BALTIMORE, MD (September 23, 2014) — Dr. Jane LeClair, COO of Excelsior College's National Cybersecurity Institute, spoke in Baltimore today. She discussed the challenges of developing a capable cybersecurity workforce able to meet the growing demand for quality cyber professionals.
LeClair began by citing the terrorist attacks of 9/11 as a "wake-up call" for security generally. With the sudden and growing realization that the world remained dangerous even as the superpower conflict of the Cold War faded into history, people began to understand that we live in a connected world, and that cybersecurity would be an inescapable challenge.
She argued that we're seeing at least five trends with significant implications for cybersecurity. Malware is growing increasingly sophisticated and increasingly targeted. The Internet-of-things is opening up a vast array of potential attack points. Growing adoption of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies by enterprises is opening network access. The black market for stolen data is showing both globalization and professionalization. And we're seeing more website hijacking, particularly in the form of drive-by infections and defacements.
LeClair sees the proper response to these issues as beginning with understanding that cybersecurity is a people problem. The domains of people, technology, and process need to be integrated. Since it's a people problem, cybersecurity requires a numerous, qualified workforce of cyber practitioners and managers.
She outlined four needs for developing that workforce. First, we need greater consistency in classifying cyber workers. Second, we need to identify and quantify the individuals filling cyber jobs. Third, we need to make explicit the specific demand for cyber workers. And finally, we need to increase collaboration among government, academia, and industry.
Dr. LeClair wound up her talk with some observations on the near future of cyber education. It's increasingly moving online, toward specialization, and toward standardized courses and qualifications.
Dr. Jane LeClair is currently the Chief Operating Officer of the National Cybersecurity Institute (NCI) at Excelsior College in Washington, D.C., whose mission is to serve as an academic and research center dedicated to increasing the knowledge of the cybersecurity discipline. Before assuming leadership of the NCI, Dr. LeClair served as Dean of the School of Business and Technology at Excelsior College in Albany, New York. Before joining Excelsior College, Dr. LeClair worked in both education and the commercial nuclear power industry. She has been actively involved in a variety of professional organizations, and is an advocate for attracting and retaining more women in the technology fields. Her new book Protecting Our Future: Educating a Cybersecurity Workforce, was published in December 2013.
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