Cybersecurity as a practice should start in youth

Cybersecurity as a practice should start in youth

Introducing cybersecurity practices to the younger generation is essential for future preparedness, says a Netskope chief security officer.

Cybersecurity needs to be imparted from an early age, considering the skills gap in the current digital landscape.

Dave Fairman, Chief Information & Security Officer at Netskope, said that efforts to empower professionals should not only target current industry professionals but should begin "from the ground up."

Our schools, children, how are we getting them involved and interested in cybersecurity as a practice? And how are we giving them capabilities in those early years into high school into university? So I think there's that one element, taking it through the education system. I think there's elements where education, process or capabilities programs can be built,” he said.

Fairman mentioned that the government can help foster and nurture these educational programs while the industry thinks of a way to reskill existing professionals and the workforce from other areas.

“The beautiful thing about cybersecurity is it's not just about IT security. It's a multidisciplinary approach of bringing work, bringing people to the workforce from other areas, from HR, from a legal, from a risk, from compliance, from technology, even from different sectors, and reskilling them. I think there's a number of different mechanisms we can put in place to help them drive and combat some of the skills gap,” he explained.

This approach can provide multiple pathways to address the skills gap, offering opportunities for professionals from diverse backgrounds to pivot into cybersecurity roles.

Discussing better integration strategies, Fairman touched on the significance of collaboration, particularly between public and private entities, saying that cross-industry collaboration through cybersecurity communities and forums is important.

“We have a number of cybersecurity communities and forums where we can get together and we can collaborate. I think the key thing is understanding what it is we're collaborating on? What problem are we trying to solve or so understanding and defining some core objectives that we as a community get together to drive?” he said.

Fairman also emphasized the role of vendors, consultants, and experts in building defensive capabilities. He underscored the broader ecosystem—comprising buyers, sellers, and investors—as essential for effective cybersecurity.

“I think there's a lot of willingness for practitioners to collaborate and work with their peers, cross industry, and globally. And I think that that's doing really well, I think the vendor market plays a role as well. So it's not just about defense, like within an organization, it's just not about building a capability,” he said.

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