San Diego Industry Study Leads to Cybersecurity Center of Excellence
[Updated 3/20/14 11:45 am. See below.] A group of San Diego civic and network security leaders, angling to catch a rising wave in the computer security industry, are establishing a Cyber Center of Excellence here to help accelerate the regional growth of cybersecurity jobs and technologies.
The new center reflects a growing nationwide demand for cybersecurity professionals, driven chiefly by an onslaught of costly, high-profile Internet attacks on U.S. computer networks, including Target, The New York Times, Visa, Nasdaq, and others.
A recent report from Burning Glass Technologies, a Boston labor-market analytics firm, shows that cybersecurity job postings soared by 74 percent from 2007 to 2013. The firm says it counted 209,749 postings last year for cybersecurity-related jobs nationwide. The field accounts for about 10 percent of all IT job postings, according to the Burning Glass report, but the growth rate is more than twice as fast as the rate for all IT job postings.
The move to create a local Cyber Center of Excellence stemmed in large part from an assessment of the cybersecurity industry that was done over the past five months by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC). An executive summary of the study concludes, “San Diego is especially well-positioned to benefit from this trend, with both a critical mass of firms and a solid economic foundation on which to grow.”
The results of the report, which is being released today, “will surprise a lot of people,” Eset CEO Andy Lee told me by telephone. “We have well over 100 companies here directly involved in cybersecurity.”
The Cyber Center of Excellence is intended to serve as both a centralized resource for companies and organizations looking for help—as well as a way to draw together a largely fragmented industry. The EDC estimates there are about 40,000 IT workers in the region.
“The whole aim is to unify military, government officials, industry, and academia behind the need for improved cybersecurity,” Sentek Global CEO Eric Basu told me. (Sentek, a government and commercial contractor that provides IT security program management, information assurance certifications, and other services, co-sponsored the EDC study.)
Organizers describe the center as a “public-private partnership dedicated to accelerating the cyber innovation economy” in San Diego. Sentek Global, Eset, and other local companies are backing the initiative, with help from the EDC, local political leaders, and the San Diego headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), a multi-billion dollar agency that oversees major Navy contracts for IT systems engineering, technical support, and other programs.
[Updates with new information and comments] Local industry and political leaders, including San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer, Democratic Representatives Scott Peters and Susan Davis, and SPAWAR’s Rear Admiral Patrick Brady gathered to provide details about the center at a press conference in San Diego this morning.
“This cybersecurity threat is only increasing—not only in defense but obviously for every one of us in our personal lives,” Brady said. SPAWAR manages about $1 billion in Navy contracts from its San Diego headquarters, “so I look at this effort where we could help not only on the procurement side by being able to contract with more companies, but also by teaming with universities and have that opportunity to find great employees to bring into SPAWAR as experts in cybersecurity.”
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