Last year, my colleague Lora Bentley discussed comments made by Melissa Hathaway, then the Obama administration's acting senior director for cyber security, regarding the need for the White House to have a direct hand in cyber security for the country. However, Bentley also pointed out that changing the national culture on security is going to be a marathon effort.
Sure enough, we've slowly been seeing some changes coming out of Washington, and this past week there was another step forward. The Department of Labor handed out grant money for cyber security education. For example, New York's Mohawk Valley Community College received nearly $3 million to implement security training. The training will benefit employers in the health care, financial and manufacturing industries who need cyber security professionals. Meanwhile, in Maryland, several community colleges are sharing a $5 million grant for such training.
Why is this important for the future of cyber security? One of the issues I've heard from chief security officers is that they and other security professionals came into their jobs through IT. Executives recognized the need for someone to handle data security and shifting that responsibility to someone who worked with the network was a logical choice. That meant security professionals had no formal security training and had to learn on the job. These Department of Labor grants will help change that.