Mission Critical: Closing the Cybersecurity Workforce Gap E34
Did you know that the global cybersecurity workforce gap is roughly 3.4 million people? This means that the supply of skilled cybersecurity workers needed to protect businesses from cyber threats has struggled to keep up with growing demand.
The January 2023 episode of the Arizona Technology Council’s AZTechCast podcast featured experts including Dara Gibson, AZ president of WiCyS Phoenix and senior manager at Optiv; Susan Morris, co-owner of ABL Cyber Academy and Cogent Cyber Range; and Andrew Roberts, chief cybersecurity strategist at cStor, A MicroAge Company. These leaders joined Steve Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, and Bianca Buliga, the Council’s director of marketing and communications, in discussing how Arizona can more effectively close the gap and connect with skilled cybersecurity talent.
Throughout this hour-long episode, the panel of three experts discussed how they became interested in cybersecurity careers, the current global state of cybersecurity, the top cyber threats to watch out for and how businesses are more closely integrating cybersecurity within their business operations to protect themselves, their employees and their clients. On multiple occasions, the experts emphasized the growing disparity between open cybersecurity positions and the pool of skilled talent, and highlighted that people don’t need to be cybersecurity experts to land careers in the growing field.
The mission of WiCyS (pronounced We Sis) is to help build a strong gender-diverse cybersecurity workforce by facilitating recruitment, retention and advancement for women in the field.
WiCyS is a global community of women, allies and advocates, that are dedicated to bringing talented women together to celebrate and foster their passion and drive for cybersecurity.
The organization unites local communities of aspiring and thriving women cybersecurity professionals across the world to collaborate, share their knowledge, network and mentor.
Optiv is the cyber advisory and solutions leader in the United States. It is critical for any organization to achieve its full potential, cyber risk must be understood and overcome. Optiv cybersecurity experts will work alongside clients to manage cyber risk and equip them with perspectives and programs to accelerate business progress.
Real-world experience, deep vertical expertise and diverse teams enables the subject matter experts to face any challenge with confidence. Optiv will put the organizations at the center of our unmatched ecosystem of people, products, partners and programs to design and implement agile solutions. The adaptive approach continually assesses risk in the context of cyber and broader objectives to secure today’s business and fortify it for the future.
Optiv professionals manage cyber risk so all businesses can secure the full potential.
Dara Gibson has developed and managed cybersecurity services for 5 years. By blending cutting-edge technologies, unique skill sets, and proven cyber strategies, she can create lasting partnerships with clients to protect shareholder value and corporate reputations.
As a nationally recognized information security leader, Mrs. Gibson is responsible for designing cybersecurity awareness programs to foster expertise in relationship management with industry leading cyber insurance and legal providers for proactive and reactive cybersecurity capabilities.
Connect with Dara on LinkedIn.
cStor helps organizations strategize, design and implement cybersecurity, modern infrastructure, and digital transformation solutions and services that address the evolving needs of today’s enterprise. cStor’s proven capabilities with best-in-class technologies provide peace of mind and put organizations on a path to success.
cStor serves clients throughout the Southwest with a focused, collaborative approach and superior results.
As the Chief Cybersecurity Strategist for cStor, Andrew Roberts partners with clients to help them achieve great accomplishments in their cybersecurity, governance, risk and compliance programs.
He is building a successful cybersecurity practice by focusing on client success, sales enablement and partner alignment.
Andrew brings a wealth of experience in audit, advisory and cybersecurity leadership and freely shares that knowledge to help put clients on the path to success.
Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn.
ABL has been a workforce effectiveness provider for 24 years. Clients include the US Navy, Department of Energy, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and numerous Fortune 1000 organizations including Allstate, Esurance, eBay, Microfocus, Avnet, Haliburton, and PepsiCo.
ABL takes a hands-on approach to learning and development and has followed the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cyber Range Project Team’s recommendation for the use of cyber ranges to improve individual and team cyber security knowledge and capabilities.
In response to the significant threats facing every organization today, ABL includes hands on skills development for all students through ABL’s Cyber Range, for ensuring higher levels of cyber skills competencies in identifying vulnerabilities and threats to mitigate and thwart.
ABL’s mission is to develop and validate cyber security skills for incumbent individuals, teams and the incoming workforce.
ABL’s newest range, the Cogent OT Cyber Education and Skills Range launched in October 2022. A “cogent” approach to large scale education and skills development has never been more crucial. Through cloud range access, training resources for organizations, educational institutions and individuals are available from anywhere, at any time, ensuring individuals have the knowledge and practical skills to identify poorly designed code, legacy and vulnerable device configuration issues, critical to protecting any organization.
