Massachusetts Leads the Fight for a More (Cyber) Secure Future

Opinion

Last month, more than 143 million Americans potentially had their credit information, social security numbers, birth dates, and other sensitive information stolen in one of the worst data breaches in modern history.

Prior to that, rogue cyber attackers infiltrated the networks of major U.S. and European energy providers, with the potential to cause massive disruptions.

Protecting people and businesses from such a diverse group of attackers will take strong leadership in the government and in the private sector. Massachusetts has emerged as one of the world’s leading epicenters for cybersecurity innovation.

In honor of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, here are four ways Massachusetts is helping the industry solve today’s biggest cybersecurity challenges and address the greatest threats that lie ahead.

Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Gap
According to industry data, the U.S. will face a shortage of two million cybersecurity professionals by the year 2019. This is one of the biggest issues facing the security industry – there are simply not enough trained people available to square off against today’s adversaries.

Massachusetts is at the forefront of changing that and provides a model other states should emulate by making computer science and technology part of the foundation of education.

Massachusetts ranks number one nationally in STEM graduates and generates 56 percent more bachelor degrees in computer science and engineering per capita than the rest of the U.S. combined. Harvard, Northeastern, and Boston College are now offering degree programs specific to cybersecurity, helping to train our next line of defense.

Channeling Global Innovation
Cybersecurity is a global challenge and will require a global response. Massachusetts has emerged as a U.S. leader in cybersecurity in part because of its willingness to embrace global innovation.

A good example of this is found in the Boston/Israel business connection started by former Governor Deval Patrick and expanded and extended by Governor Baker. The partnership, supported by the New England-Israel Business Council, is the poster child for how states can import innovation to support the existing ecosystem.

This support and the strong high tech and higher education ecosystem is why we chose Boston as our U.S. headquarters in 2000, after starting up in Israel. Since then, we’ve grown the business to help secure more than 3,300 customers, created more than 200 jobs here in Massachusetts, and launched an incredibly successful IPO that has created value for local shareholders.

Aside from CyberArk, the efforts of the current and previous administrations have paved the way for other innovative cybersecurity companies to call Massachusetts home – including Carbon Black, Tufin, Cybereason, and many more.

Creating an Environment for Collaboration
Meeting today’s toughest cybersecurity challenges will require significant collaboration between the public and private sector, and among the private sector itself. We need to collaborate, share threat intelligence, and create best practice standards for security. Innovation and smart policy will pave the way to a more secure future.

This is one of the primary reasons my company started the C3 Alliance – bringing together Massachusetts cybersecurity leaders such as CyberArk, RSA, and Rapid7, as well as other security leaders including Splunk and Proofpoint to share information and provide better protections against advanced threats.

Massachusetts offers cybersecurity companies – growing and established – a place to work with best-in-the-world leadership in every industry, providing opportunities for collaboration, innovation, and global reach.

A Reason to Fight – The Drive for Innovation
Massachusetts is home to global leaders in several critical industries, including healthcare, financial services, life sciences, and critical infrastructure. As a result, this means that we’re also the home to incredibly sensitive data and intellectual property. Innovations that can improve the human condition are born out of Massachusetts industries.

We are acutely aware of what is at risk in the ongoing cyberwar. As industry strives to improve upon their fields, they also push the cybersecurity industry to do more to protect their advancements.

Massachusetts has been the bedrock of innovation for many critical industries. With the continued support of the Baker administration, cybersecurity is the next industry that will excel on a global scale and become synonymous with our state.

Udi Mokady is the founder, chairman, and CEO of CyberArk. Follow @CyberArk

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