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The United States faces an urgent anti-piracy crisis

The Biden administration is ramping up efforts to fill nearly 600,000 cybersecurity vacancies in the public and private sectors, bogging down efforts to protect digital infrastructure.

why is it important: Following a deluge of ransomware attacks targeting critical government and enterprise infrastructure this year, bottlenecks in the talent pool are making cash-strapped federal, local governments and large corporations even more vulnerable to hacking.

  • The issue has surfaced several times in Senate and House hearings, but has received little public attention until recently.

What we are looking at: Private companies like GuidePoint Security are trying one way to fill the void: training veterans leaving the military for careers in cybersecurity.

  • “It takes far too long to get people into the federal government,” Jen Easterly, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, told the House Committee on Homeland Security this month.
  • She said there is a need to consider those with the appropriate technical skills and attitude, but who may lack traditional training or years of formal industry experience.
  • Women hold just 20% of all cybersecurity jobs, and only 3% of the federal government’s IT workforce is under 30.

Government, non-profit and private entities are also partnering with community colleges and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to broaden the network across a range of socioeconomic and academic backgrounds.

  • Microsoft, for example, participated by offering a free cybersecurity program to every public community college.
  • A non-profit organization, Public Infrastructure Security Cyber ​​Education Systems, is giving university students hands-on experience: monitoring real-time data on local government networks.
  • “The only way I was able to find and identify talent was to find someone who I thought had the talent and the raw criteria, and train them in the technical skills,” said Simone Petrella, Director General of Training and Workforce Development. CyberVista company.

Drive the news: A Commerce Department-funded jobs tracking database shows there are nearly 600,000 cyberspace job openings in the United States.

  • The Department of Homeland Security recently launched a federal recruiting tool aimed at wooing diverse young talent.
  • DHS currently has approximately 1,500 vacancies related to cybersecurity, which affects the agency’s efforts to protect the homeland.
  • A Senate audit found that major federal government agencies still fail to meet basic cybersecurity standards, with eight of them earning a C- in the report.

Be smart: Historically, local and federal government entities have struggled to compete with companies in the private sector, where bidding wars for talent are rife.

  • Government employees may also face unique backgrounds, ethics, and cooling-off periods that pose additional challenges for recruiters.
  • “On a local level, it’s difficult for a lot of these local agencies to hire because the salary requirements aren’t there,” said Sam Olyaei, director of Gartner Research.
  • “People know that if they’re working for a local agency, they’re going to have to do everything. ‘I’m going to be the analyst. I’m going to be the engineer. I’m going to be the leader.’ And that’s not always appealing .”

What they say : “We’re playing a game of chicken,” said CyberVista chief Petrella.

  • She sought out people with a background in music and accounting to help fill the void.
  • “You have people coming out of school saying, ‘Nobody’s going to interview me because I don’t have enough experience,'” Petrella said. “And [employers] say, ‘I have no talent.'”

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