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Dr. Mark Harris, Assistant Professor, The University of South Carolina

Dr. Mark A. Harris, Assistant Professor, The University of South Carolina

By Dr. Mark A. Harris

Until recently, IT security professionals did not have to worry about bring-your-own-device programs (BYOD), social media, corporate data in the cloud, and big data. However, with the growing use of all of these technology innovations, IT security can no longer be applied as an afterthought and new technology adoption cannot be slowed due to security concerns.

Business leaders must understand the sophistication of security breaches, potentially costing millions of dollars per incident, and understand the importance of strategic security intelligence. By putting thoughtful and strategic security strategies in place, organizations are not only better prepared to implement exciting new technologies, but also better maximize current innovations already being used, which in turn will lead to new business opportunities and competitive advantages.

To address security concerns, future IT security and business leaders need a broader range of skills than ever before. Business students need some exposure to IT security issues so that they have a better understanding of how it impacts the bottom line as they become leaders and decision makers.

On the flip side, IT students need exposure to business concepts so that they can better communicate as IT professionals and work strategically and effectively with business leaders. It is also important that IT students are trained on security issues surrounding the latest technology trends, which may require universities to adapt their curriculums and update them regularly.

Here in the University of South   Carolina’s Integrated Information Technology Department, our curriculum has a mix of business and IT courses to better prepare students. Our program approach is meant to help future IT professionals and managers understand both IT and business. Through an academic partnership with IBM, students and faculty have access to many resources including IBM’s threat intelligence research; we use the X-Force Trend and Risk Report to lay a solid foundation of cyber security skills for students by teaching the latest technology to combat emerging threats. Students also get exposure to the latest IBM security products, such as Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices and Security AppScan for creating secure software applications. As a result of the academic partnership and hands-on experience we provide, students are able to take what they learn in the classroom and make it a reality, with many being recruited and landing promising careers at companies like IBM, Boeing, Blue Cross Blue Shield, International Paper, among others.

For more information about University of South Carolina’s Integrated Information Technology department please visit:

Dr. Mark A. Harris is an assistant professor in the Integrated Information Technology program at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.  He has a Ph.D. in Information Systems from VirginiaCommonwealthUniversity, a MS in E-commerce and a B.S. in Information Technology from OldDominionUniversity. His research interests include security policy management, awareness training, human factors of security, health IT security, and mobile device security.  He has authored multiple papers in well-respected refereed information systems journals and conferences. Before academia, Mark was a senior network engineer for a large university, where he oversaw an expansive computer network.

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