With an estimated 12 billion computers and devices at work and more than 2 billion people tapped into cyberspace, the challenge of safeguarding systems is enormous. The cause and effect of even small infections could lead to insurmountable problems.
The multitude of systems that cyberspace encompasses is hard to grasp when you factor in global position systems, mobile phones, satellites, data routers, desktop computers, desktop computers, utilities such as water systems, power plants – the list goes on. Ensuring the security of every platform seems like a daunting task, particularly when considering the majority of the nation’s cyber infrastructure is privately owned. Should a network become infected, the effect on national security and the economic structure could be costly.
However, the growing concern over our nation’s cybersecurity creates an opportunity through cyber education. In other words, this provides the ability for the government to build an intelligent workforce to counter – and stay ahead of – the potential threat of cyber insurgency.
Despite the current budget constraints within our government, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is spearheading an effort to build a world-class cybersecurity team. Their goal is to recruit from within the federal government in order to create a team of top-level cybersecurity professionals. When the Homeland Security advisory council task force on cyberskills announced this last October, the intention was clear – the DHS wants to make our nation safer, more secure and resilient against any cyber threat.
In addition to building a talent pool of cybersecurity professionals through various academic institutions and key partners, the DHS created standards of performance by instituting a certification system. Students who complete their studies in cybersecurity programs across the country are then eligible to begin a six-month residency program at a critical sector organization, such as the DHS.
The DHS is also encouraging veterans who have served our country to continue their career paths in this field as part of the national, large-scale veteran job programs.
The program doesn’t stop there. The DHS is encouraging its existing cybersecurity workforce to continue their training and development through the cyber surge capacity force, a readily available private sector team of professionals that will support the mission should a critical issue arise against our nation’s security where rapid response is needed.