On February 16, the NTSC hosted its Southeast Region CISO Policy Conference at the Buckhead Club in Atlanta. This was the first regional roundtable the coalition has hosted since February of 2020, and I think all of us were excited to finally come together to discuss issues that matter to the cyber community. Our second session was hosted by Dr. Joye Purser, the CISA Regional Director for Region 4, which is comprised of eight states across the southeast United States. Dr. Purser was joined by Cassandra Dacus, the Atlanta Chapter President for Cyversity, and Stan Gatewood, the Georgia Cybersecurity State Coordinator for CISA.
Dr. Purser and her guests focused on the cyber workforce, with a special emphasis on the challenges with diversity, both in terms of gender and ethnicity as well as the need for a holistic national policy around cyber education. Everyone knows the numbers, but as Dr. Purser pointed out, sometimes they get lost in the conversation around the lack of cyber talent as companies across the nation scramble to fill critical positions on the security team. The current shortage is further complicated by the fact that over 50 percent today’s cyber workforce is comprised of Baby Boomers and Generation X, which creates even more urgency as these men and women retire over the next five to seven years.
On a positive note, we learned that there are several initiatives underway to address the shortage including a massive undertaking by Microsoft Corporation, and hopefully these initiatives will incorporate the lessons learned over the past decade to ensure more inclusion as we recruit and train the next generation of cyber warriors.
Over 30 senior technology security executives participated attended the roundtable and participated in the discussions, both during the roundtable and at the reception and dinner that followed.
Our next regional roundtable will be held in New York City on May 18, 2022, and we look forward to continuing to engage senior technology security executives across the nation to ensure the NTSC is representing CISOs across the nation when we meet with congressional leaders to discuss cyber policy and legislation.