Gov. Kate Brown proclaimed Nov. 20 as “Oregon Day of Cyber” and Oregon’s cybersecurity community gathered at the Wilsonville campus of Oregon Institute of Technology to mark the occasion.
The event was a far cry from a few years ago when a small group of concerned cybersecurity companies tried to sound the cyber threat alarm.
But, many high-profile security breaches later, everyone is listening as cybercrime continues to rise and data breaches at places like Equifax continue to cause havoc.
Cyber Oregon is a statewide initiative powered by a public-private consortium consisting of the Oregon Cybersecurity Advisory Council, the Technology Association of Oregon, Oregon’s cyber-related industries, Oregon’s Executive Branch agencies, local governments and higher education institutions working together to help build tangible solutions to protect the digital lives of all Oregonians.
I had an opportunity to talk with several of the cybersecurity experts involved with Cyber Oregon who believe it will take a “cyber village” to ensure the digital security of the people and industries across the state.
Alex Pettit, chief information officer of the State of Oregon noted that this type of security is the shared responsibility of the public and private sector.
“State agencies, local governments, educational institutions and Oregon’s private sector can’t afford to go it alone,” he said. “The risks are too great.”
The newly formed Oregon Cybersecurity Advisory Council, established by the legislature in September, is designed to help with this problem. The group is focused on creating a Cybersecurity Center of Excellence said Council Chair Andrew Plato, who is also CEO of Beaverton-based security firm Anitian.
“(It is) a big responsibility but we have a very experienced cross-sector team of cybersecurity experts assembled to help move that effort forward,” he said.
In addition to the cross sector work, the state’s education institutions are developing programs to fill the estimated 3,500 Oregon cybersecurity jobs that are now unfilled.
“There’s a huge need for skilled cybersecurity professionals across all types of industries in Oregon which is a great opportunity for our students,” said Wayne Machuca, a professor at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham. “Our goal is to provide our students with the practical training and hand-on experience that will make them must-hire cybersecurity technicians for jobs in business, government, and industry.”
Several technology companies are also actively involved in helping raise awareness of cybersecurity issues through the Cyber Oregon initiative including security-oriented firms like Redhawk Network Security LLC , Splunk Inc., Fortinet Inc., Galois Inc. and Pacific Star Communications Inc.
The Cyber Oregon has a redesigned website and features information about cybersecurity including news, threat alerts, event announcements and a job board among other useful resources for job seekers and business owners.