What you'll learn

  • Articulate the role of cyber risk management within an organization
  • Investigate the threats to an organization's critical business systems and data
  • Assess the vulnerabilities of an organization's critical business systems, networks, and data
  • Recommend a cybersecurity leadership plan
  • Deduce types of questions necessary to determine the technologies implemented in an organization’s cybersecurity
  • Distinguish the legal and compliance risks for an organization or sector

Course description

News of large-scale cybersecurity threats and cyberattacks dominate the headlines all too often in today’s Information Age: hackers exploiting vulnerabilities of a retail giant, foreign influence in elections, and new forms of ransomware underscore the importance of preparing for these types of emerging threats.

As a result, cyber risk management has become a fundamental component of business operations, and understanding and mitigating risk has become an essential skill for business leaders, thought leaders, analysts, as well as security and technology specialists.

Harvard VPAL's Cybersecurity: Managing Risk in the Information Age is an online short course that equips students with a comprehensive understanding of how to identify and manage operational risk, litigation risk and reputational risk. The course will help students assess and mitigate specific vulnerabilities within an organization’s networks, systems, and data in order to provide the knowledge and skills to protect the integrity, security, and confidentiality of their digital assets.

Course outline

  • Cybersecurity risk is business risk
  • Identifying the threats to an organization
  • Identifying important business systems and assets
  • The crucial role of leadership in managing cyber risk
  • Understanding your technology
  • Cyber risk and the law
  • Incident response and accountability
  • Designing and implementing a mitigation strategy


  • Co-Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Associated Schools

  • Harvard Kennedy School

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