Fractional CISO Announces First Winner of the vCISO Cybersecurity Scholarship

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Fractional CISO announces the first winner of two $500 scholarships for full-time cybersecurity students. The submission deadline for the second award is December 31, 2020.

We need capable colleagues committed to learning and applying cybersecurity and science and technology to protect our critical assets, make our nation safer, more productive, and our economy more secure.

The world gets a little more digital every day, opening more and more cyber vulnerabilities for bad guys to exploit. It’s time to train more good guys to beef up the cybersecurity defenses of individuals and organizations alike.

To that end, Fractional CISO is pleased to announce the vCISO Cybersecurity Scholarship. This scholarship will support and encourage the development of the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.

Fractional CISO’s vCISO Cybersecurity Scholarship makes $1,000 in annual scholarships available to all currently enrolled students pursuing cybersecurity degrees full-time.

To qualify, students must be at least 18 years old and studying cybersecurity as their major or postgraduate area of focus at any accredited undergraduate or graduate institution within the United States.

The success of these students is critical in meeting the rising tide of cyber crime. In 2019, The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received an average of over 1,200 incident reports per day, totaling billions of dollars in losses.

“We need many more cybersecurity professionals” said Rob Black, CISSP, managing principal and founder of Fractional CISO. “The skills gap in cybersecurity is a pressing concern for all of society. Through our scholarship fund, we hope to assist students in their cybersecurity study.”

Cybersecurity is a fast growing field with great career prospects for college graduates. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of Information Security Analyst positions will grow 31% from 2019 to 2029 - and that’s only one position in the industry. There is also a quickly growing demand for security developers, network engineers, staff trainers, and governance, risk, and compliance specialists.

Professor Massoud Amin, IEEE and ASME fellow, professor of electrical & computer engineering (ECE), and a university distinguished teaching professor at the University of Minnesota, sees cybersecurity as an important educational field. “The threats to our critical infrastructure are on the rise with evolving spectra of threats and more sophisticated adversaries. Here is the bottom line: The threats and risks are significant, and there is every reason to believe that they will continue to become more significant in the future,” said Amin, a pioneer in cyber physical security and Father of the Smart Grid.

“We need capable colleagues committed to learning and applying cybersecurity science and technology to protect our critical assets, make our nation safer, more productive, and our economy more secure. I applaud Mr. Rob Black and Fractional CISO for sponsoring this cybersecurity scholarship to recognize and support students learning required skills to enter the cybersecurity industry,” said Professor Amin.

To be considered for the scholarship, students must submit a personal essay about their cybersecurity journey.

The scholarship consists of two annual contests, the first of which was awarded recently. The submission deadline for the second 2020 contest is December 31, with the winner to be notified by February 15, 2021.

Brennan Iannone, the first recipient of the $500 scholarship, is a senior at Arizona State University majoring in cybersecurity. He is a lifelong learner who wants to take on the challenges of the cybersecurity industry.

“I want to help defend organizations and people from cyberattacks by protecting hardware, networks, servers, and data from potential breaches,” said Iannone. “I am interested in analyzing structural risks, engaging in ethical hacking to test for weaknesses, and researching cyberattacks on a high level to identify patterns and develop solutions. I want to keep the bad guys from taking information of innocent people and using it to ruin their names, credit, and lives.”

After graduating in spring 2021, Iannone hopes to take advantage of ASU’s 4+1 program to complete his Masters in Computer Science, with a focus on cybersecurity, in just five years total.

“This scholarship will help by lowering the costs of college and the number of hours I will need to work throughout my studies,” said Iannone. “It will allow me to continue my academic achievements and hopefully give me time to work an internship and apply for the master’s degree program I will need.”

A $500 scholarship will also be awarded to the winner of the second contest.

Fractional CISO employees, partners, clients and their families are not eligible for the vCISO Cybersecurity Scholarship.

Candidates may submit their application at

About Fractional CISO |

Fractional CISO provides Virtual CISOs to organizations, helping its customers reduce their cybersecurity risk. Fractional CISO’s Virtual CISOs establish and maintain clients’ cybersecurity programs, policies and procedures, manage technical staff, perform gap and risk assessments, and manage compliance.

For additional information on the vCISO Scholarship, visit

For additional information on Fractional CISO’s vCISO program, visit

For additional information about Professor Massoud Amin, Father of the Smart Grid, visit

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