Creating a strong local cybersecurity ecosystem

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In the modern age of technology, it’s apparent that the next generation of technology requires cybersecurity to be integrated from the very beginning — everyone from business executives to security software engineers should be talking to make sure needs are met, networks are secure.

Experts are working on how to implement cybersecurity at every level of technology, what components need to exist and who needs to be involved. Due to our intrinsic cybersecurity resources, Colorado Springs stands out as a viable region to champion such efforts.

Thanks to eager support from the local government and a pool of exceptional talent, efforts are moving forward to create a cybersecurity ecosystem in our community. The goal: economic development in the Pikes Peak region by starting to embrace the cybersecurity industry as a whole — from those who protect the networks to those who use them every day to do business.

People always look to experts to solve the cybersecurity threat; businesses spend millions for the latest solution that promises to make them safer. However, the elusive criminal enterprises surrounding our nation’s networks have not been significantly reduced through any single effort. In fact, the threats and unknowns related to the cyberworld appear to grow with each breaking news story and publicized privacy compromise. Many people ask: Why can’t they find a solution?

There isn’t one yet — because the problem is bigger than a single solution. It’s baked right into the network. The weakness is that every product, cyber application, service that makes people want to use it also makes the program vulnerable to hackers. Making the program easy to use continuously renders multi-million dollar products incapable of living up to security expectations.

Working alone, every solution also contains the same inherent problem. But a security ecosystem effort breaks down the economic and competitive barriers. Even the largest organizations focusing on cybersecurity protection are finding that isolating cybersecurity efforts to a few experts and specialized products is not effective. Everyone and every organization is part of the ecosystem which will ultimately turn the tide on cybertheft and solve the problem of protecting our networks.

There’s growing awareness that there’s a problem with cybersecurity and protecting personal information — but the solutions seem to be stuck in the concept phase. A 2015 CNBC survey finds that 82 percent of business leaders agree that mobile data privacy and security is a concern, with 41 percent believing that it is the most important aspect of technology. We are ready for a viable effort to create a cybersecurity ecosystem.

So where does the community start to grow the ecosystem? So many have looked to government organizations to begin the effort. Tell us what to do, right? The 2013 leak of National Security Administration operations has put the brakes on what we think about government involvement until we answer some political questions.

In this temporary vacuum, new champions need to step up. We are seeing such support take form through economic development efforts in Colorado Springs.

The obvious solution is to create a culture where cyber protection providers work together — creating a perfect storm for Colorado Springs, a city ready and willing to champion an ecosystem. Defining and mapping the required pieces of the cybersecurity ecosystem, and then calling on companies to provide their expertise will bring countless opportunities to our region.

The fact that entire industries required to support cybersecurity do not yet exist shows exceptional room for growth by fostering a startup hub for small cybersecurity providers.

It won’t be easy. The dynamics of battling bureaucracies hindered attempts to standardize cybersecurity in the past. But even bureaucratic malaise can be overcome if we empower small businesses to join the effort — and then grow through their participation. The biggest pool of cybersecurity expertise is found within small organizational settings.

In my opinion, the Colorado Springs effort has the chance to empower economic growth and small businesses. By doing so we entice the best talent, elicit the excitement, while removing the political uncertainty associated with large organizational sponsorship.

Look for more about this cybersecurity ecosystem as development efforts unfold. Find out how your organization can get involved. If you are looking to form a startup in the cybersecurity area, there will be countless opportunities.

These are exciting times for Colorado Springs as we look to become the worldwide hub by championing this exceptional cybersecurity growth era.

Christopher Gorog is CEO of Logic Central Online, an author and public speaker who offers training programs in cybersecurity and STEM leadership. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and master’s degrees in computer science and business administration. The Logic Central Online website is www.logiccentralonline.com.

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