Cyber threats are a serious economic and financial challenge facing the US today. Technology is rapidly changing and becoming more sophisticated, yet every day brings new reports of high-profile organizations suffering significant data breaches. These breaches result in access to and loss of vital information causing negative publicity, a lack of trust, a drop in consumer confidence, and lost market share.
The bridge from technology to a secure cyberspace is a skilled and well-equipped cyber workforce. Educating and training your workforce to become cyber warriors means giving them the expertise they need to hunt for and continuously monitor networks for intrusions, think like cyber criminals, and reverse-engineer an attack. According to Jim Gosler, NSA Visiting Scientist and founding director of CIA’s Clandestine Information Technology Office, only about 1,000 security specialists in the United States have the specialized skills needed to operate effectively in cyberspace; however, the United States needs about 10,000 to 30,000 such individuals.
Building Skills and Knowledge for a Secure Cyberspace
The best investment you can make to protect your critical data and information systems is to build a skilled and knowledgeable cyber workforce. Having the right people with the right skills to tackle the ever-changing threat landscape is paramount. Keeping your workforce exceptionally skilled is crucial to safeguarding your information and information systems, and it requires continual training.
A Flexible and Scalable Training Approach
A good cybersecurity learning framework is a component-based, phased training system. It enables you to effectively identify, classify, and assess the needs of your organization and the competencies of your cyber workforce and develop a plan for skills building, maintenance, and evolution.
Identify: Identify the roles, functions, and competencies your cyber workforce must possess to effectively carry out your organization’s mission of complete and ongoing protection, while ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your critical data.
Classify: Classify the associated roles, functions, and competencies based on level of responsibility or authority as it relates to information systems or the computing environment in which an individual operates. These position levels are also called bands.
Assess: After identifying and classifying your cyber workforce, assess each member’s expertise. Doing so provides an organizational view of your workforce that helps you determine overarching gaps in education or knowledge and to identify potential areas of security risk within the organization based on the current workforce skills and job functions.
Plan: Develop a training plan that begins by closing the gaps and evolves into a continuous training program in which your cyber workforce will follow learning tracks against specific competencies or roles.
Train: With your plan in place, move on to the critical training phase: building and maintaining the knowledge and skills of your cyber workforce.
Evolve: As job roles, technologies, and training requirements change, continuously evolve your training program to ensure a world-class security team into the future.
How Mastering These Disciplines Will Help You Protect and Defend
Whether you need general cyber security awareness, secure network design and implementation, continuous monitoring, network forensics and analysis, or smart and effective incident response training, you need to be prepared to battle the latest cyber threats and attacks.
Asset Protection – What do you have?
In order to protect your assets, you must first know where they are and understand how they are tracked and managed: How are they secured? Who has access to them? Are they tracked and managed? Do you have processes and procedures in place to respond and recover from a security breach quickly?
Threat Management – What’s coming at you?
Assess your vulnerabilities, threats, and risks. Work to mitigate this risk, and use auditing and analysis to confirm your efforts. Humans can be your weakest link. Ensure they have received adequate training to stay one step ahead of the attack.
Access Control – Who gets in?
Control who has access by locking down your systems, including hosts, networks, applications, and data flows.
Incident Management – How do you handle failures?
Perform continuous monitoring with event management tools and maximize your ability to provide an immediate response. Use strong policies that are well communicated for a consistent and uniform reaction.
Configuration Management – How do you manage the lifecycle?
Continuously managing changes to the IT landscape of your organization requires due diligence to ensure your systems are optimally organized and interconnected.
Contingency Planning – How do you plan for failures?
Ensure your organization has planned for continuity after an attack. Failures happen; how best do you respond?