From online banking to electronic medical records, more and more personal information is being transferred to “the cloud.” As technology progresses so does the challenge of keeping this private information from becoming vulnerable.
And that means jobs tied to cybersecurity are expected to grow, with Rep. James R. Langevin, D-R.I., and others eager to try to make the Ocean State a hub for the fledgling industry.
“Many areas around the country have a chance to capitalize on cybersecurity, because the supply of services nationwide doesn’t come close to meeting the ever-growing demand,” Langevin told Providence Business News. “I want to see Rhode Island become a hub for the industry to meet this need and to give a major boost to our economy.”
While there is no hard data he can point to that Rhode Island is actually on its way to becoming a hub for this growing technology specialty, Langevin says interest from local technology companies and the growth of cybersecurity programs at Rhode Island colleges have helped the Ocean State lay “the groundwork better than most states.”
Indeed, “In the past, security was an afterthought, now it’s very much a focal point in what we do,” said Kevin Longo, network systems administrator for OSHEAN, a nonprofit coalition of universities, hospitals, government agencies and other nonprofit institutions throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the cybersecurity field to grow by 65,700 jobs, or 22 percent, by 2020. Developing the next generation of information- and network-security professionals is critical, according to Longo.
“It’s never a good thing to send a customer a letter telling them your security has been breached and their information might be in the hands of a cyber criminal,” said Longo. Langevin has done more than just talk about the need to develop that next generation.
Through the sponsorship of the online Cyber Foundations Competition, he’s encouraged high schoolers from around the country to take quizzes that demonstrate their abilities in the three foundational fields of cybersecurity: networking, operation system and systems administration. Langevin co-founded the Congressional Cyber Security Caucus and took the lead in launching the contest in Rhode Island.