No matter what business you’re in, if you use e-mail, operate a payroll system, store information digitally or communicate with customers via the internet, you can be hacked by cybercriminals, says Kai Degner, Director of Professional Development with James Madison University Outreach & Engagement.

Owners and managers of small businesses without dedicated IT departments may not know where to begin to secure their communications and information, while managers at larger companies who don’t have a technical background often lack enough information or knowledge to make good decisions about mitigating risk, choosing reliable vendors, or identifying their company’s individual vulnerabilities.

On February 4, JMU will launch its first Cybersecurity Basics course specifically designed for managers. The 20-hour non-credit certificate program will be offered in a combined format featuring two full-day in-person sessions - one at the Roanoke Higher Education Center, and the other at JMU’s Ice House facility in Harrisionburg - and two morning online sessions. A 10 percent tuition discount is available through January 25, and a second member of a participating organization can enroll at a reduced price to encourage team participation.

Topics to be covered include: identifying and understanding potential attackers; balancing the level of security needed against the cost; understanding technical jargon and laws relating to cybersecurity; what to do if your data is compromised; and how to teach employees safe online practices. Information on finding additional resources also will be discussed. Registration is at jmu.edu/outreach/cyberbasics by January 25.

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