Ryerson launches free cybersecurity e-course for SMBs

A new series of cybersecurity training modules for managers of small and medium-sized Canadian organizations launched today – and they’re free.

Logo for Ryerson Unversity's Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst

Called Simply Secure, the modules are offered by Ryerson University’s Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst.

It includes a handbook, cybersecurity toolkit and e-learning modules. The modules cover:

  • Cybersecurity risk
  • Common cybersecurity threats
  • Useful cybersecurity concepts
  • Cybersecurity frameworks and standards
  • Privacy and regulatory compliance
  • Cybersecurity incident management
  • Business continuity planning
  • Technical best practices
  • Building and evaluating a cybersecurity program
Screen shot of a slide shown for Ryerson University cybersecurity course
Source: Ryerson University.

Small business leaders can take these e-learning modules on their own time, and at their own pace, the university suggests, citing a 2019 study that estimates 47 per cent of cybersecurity attacks in Canada target small to medium-sized businesses.

“Cybersecurity is about more than minimizing risk,” Ryerson president and vice-chancellor Mohamed Lachemi said in a statement. “A secure business has a key competitive advantage that is necessary to thrive in today’s economy. At Ryerson University, we use innovation to solve challenges for businesses and communities alike. We are very pleased and proud of Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst’s Simply Secure initiative, which will provide key support for Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses during this critical time.”

Partners in the program include Scale-Up Institute Toronto, Toronto Region Board of Trade, Brampton Innovation District, RIC Centre and the Ryerson Venture Zone in Brampton.

The Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, located in Brampton, is Ryerson’s national centre for innovation and collaboration in cybersecurity. It delivers training, commercial acceleration programming, support for applied R&D, and public education and policy development.

During an online panel discussion this morning marking the opening of the program, an official of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB), which represents some 9,500 SMBs across the country, pointed to a recent survey by the CFIB detailing that small and medium-sized firms aren’t immune from attack.

One-quarter of respondents said they had experienced a cyberattack since the pandemic began in March 2020. Of that 25 per cent, five per cent said the attack was successful. Eighty per cent said the attack came through email, while half said it came through malicious software.

About one-third said their firm has invested in improved cybersecurity processes over the past 12 months. The CFIB official said that figure is remarkable considering only 60 per cent of SMBs are fully open.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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