The Cyber Security Workforce of the Future

Posted by Rob Riggins

Highlights from #AFCEA Answers, hosted by Max Cacas. Guests Dr. Ron Ross from ‪#‎NIST; Pat Delaney from University of Maryland University College; and Chris May, with Carnegie Mellon University CERT Program. The program airs at 2:05pm on Federal News Radio 1500 AM in the D.C. area. Listen online, keyword AFCEA. 

Scope of the cyber security workforce problem

The challenges we face in cyber security are enormous as there is so much at stake. We must have the best and the brightest working to help solve difficult and challenging problems. We’re short of skilled folks at the federal level, but also in private industry because they are both competing for the same set of scarce resources.

Cyber security is not just teaching people how to configure firewalls or to patch systems. It’s mathematics and engineering. We need a skilled workforce to build more resilient information systems – systems that can withstand very sophisticated cyber attacks. You build better hardware, software and firmware with good engineering practices. That’s where the big shortages are today.

What is a cyber security job

A cyber security job is defending and protecting data, network, and systems so there isn’t significant loss to customer confidence or to general well being of an organization. That can range from highly specialized incident responders who are there to be the swat team when a security event happens, to public affairs and legal folks who may be involved in managing the aftermath of a security event.

Cyber security degrees and certificates at UMUC

About 3 years ago UMUC heard from many employers that the supply of cyber security professionals was not meeting the demand. UMUC created an advisory board  to make sure the curriculum addressed the most important needs in the workforce.

The UMUC cyber security programs do not just focus on the technical level. Their goal is also to educate professionals that can think more broadly in decision making roles that affect the security of the organization overall. They have policy as well as technology tracks at the undergrad and grad level, with 6,000 of UMUC’s 90,000 students in cyber security programs.

Build it right to help the fight

Good software development and good system engineering aren’t directly related to cyber security, but they are critically important. Better, more secure software with fewer errors helps an organization’s cyber security. Every error that comes into the workplace could potentially be a vulnerability that has to be addressed. The fewer errors on the front end the better the organization’s defense against potential threats. That’s the development side of cyber security.

Army Revamps Cyber Security training.

In the past 6 months a new force structure from the Army’s U.S. Cyber Command was announced. New missions have emerging standards for the skills that soldiers assigned to these units must have.

The Army has been looking at innovative ways of improving its ability to speed up providing trained and ready cyber operators. They’re also looking at ways to do what has been difficult in the past – high-fidelity continuation training once a soldier has finished formal training at Fort Gordon.

Once soldiers get back to their units, how do they stay current? How do you achieve combat readiness? The Army is developing cyber exercises for units and teams to allow them to be in highly realistic scenarios where they can practice their tactics, techniques and procedures – a focus on continuing education and training.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 27, 2013 3:08 pm

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