It is ABL’s mission to build and continue to initiate alliances and partnerships for real change with private organizations and government agencies who are leaders in the field for OT workforce development, to attenuate the global OT/IT cyber vulnerabilities. A few of our current partnerships include, but are not limited to, the Arizona Cyber Threat Response Alliance (ACTRA) and ACTRA’s initiative, the North American Cyber Range Alliance, NACRA.
Susan Morris’ areas of expertise include business consulting, research, design, development, and implementation of workforce effectiveness solutions and corporate change initiatives that produce bottom-line results for ABL’s clients, including the Fortune 1000 and the Federal Government.
Ms. Morris amended ABL’s mission in 2015 to include a focus on the critical threat to both private and public sectors – the shortage of cyber OT and IT workforce talent. In her role, Ms. Morris researches and utilizes the most current learning strategies, methodologies, education processes and resources in workforce development for ABL’s clients and partners.
As part of establishing ABL’s strategic direction and vision, she ensures ABL has alliances and partnerships with private organizations and government agencies who are leaders in the field for real change and attenuation of the global OT/IT cyber vulnerabilities. She continually diversifies ABL’s portfolio and worked to secure ABL as a cyber certification training provider to the US Army, US Navy, and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
From over 30 years’ experience in workforce effectiveness, she understands reducing human error-caused data breaches requires more than building employee knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marymount College in New York.
About AZ TechCast
AZ TechCast is dedicated to covering innovation and technology in Arizona and beyond.
Through the art of connected conversation, AZ TechCast’s guests will share their expertise, success stories, news and analysis about the region’s leading startups, companies and emerging technologies, as well as the latest industry trends and critical issues propelling the state’s growing technology ecosystem.
About Your Hosts
Steve Zylstra serves as president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, a role he assumed in 2007. He is responsible for strategy, operations, finance and policy development. Zylstra is a vocal spokesman for the value technology can provide in raising social and economic standards in Arizona.
Zylstra serves on numerous councils, committees and boards, was named “Leader of the Year, Technology,” by the Arizona Capitol Times, and “Most Admired Leader” by the Phoenix Business Journal. In addition, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of science in technology from the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Ariz.
Zylstra earned a bachelor’s degree in automotive engineering technology from Western Michigan University.
Karen Nowicki is a successful author, speaker and the creator of Deep Impact Leadership™ and SoulMarks Coaching™. She is a two-time recipient of the prestigious national Choice Award® for her book and personal development retreat. Karen was crowned the first-ever “Mompreneur of the Year” Award in 2010 for the southwestern states. She was recognized for her leadership, business acumen, and work-life balance.
Karen has been an expert guest on regional TV and radio shows, including Fox Phoenix Morning Show, Sonoran Living, Good Morning Arizona, The Chat Room, and Mid-Day Arizona. She has been a regular contributor to many print and online magazines – publishing articles and blogs for business and education.
In addition to working with private coaching clients, Karen is also the Owner & President of Phoenix Business RadioX. The Business RadioX Network amplifies the voice of business – serving the Fortune 500,000, not just the Fortune 500. Phoenix Business RadioX helps local businesses and professional associations get the word out about the important work they’re doing to serve their market, profession, and community.
Of all the experiences Karen has had the privilege of participating in over her vast career, she shares that Phoenix Business RadioX is a pinnacle adventure!
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Bianca Buliga is a trilingual first-generation American of Romanian ethnicity. A marketing professional with experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, Bianca currently works as Director, Marketing & Communications for the Arizona Technology Council.
Previously, Bianca worked as Marketing Communications Lead at Proctorio, a learning integrity platform that offers remote proctoring software ensuring exam integrity for learners around the world.
Bianca also worked as Senior Marketing Manager at SEED SPOT, a social impact incubator that educates, accelerates, and invests in impact-driven entrepreneurs creating market-based solutions to social problems. In January of 2020, Bianca was selected as an awardee of the Mandela Washington Reciprocal Exchange Program and traveled to the African island of Mauritius to run entrepreneurship programming for 15 impact-driven ecopreneurs on behalf of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Bianca has also completed comprehensive consulting projects for IBM, ESAN Business School, and the Peruvian government, and interned at the Arizona House of Representatives and U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania.
Bianca earned her Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Northern Arizona University in 2014 and her Master’s degree in Global Affairs and Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in 2017. She is an avid reader, yogi, and world traveler always planning her next trip.
Connect with Bianca on LinkedIn.
About Our Sponsor
The Arizona Technology Council, Arizona’s only statewide organization serving the technology sector, fosters a climate of innovation to enhance technology in Arizona.
A trusted resource in strengthening Arizona’s technology industry, the Council proactively eliminates impediments that companies face, accelerates the entrepreneurial mindset in the state’s expanding innovation ecosystem, and works to create a destination for companies to be, thrive and stay.