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  • Rebekah Mercer

The State of U.S. Cybersecurity (Part 3)

In this last part of our interview series, Dr. Gregory White, professor of Computer Science of UTSA and Director of UTSA’s Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS), informs us on his perspective of international cyber cooperation and also the future of cyber professionals in the U.S.

Interview Q&A:

Topic: Is International Cooperation an Asset to U.S. Cybersecurity?

Q1​. Do you believe international cooperation, for example, U.S. cyber companies teaming up with cyber firms in other countries such as Israel, is essential, if not, very helpful in order for the best cyber weapons to be developed and for the cyber war to be better confronted?

Dr. White: No one nation is a fount of all knowledge in computer science or security. It behooves us to work together to address the threats that are common to all of us (e.g. terrorism, organized crime). Allies in particular should work together to then also address common potential threats from other nation states.

The Importance of Cybersecurity in the Workforce

Q2. A recent article in the San Antonio Business Journal, explains that in the manufacturing industry, threats in the nature of cyber security have been increasing over the past few years. Such threats not only create a barrier in a company’s success through the loss of productivity, but perhaps a greater loss resulting from cyber breaches is in the area of intellectual property (IP). The article also included a report by Deloitte Tax LLP, demonstrating that 29% of manufacturing firms find the lack of adequate competency among cyber security professionals to be a barrier. Based on your experience as a professor in computer science, do you have hope that there will be a growth in the number of cyber security professionals over the next few years to meet the demand for such cyber security solutions?​

Dr. White: There are a number of efforts within the U.S. and elsewhere to increase the “pipeline of security professionals”. There are also a number of studies that report the number of needed professionals in the future with numbers ranging from the hundreds of thousands to millions. I have no idea what the correct number of needed professionals is or will be, but I know we are not producing enough right now to meet the need. This is one reason I return to what I refer to as the need to establish a “culture of security” within the nation. It is not enough to produce a workforce of cyber security professionals, we need a workforce that is cyber security aware/trained. This is especially true when discussing small and medium sized businesses who may never have enough revenue to justify hiring a security professional. They need individuals who understand the importance of cyber security – workers who are all aware of what their individual responsibilities are in terms of cyber security. This would go a long way towards securing our computer systems and networks.

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