Innovating Strategies to Solve the Cyber Resource Shortage

Written by CISOSHARE

May 14, 2020

25 min read

CISOSHARE has always been dedicated to helping organizations improve their security programs. Throughout the years, our team has been able to implement security programs in organizations of all sizes and industries. Much of our success can be attributed to the learning and teaching culture that guides our actions, both with clients and the way that we guide the development of our team. 

Keeping Up with the Cutting Edge of Cyber Security 

With the rapidly expanding technology landscape and the constant stream of attacks, keeping up with the latest trends, vulnerabilities, and solutions in cyber security can be challenging. There’s no single database that security teams can use to find easy answers to new problems. 

Instead, the most successful professionals are often those that can think creatively on their feet while also being able to pass this information onto others. 

This characteristic has been one we use to define a successful member of CISOSHARE’s security team rather than specific certifications or educational backgrounds. This is where the idea for CyberForward began — using aptitudes to identify individuals with the potential to succeed in cyber security. 

Changing the Cyber Security Industry 

Cyber security as a whole has held onto legacy practices, both in the construction of security programs and the way that companies hire people to work in them. Best practices exist as guidelines for protecting organizations in different industries, but these are often vague at best, meaning that meeting compliance requirements doesn’t equate to effective or efficient security. 

On the hiring side, organizations typically use a specific list of criteria to find cyber security resources: a degree, certifications in security, a technical background, and prior experience. These requirements often restricted newcomers or those interested in the industry. 

CISOSHARE has always sought to combat these legacy practices. We create customized security programs that focus on repeatable systems to make progress rather than simply meeting compliance. Much of our team has also come from a vast variety of backgrounds — veterans finding work, students just out of college, or professionals working in different areas — with many of their first experiences in cyber security coming from working at CISOSHARE. Technical backgrounds and degrees can’t teach the creativity needed to navigate, understand, and craft a solution for cyber security problems.  

This philosophy of positive change carried from CISOSHARE into the work that the team put into creating CyberForward. 

Creating an Ecosystem of Development 

CyberForward began as a pilot program with Orange County United Way’s UpSkill OC program in June 2019. Since March 2020, the program was rebranded as CyberForward with the goal of creating an ecosystem of partners and participants to develop the future of professionals working in cyber security. 

CyberForward solves two problems: the difficulty for individuals to make a livable wage, and the organizations that are facing a huge shortage of cyber security roles with millions of unfilled jobs estimated in the future. The program addresses these issues by working with community partners to identify individuals with aptitudes for success in cyber security and removing the roadblocks that keep them from entering the industry. 

Participants in the program are invited to take a free four-week training program to learn the foundation of how cyber security works and the soft skills they need such as communication and working with groups of people. After the training, chosen individuals are invited to get hands-on internship experience with CISOSHARE’s team to work on smaller projects and test out cyber security roles they’re interested in. Organizational partners can then engage these trained resources for 3-6 months projects in cyber security, which provides participants with the real-world work experience critical to their learning, and the organizations can complete specific projects and initiatives. 

From there, CyberForward looks to placing these trained resources in full-time cyber security positions with hiring partners that want to build out their internal teams. 

Preparing for the Future 

In the light of the current pandemic, organizations and the way people work have shifted dramatically. Even when the pandemic ends and we return to a new normal, these effects will continue to be felt. 

Many business services will be changed with meetings and assessments executed virtually rather than in person. This opens organizations up to work with a larger pool of people from different areas, rather than limiting candidates to certain places. There will also be a greater shift of individuals working in high-demand technical careers such as cyber security. 

In anticipation of these changes, CyberForward’s latest training class has gone virtual. We’re doing this to open the opportunity to more people who are interested in joining the cyber security industry and to focus on interpersonal skills in a virtual environment. We’re giving people the opportunity to shift and create their own identities by removing the limitations placed on them. 

CyberForward will always work toward creating opportunities for individuals not only in Orange County, but wherever there are individuals that need to find a livable wage and organizations that have cyber security work to be done.  

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