Eek, a Mouse!

Computer hacking spurs opportunities in protecting online information from perpetrators.

Joe Wallace Current Digital, Vision


Risks associated with sensitive, personal information in computer databases and the publicity surrounding compromised systems compel businesses and governments to mobilize resources to mitigate the impacts of security breaches.

There is one upside to the rampant cases of cat and mouse: opportunities
for cybersecurity entrepreneurs.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a growth of 28 percent in information security analyst jobs, compared to a growth rate of 13 percent for computer occupations in general and 7 percent for all occupations. Sweetening the pot for those inclined to jump on the bandwagon, the bureau reported the 2017 annual median wage for information security analysts at $95,510 and the annual median wage
for all occupations at $37,690.

The dangers inherent in today’s recordkeeping methods suggest a lucrative field for inquisitive people with technical talent and a penchant for challenges arising on a daily basis.

According to the research firm Cybersecurity Ventures, the position of chief information security officer commands a six-figure salary. The Coachella Valley stands poised to capitalize on this trending need of solutions. Opening this fall, Coachella Valley Economic Partnership’s Palm Desert Digital iHub will host a cybersecurity program offered by the Palm Desert campus of California State University, San Bernardino. That program could result in high-tech jobs that pay thriving wages in a region known for lower wages tied to hospitality and agriculture.

“The addition of a state-of-the-art cybersecurity program will greatly enhance our Palm Desert campus and give our students much-needed experience and opportunities that will help them after graduation as they start their careers,” CSUSB president Tomás Morales says. “We believe the cybersecurity program will serve as an economic boost to the Coachella Valley.”

CSUSB won $749,000 in the National Science Foundation’s $4.3 billion, three-year grant for a Community College Cyber Pilot Program to recruit and mentor 30 students from five community colleges to ultimately work in federal agencies and departments, says Tony Coulson, a professor of information and decision sciences and director of the CSUSB Cybersecurity Center. Under the grant, the center will mentor students, with an emphasis on veterans and adults who need “retooling” to meet the needs of cybersecurity and government service.

“Cybersecurity is a national concern,” Coulson says. “This program will help improve the pipeline of critically needed cyber skills coming from the Coachella Valley. CSUSB is helping provide national leadership in
these initiatives.”

Coupling cybersecurity with entrepreneurship in the digital iHub surely will diversify our communities’ economy with high-wage, year-round jobs.

Analysts in Demand to Protect Data

Cyber attacks have grown in frequency, and analysts will be needed to come up with innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or creating problems for computer networks. Banks and financial institutions, as well as other types of corporations, will need to increase their information security capabilities in the face of growing cybersecurity threats. In addition, as the healthcare industry expands its use of electronic medical records, ensuring patients’ privacy and protecting personal data are becoming more important. More information security analysts are likely to be needed to create the safeguards that will satisfy patients’ concerns.

Source: United States Bureau  of Labor Statistics

Peering into the Crystal Ball

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that 100 percent of large companies globally will have a chief information security officer position by 2021 and a total of 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings. The research firm further predicts that, within that time frame, cybercrime will cost the world $6 trillion annually — twice what it cost in 2015.