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Cybersecurity Thought Leaders Converge to Forge National Workforce Strategy

CyberNB CyberSecurity workshop

There are currently one million vacant cybersecurity jobs across the globe. By 2019 that number is expected to rise to 1.5 million. This is a significant issue that industry, academia, and government want/need to address now. As we know, this is not something that can be remedied overnight.

To open a dialogue on this subject, CyberSmart 2017 is being held May 24 and 25 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, to bring together industry, academia, and governments from across Canada and the United States.

The challenge and the opportunity that we face is by no means small. However, as a collective we can accomplish far more than any single entity or person,” notes John Kershaw, Director of CyberSmart and Summit Co-Chair. “While cybersecurity is rooted in the IT domain, the sector is truly multi-disciplinary in nature. Our strategy, therefore, must be multi-disciplinary by design and integrate disciplines such as law, criminology, engineering, business, psychology, sociology, and education.”

CyberSmart 2017 is two full days of thought leaders sharing their experiences, knowledge, and ideas. Day one is filled with keynote presentations and networking. Keynotes will be delivered by:

  • Fred Kaplan – Best-Selling author of Dark Territory
  • Rodney Petersen – Director of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE)
  • Peter Henschel – Deputy Commissioner, RCMP, Specialized Policing Services
  • Namir Anani – President & CEO, Information & Communications Technology Council

The idea is to hear from these thought leaders and other featured speakers and learn about the current environment – its challenges and its opportunities.

Day two is about taking the information from the previous day, adding what each delegate has to offer, and bringing it to a discussion point within four panels:

  1. Canada’s Cyber R&D Agenda, led by Dr. Ali Ghorbani, Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity;
  2. Canada’s Digital Literacy Agenda, led by Chris Treadwell of EECD & Sandra Saric, ICTC;
  3. Canada’s Cybersecurity Workforce Training Requirements – Industry & Customer Perspective, led by Darryl Esau, Bulletproof; and
  4. Canada’s Financial Security Agenda, led by Stephen Lund, CEO of Opportunities NB

As co-chair, I believe that collaboration is the first step in developing any strategy. In addition to my role with CyberNB I am also a writer, researcher, and professor. I know first-hand the interest there is in developing skills for the workforce. As professionals, we need to better tell the story of the opportunities that exist both now and in the future for people interested in cybersecurity roles. As John notes and strongly believes, there are many roles directly tied to cybersecurity. We need to think about and plan for this now.

As our digital economy evolves and changes, so must our other professions. We cannot neglect the need for new skills among teachers, lawyers, psychologists, sociologists, marketers, researchers, and more. As cybersecurity professionals say, cybersecurity principles need to be baked in from the beginning. CyberSmart 2017 is the start of that process.