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On the hunt for white hats: How academia can help secure the enterprise


A recent study by the Ponemon Institute found that almost 40 percent of security jobs are vacant. It’s a startling figure, as many skilled IT experts continue to look for work—sometimes after months of unemployment. In this episode of Discover Performance Weekly, HP Software evangelist Paul Muller (@xthestreams), asks, “Where have all the security professionals gone?” Joining him are Chris Veltsos (@DrInfoSec), a professor with the Department of Computer Information Science at Minnesota State University, and Jacob West (@sfjacob), CTO of HP Enterprise Security Products.


West surmises the dearth of infosec pros is one of supply and demand. “Up until recently, there wasn’t a strong demand for IT security professionals because the field has been evolving,” he says. “The demand has ticked up quickly, and supply has lagged a little bit more behind. We see not enough young professionals going into security roles. One place we have to look is back at the university system, and whether we can make some changes there that will create a bigger supply to meet that demand. “


While Veltsos, who teaches information security and “information warfare,” was surprised that the number from the report was so high, he’s not surprised that infosec pros are highly sought after. He agrees the situation is a problem of supply and demand, but also one of perception. “Students might be coming into the field of IT instead of information security,” he explains, “and just staying there instead of switching. I’ve done my best to encourage our students to switch over to the dark side—the information security side—yet they continue in a traditional software development path.” He also finds that information security is perceived as “hacking-focused, lower-level in the trenches.” Part of the solution, he says, is drawing a more complete picture of the types of infosec jobs that are available and in demand.


As the group susses out solutions to the scarcity of white hats, other topics covered include:


  • Undergraduate coursework: Information Security vs. Computer Science degrees
  • Partnership with academia to communicate the needs better
  • How the adversary thinks about recruiting security talent


Watch the video now.


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Related links:

Episode 1: CIO predictions for 2014

Episode 2: BYOD doesn’t stand for 'Bring Your Own Disaster': How to tame BYOD

Episode 3: Consumerization of IT: Bring your own 'everything'

Episode 4: Is analytics for everyone? Why do the data scientists have all the fun?

Episode 5: Time for Enterprise IT to declare defeat in the Security war?

Episode 6: Confessions of CIOs: How to develop strengths for today's leadership

Episode 7: How to fast-track your organization with the software-defined enterprise

Episode 8: Government in technology: Big brother or big bother?

Episode 9: Using information to drive innovation and agility

Episode 10: A guide to innovation: Make big risks pay off big time

Episode 11: Working hard or hardly working: what are your employees up to?

More videos: Backstage with HP Software

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About the Author


Alec Wagner is a longtime writer & editor, enterprise IT insider, and (generally) fearless digital nomad.

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