Norwich University announced that they are the lead institution of the nation's Senior Military Colleges in creating a Department of Defense Cyber Institute program through a recently awarded two-year, $19.5 million grant. The award is excellent news for Norwich, its students, and the future of cyber in our country.
Why is this important?
Let's take a quick look at a couple of recent news reports concerning the cybersecurity worker drought and the state of cybersecurity education and training.
In this article from Forbes the author writes that at the end of 2020, cybercrime is growing exponentially, and businesses are facing a severe cybersecurity talent drought. Additionally, it is noted that "companies are haphazardly attempting to address these labor gaps by providing less-than-adequate training on the job with hopes that technology solutions can make up the rest." The author offers two solutions, focusing on companies investing in skills growth of their current employees and third-party support and reliance on new technologies.
Another article from Forbes highlights the problem of cybersecurity training, pointing out that when companies look to hire or when filling positions in their cybersecurity team that – "most candidates will be recent college graduates that lack a fundamental understanding of IT systems as a whole and have a narrower set of skills."
Additionally, "Most university cyber programs are still largely focused on policy writing, law, privacy, etc. For many institutions, building the infrastructure required for hands-on and interactive learning is difficult. For example, in software development, all a student needs to write code is a laptop. Then if the code works, we know immediately. The feedback loop is very short. Teaching defensive cybersecurity skills, on the other hand, requires networks, commercial security tools, and an adversary."
How the DoD grant will help.
The recently awarded Department of Defense Cyber Institute program grant will work towards producing an individual ready to fill a cybersecurity position on day one. Students at these institutions will engage in rigorous experiential and immersive learning activities focusing on building cross-institutional multidisciplinary programs, sharing expertise, and enabling military and civilian competency development and measurable skills.
In addition to the traditional rigorous cybersecurity courses a Norwich student takes, their exposure to NUARI's SSC, allows us to work towards solving the above problems by producing analysts in-house via rigorous certification processes with some of the brightest minds entering the cybersecurity field. The analysts lead with real-world experience while preparing for their next future in the information security field.
What about the problems that exist in a traditional SOC, such as the ones this article points out with organizations facing staffing problems and the transitioning role of a SOC?
"SOCs are becoming proactive, transitioning from an 'alert center' to a threat hunting and incident response center, strongly relying on the skill level of its staff,"… "Moving away from on-the-job and course-based training to hands-on training was heavily favored by respondents who are looking to improve their technical skillsets."
It should be noted that NUARI's SSC goes beyond a traditional SOC with our threat-hunting crews that have access to cutting-edge research and data through Norwich University. This partnership enhances concept development and brings our performance to another level.
NUARI is proud to be affiliated with Norwich University and proud to contribute to a talent pipeline for America's military and civilian Defense Department's cyber workforce.
Read more about the Department of Defense Cyber Institute program.