With the emergence of the information age, digital property worldwide is at risk. Invisible armies of worms, botnets, and Trojans sit inside information system borders; to engage, defend, and remove these antagonists; the nation requires individuals with the technical skills to operate in this domain. Our nation’s security and most important our economic security is dependent on cyberspace. Based on existing research (e.g., Evans & Reeder, 2010; GAO Report, 2011; Zwany, Akin, & Palchus, 2009) the human capital crisis exacerbates the cyber threat to our economic and national security. A strong correlational hypothesis exist between the development of a skill labor force that can to meet the security threat that President Obama declared to be “One of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation” (Obama, 2009, p. 1). Through the brief examination of the existing workforce, this paper will provide introductory solutions to the human capital crisis existing in the cybersecurity profession. Cybersecurity workforce planning is in its infancy and requires further expansion of this research in the very near future.
Keywords: cybersecurity, workforce development, professionalization, training, human capital
Cybersecurity Human Capital Crisis
In 1775, Paul Revere rode through the Massachusetts countryside warning that the British were coming, calling citizens to arms. The follow day the Revolutionary War began, and the rest is history. With the emergence of the information age, digital property worldwide is at risk. Invisible armies of worms, botnets, and Trojans sit inside our information system borders; to engage, defend, and remove these antagonists; the nation requires individuals with the technical skills to operate in this domain. Our nation’s security and most important our economic security is now dependent on cyberspace. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, researchers continually debated the significance of the emergence of information technology in correlation to workplace productivity due in large part to a lack of empirical research (Handel, 2003). However, as the Internet, desktop computers, and larger data servers became affordable; both the public and private sectors leveraged information technology to increase productivity, reduced costs, exponentially increase storage capacity, and increase communications options. Technology changed the daily activities and skill requirements of the 21st Century workforce and spawned the emergence of employees detailed with the task of securing organizational information systems. Information security professionals materialized in the workplace because in the last 30 years, technology hardware, software, and service providers raced against each other to get the latest high-tech gadget out on the street ahead of their completion, ignoring time, and cost associated with securing these items. Security became an after-market issue left to the consumer and the evolving information security staff. Information security professionals became the gate keepers of organizational data, information, and intellectual property. Like the unlocked home or office, organizations quickly became targets for individuals and even nation-states to breached information systems and nefarious acts committed against other individuals, companies, or countries. According to a 2011 Symantec Report, cybercrime, identity theft, online fraud, and theft of intellectual property reached epidemic proportions during the last 10 years, reaching $388 billion; surpassed drug trafficking $288 billion revenue as the most financially profitable criminal activity in the world (PR Newswire, 2011). Such acts give rise to the evolution of the cybersecurity professional. Based on initial research, organizations worldwide face shortages of well-developed cybersecurity professionals with the needed skills. In one...