Some might say the month of October is the official kickoff to the Holiday Season. There is one holiday this month which we are particularly passionate about (and it’s not Halloween).

This October marks the 15th annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) – an initiative to raise awareness around the importance of cybersecurity. Since its inception, NCSAM has grown exponentially, reaching consumers, small and medium-sized business, corporations, educational institutions and young people across the nation. While we’re of the firm belief that cybersecurity awareness should not be limited to just one month – it should be a daily mindset – we’re pleased to see the momentum its gained over the years.

As is tradition, each week during October focuses on a different theme within the broader cybersecurity realm to help bring more focus, address specific challenges and identify opportunities for behavioral change:

  • Week 1 (Oct. 1-5): Make Your Home a Haven for Online Safety
  • Week 2 (Oct. 8-12): Millions of Rewarding Jobs: Educating for a Career in Cybersecurity
  • Week 3 (Oct. 15-19): It’s Everyone’s Job to Ensure Online Safety at Work
  • Week 4 (Oct. 22-26): Safeguarding the Nation’s Critical Infrastructure

Next week’s theme is one that I would like to devote some attention to.

Futuristic digital wheel graphic

A key risk to our economy and security continues to be the shortage of cybersecurity professionals that can safeguard our ever-expanding cyber ecosystem. Raising the next generation of interested and capable cybersecurity professionals is ground zero for building stronger defenses.

The nonprofit group ISACA predicts that by 2019, there will be a global shortage of two million cybersecurity experts. That is a crisis of epic proportions, and few organizations or companies have any clue what to do about it. Too often, the lack of a talent pipeline is blamed on our education system which doesn’t do enough to prepare or excite students for a future in cybersecurity. As a result, the limited pool of top cyber talent is often poached by the highest bidder with no replacement in the wings. If organizations can’t attract top cyber talent, the skills shortage is blamed for lax security standards.

The good news is each year we are seeing more and more colleges and universities offering certificates and degrees in cybersecurity. And, with holidays like Cybersecurity Awareness Month, more and more potential employees are learning the importance of the field as well as everyday security hygiene.

Please feel free to leave me a comment below. You can also find me at @CindyProvin