a National Cybersecurity Division under the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the Internet Crime Complaint Center, which is comprised of employees from the FBI, National White Collar Crime Center and Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Michael Hass is an instructor in OSUIT’s School of Information Technologies and teaches some of the Cybersecurity courses.

“The demand for our graduates has increased. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for information security analysts through 2024 is an increase of 18 percent, a number they identify as ‘much faster than average’ with an above average median pay,” Hass said.

The School of Information Technologies offers all four options of its Bachelor of Technology degree online, which mean students can advance on their timetable.

“An online degree provides opportunities for students who may have other responsibilities to pursue a Bachelor of Technology degree in Cybersecurity or the ability to just update their cybersecurity skills,” Ritchey said.

And while the online format does allow students an easier way to balance work, school and family, Hass said OSUIT’s online program also offers those students a way to stay engaged with their instructors and fellow students.

“Sometimes being out of sight can result in being out of mind,” he said. “To reduce this problem, we include synchronous interactive content within our classes through online classrooms and virtual resources. Students and instructors can talk and share content in real time.”

OSUIT’s Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics program has already aligned its curriculum with the fundamental topics identified by the National Security Agency, Hass said, and the next steps are expanding the topics taught to include SCADA systems, which are used in energy and industrial practices, and IoT devices or Internet of Things.

“IoT system security has become an increasingly important issue as more household devices from your thermostat to your refrigerator have internet access,” he said, and that type of access can be, and has been, exploited by hackers. “Our program seeks to examine the vulnerabilities associated with these areas and educate the student on how to prevent attacks.”

Ritchey said another exciting next step for the program is to apply for the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, or ABET certification, and for the NSA Certified Center of Academic Excellence for Cybersecurity.

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