According to a 2017 study, 3.5 million cyber security positions are estimated to go unfilled by 2021.
As the cyber industry convened in Washington, D.C. this week for the 2nd Annual DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Summit, one of the main topics of attention was solving the government’s cyber workforce skills gap as a way to tackle the problem of crippling cyber attacks in the country.
While speaking on the main stage, FireEye President Travis Reese pressed on the critical need for the government to counter the continued assault on the U.S. government from foreign threat actors and hostile nation states by working together and using the country’s strength and resources to solve the growing problem.
"This is a problem we can solve as a country," Reese said to audience members. "We have incredible people out there and if we use our resources wisely and find a way to leverage our amazing assets as a country, we will be able to dominate this problem."
Highlighting this urgent need, CISA used the summit to announce the launch of the government’s plan to help alleviate the cybersecurity skills gap through the President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition. Federal employees will compete in a series of increasingly difficult contests showcasing their cybersecurity skills.
"Strengthening our federal cybersecurity workforce is key," CISA Director Christopher Krebs said in the announcement at the summit. "This competition is designed to be a unique and fun way to engage and reward existing talent, while also encouraging others to get involved and join in this critical mission."
FireEye has long made addressing and solving the cybersecurity workforce skills gap a priority by encouraging the collaboration of ideas through webinars and online material, and continuing to invest in training and development programs for its employees and customers. FireEye also recently launched the Security Analyst and Investigator Training Program to help organizations train staff to handle the nation’s growing and demanding cybersecurity needs.
In a recent FireEye webinar on this subject, FireEye executives discussed ways to tackle the problem with Vasu Jakkal, FireEye EVP & CMO.
"We have to nurture the next generation," Jakkal said. "We need to encourage more people of diverse backgrounds so that there is cognitive diversity in the cybersecurity field."
A few other ways FireEye is tackling the skills gap is through mentoring programs, education and training. FireEye Ignite is designed to cultivate and encourage young people to get into the cybersecurity industry. In the educational field, FireEye partners with universities to give these institutions the tools they need to educate and encourage young minds in this field. FireEye also offers cybersecurity training courses online through FireEye Education Services to enhance organizations’ operational skills and improve their ability to prevent, detect and respond to cyber attacks.
For more information and ideas to close the skills gap, be sure to catch our upcoming webinar on How to Resolve the Cyber Skills Gap, which will be available online on Sept. 30, 2019.