Cybersecurity Coalition Aims at Shortage of One Million InfoSec Professionals

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In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the ISSA invited more than a dozen leading organizations in the field of cybersecurity to begin work toward establishing a universal framework for resolving the shortfall of qualified people in the cybersecurity profession.

ISSA

This gap in demand of nearly one million professionals must be addressed by the industry as a whole.

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) exercised its industry neutrality to invite more than a dozen leading organizations in the field of cybersecurity to convene April 20th in San Francisco at RSA Conference 2015. The immediate purpose was to begin work toward establishing a universal framework for resolving the shortfall of qualified people in the cybersecurity profession.

Some contributing factors to this shortfall that were initially identified as a group:

  • The disconnect between what businesses asks for versus what it actually needs in regards to skills and staffing
  • The need for common definition of job descriptions and job responsibilities
  • Recognizing the U.S. versus global differences in job definitions and staffing
  • The need for all groups within the profession to collaborate to define the profession

Among the groups attending were the (ISC)2, Center for Internet Security U.S. Cyber Challenge, Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education, CompTIA, National Cybersecurity Institute - Excelsior College, Global Information Assurance Certification, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), ISACA, ISSA Education Foundation, National Cybersecurity Institute, Purdue University - Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS), and the SANS Institute.

“With more than 400,000 members in 160 countries, IEEE and its members are major stakeholders in this issue,” said Chair of the IEEE Cybersecurity Initiative, Dr. Greg Shannon. “We are all facing the same challenges in efficiently creating a cybersecurity-capable workforce. The more we collaborate as a community, the more efficiently we can create broad solutions, the better we can thwart cyber threats.”

“The international cybersecurity community is looking for solutions to pressing cybersecurity issues. It’s important that we listen to all voices in the industry from certifications to professional organizations and education. The importance of public-private partnerships would serve everyone greatly in order to attain a new level of cooperation to help define the profession,” said former Cybersecurity Advisor for both President Bush and President Obama, Howard Schmidt.

“Over the last few decades, many groups have attempted to define the profession, resulting in curricula, certification standards, and lists of skills that only partially intersect. This meeting was important because it brought together leading organizations - for-profit and non-profit, educational, professional, certifying bodies, and government - to discuss how to jointly address this pressing global need. A broad, inclusive view is the best way to build a roadmap that we can all support, so this is an important first step,” said Executive Director for Purdue University, Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, Professor Gene Spafford.

“ISSA saw this coming several years ago and in response began developing the new Cybersecurity Career Lifecycle program,” said Chief Architect of ISSA’s Cybersecurity Career Lifecycle (CSCL) program, Candy Alexander. “Even still, this gap in demand of nearly one million professionals must be addressed by the industry as a whole,” she added.

“We are pleased that so many have recognized the benefit of working together to address this serious and import challenge for the profession. We now look forward to the next meeting and next steps,” ISSA Executive Director Dick Blatt said. “We intend to deliver tangible progress.”

ISSA is the community of choice for 11,000 cybersecurity professionals in 150 chapters and nearly 70 countries globally.

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Leslie Kesselring
Kesselring Communications
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