By John Welton
Some say the biggest threat to security today is the talent gap. Although that may not be necessarily true, talent remains a concern for organizations of all sizes around the globe. Fortinet’s Stephan Tallent shares some perspective:
Q: Can you give us a glimpse into how the security talent shortage is affecting and influencing the future of cybersecurity industry? Finding the right talent is an issue in every industry, so why is it especially critical in cybersecurity?
ANSWER: The bad guys are capitalizing on greater resources, and a multiple billion-dollar industry to attack poorly defended businesses and infrastructure. When businesses can’t find people with cyber security experience, they make easy targets because they simply don’t have the right solutions, policies, or procedures in place. Many of these are businesses that are chartered with protecting OUR personal and financial information. Their being compromised can impact anybody that uses a credit card, bank account, or that has a social security number or social media account. And this doesn’t take into account the risk of cyberattacks on those critical components that manage the very fabric of our society. Research shows that our critical infrastructure is poorly defended, meaning the risk to SCADA systems that run our water, power, communications, transportation, medical services, and emergency responses are highly vulnerable and under defended. From a military perspective, a state of cyber warfare is also ongoing, with state-sponsored cybercriminal organizations attacking and infiltrating national defense systems and stealing defense project intellectual property.
Q: You have said that early training is key. Why is it critically important to engage students at the University level to help address the talent gap in cybersecurity?
ANSWER: We should actually be starting earlier than that by developing programs for elementary and high school, but for near-term benefits, Universities are a timely starting point. University graduates today face a real shortage of jobs, and are frustrated by the job market they are inheriting. Meanwhile, the cybersecurity industry has a near 0% unemployment rate. Without increased awareness among the universities and students about the career potential within cybersecurity, we will not be able to fill the critical roles of cyberdefenders.
Q: How is Fortinet addressing this challenge beyond just offering curriculum?
ANSWER: We have successfully launched a two-pronged global awareness campaign that links our Security Academy technical training and launch efforts at Global Universities to our Fortinet Veterans program. This allows us to capitalize on the natural synergies that exist between military service and cybersecurity, and leverage the labor pool represented by thousands of transitioning veterans. By combining these two vectors – specialized training and a skilled labor pool – Fortinet is helping organizations capture the most immediate and viable potential returns on staffing their cyberdefense teams.
Q: How is Fortinet working beyond the private sector with veterans to support the public sector?
ANSWER: Fortinet conducts quarterly cybersecurity career industry presentations on military bases and at military industry events. Tight coordination with Department of Labor Transitional Authorities within each branch of service also allows us to make transitioning veterans aware of the career potential of cybersecurity.
Q: With talent becoming a global issue, how is Fortinet addressing the issue outside of the USA?
ANSWER: We are expanding our successful Security Academy and Veterans program here in the US to the global market. We are currently making efforts worldwide to accelerate this combined strategy of reaching both universities and military veteran communities around the world.