The Global Cyber Security Crisis

A National Crisis

The global shortage of cyber security professionals is a national crisis. According to a recent survey conducted by (ISC)², “60% say their companies are at moderate or extreme risk of cybersecurity attacks due to this shortage.” The global need for cyber security professionals can be attributed to the rise of cybercrime. In 2017, the WannaCry ransomware affected over 143 countries and caused over 4 billion dollars in fiscal losses. Businesses fall victim to ransomware attacks like WannaCry every 14 seconds. As cybercrime grows rampant, organizations are faced with a shortage of personnel to remedy internal security concerns.
By the end of 2021, the global financial impact of cyber crimes will reach over 6 trillion dollars annually. An economic burden, the magnitude of cyber crimes can also have kinetic effects. To elaborate, in 2015, Ukraine witnessed a cyber-attack that resulted in loss of power to over 225,000 of its citizens. Businesses that rely on electrical power, such as transportation systems and hospitals, are the crux of concern of the kinetic effects of a cyber-attack. Cyber security is a growing area of concern due to its economic, social, and environmental impact.

Diversity in Cybersecurity

There is currently a global surplus of over two million cyber security roles. This global need can be attributed to the shortage of women, minorities, and millennials currently working in cyber security roles. Today, women account for less than 11% of the global cyber security workforce. According to Priscilla Moriuchi, Director of Strategic Threat Development at Recorded Future, “The demand for capable, knowledgeable, hard-working security professionals is so high and the threat to innocent people and critical networks so broad that both women and men can have impactful, rewarding careers in this field.” Closing the gender gap within the cyber security workforce will increase the defenses of businesses that possess our private information.
Another underrepresented demographic in the cyber security workforce is African Americans. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, only 3% of information security analyst roles are filled by African Americans. Raising social awareness of the current cybersecurity workforce shortage to minorities will provide career opportunities to millions of African Americans in the future.
According to Forbes, only 7% of the cyber security workforce is comprised of workers under the age of 29. Wesley Simpson, Chief Operations Officer of (ISC)² states “Over the next 10 years, we will have a large population of cyber professionals starting to retire,” Simpson said. “We don’t have a good plan to backfill those large number of folks starting to leave the industry.” In order to address the growing demand for cyber security professionals, businesses should tailor their recruiting efforts to attract millennials.

Cybersecurity Education

Cyber security roles can be both exciting and fulfilling, but as the demand for cyber professionals increase, businesses are unable to find talented individuals to fill these positions. A prime factor to this issue is the lack of cyber security education previously available. Organizations such as the University of San Diego are leveraging technology to provide online cyber security bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Scholastic programs that pertain to cyber security have increased within the United States, with millions of dollars in grants and scholarships also available. The flexibility of online education allows students to continue full-time employment while gaining cyber security proficiency. While these institutions may provide formal education to those with the desire to enter the cyber security workforce, most fail to address a key concern.
Roughly 70% of available cyber security roles require a technical certification. Unlike a diploma, most IT-security certifications require each successful candidate to submit a specified number of continuing education units annually. Given the progressive landscape of modern technology, certifications ensure that cyber security professions are kept abreast on emerging technologies and the threats that each encompass. Certifications also benefit industries that seek competent individuals in a particular subject area. Another key benefit of seeking certified professionals is the adherence to the designating official’s code of professional ethics. An individual’s compliance to ethical standards benefits employers seeking cyber security candidates required for sensitive environments.
Universities that provide only a diploma to its graduates hinder one’s ability to help with this global crisis. Private institutions that provide in-person training in cyber security topics are inaccessible to those in remote areas. Additionally, these training sessions are too expensive for most individuals and do not provide flexibility for learners. To combat this issue, we must not only raise awareness, but we must also provide effective cyber security training to the public.

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About the Author

Victor Nzeata is the Chief Executive Officer of Cyber Brain Academy and has held previous roles such as electrical engineer, software engineer, cyber threat emulation lead, and information systems security manager. In 2016, he became the US Army Reserve’s first graduate from the US Army Cyber School of Excellence and is the first Army Cyber Operations Officer with experience leading electronic warfare missions and combined arms operations in the United States, Asia and the Middle East. Victor is also an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego, where teaches Secure Systems Architecture to its graduate-level students.

Victor received a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering technology from Purdue University, a master’s degree in cyber security operations and leadership from the University of San Diego and is a Ph.D. candidate in information security. Victor holds active CompTIA Security+, Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Information Systems Professional, Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer, and Navy Qualified Validator Lvl 3 certifications.

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