Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New study promotes creation of professional association to address cybersecurity workforce shortfall


July 28, 2014 | By Dibya Sarkar FierceGovernmentIT

A new study calls for the creation of a professional association to address the shortage of highly trained cybersecurity experts who can deal with cyber hackers, thefts, attacks and disruptions, and vulnerabilities.

"The dearth of advanced cybersecurity professionals can be felt across all sectors, from the federal government to the private sector, with potential negative consequences for national security, economic vitality, as well as public health and safety," wrote co-authors Francesca Spidalieri and Sean Kern in the report released July 28 by the Pell Center at Salve Regina University, which is located in Newport, R.I.

Spidalieri is the Cyber Leadership Fellow at the Pell Center while Kern is a U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel and cyberspace operations officer.

The authors said there's a widening gap between the supply and demand of such qualified professionals. Plus, the labor market is marred by a "fog of competing requirements, disjointed development programs, conflicting definitions of security roles and functions, and highly fragmented, competing, and often confusing professional certifications."

A national, independent professional body in cybersecurity, the report said, could help "solidify the field as a profession" similar to the American Medical Association.

It would enhance the image of members through education, development of core curriculum standards, leadership training, networking and outreach. It could also help the federal government establish minimum IT and cybersecurity core curriculum standards and requirements for all educational institutions.

Since there's no single organization that has the credibility to do that now, an alliance of existing professional associations could be a starting point toward establishing that national body.

The report also provides several more recommendations that dive deeper into the education, training, licensing requirements and ethics of cybersecurity professionals.

"We do not consider this study as providing a final solution to the shortage of an advanced cybersecurity workforce, and we recognize that the professionalization process would unfold over the course of several years and would involve many different stakeholders," Kern said in a press release. But he added that they hoped the study would catalyze and unify this complex field.

1 comment:

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