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One Million by 2020

One million is the number of cyber security policy experts who will be needed by the year 2020 in the United States alone. 

Why so many?  During a recent interview with editors at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), expert judges and sponsors in the third annual “Cyber9/12 Student Challenge” in Geneva shared their thoughts on the importance of developing the field of cyber security as an emerging security challenge.

Luigi Rebuffi, Secretary General of the European Cyber Security Organization (ECSO), discussed the need for cyber security in today’s interconnected world. Mr Rebuffi explained that big and small companies along with public administrations needed increased access to expert opinions on the subject. Unfortunately, experts in cyber security are few and far between. The United States has claimed a need for 1 million experts in cyber security, and the European Union 900,000 by 2020. A pool of experts of this size, says Mr Rebuffi, does not yet exist.

Rami Efrati, Founder and President of Firmitas, also emphasized the need for more minds working on cyber security. The government of Israel in particular has allocated much of its funding to build its capacity to powerfully combat cyber-attacks. To make sure these funds are used effectively, in Israel and elsewhere, “we need the right people to work in cyber.” Cyber experts must be well educated, certified and incentivized to remain in their roles for long periods of time. Pertti Jalasvirta, Partner at Claned, reinforced this concern, reiterating that the international political community must be prepared with proper cyber security measures and knowledge.  

Dr Dale Nordenberg, Founder of Medical Device Innovation, Safety and Security Consortium (MDISS), addressed the links between cyber technology and the field of medicine. As the number of connected devices increases, they have facilitated the sharing of data and improved the quality of medical care, he said. These devices, however, are also accompanied by risks such as malware, intrusions and hacking of hospital networks or medical instruments. Medical professionals and patient safety specialists have not yet developed a capacity to assess the level of exposure to these risks.

Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, NATO Assistant Secretary General and Head of the Emerging Security Challenges Division, urged the cyber security community to be forward-thinking and one step ahead of possible cyber threats. Countries must coordinate to strengthen cyber defense and invest resources in building security of cyber networks and information technology. Only through investment will the world be able to rely on and benefit from the development of cyber technology.