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Microsoft Pledges to Decrease Cybersecurity Skills Shortage By 2025

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The year 2021 has already witnessed a slew of attacks targeting businesses and governments. Foreign governments have interfered with the software supply chain, and cybercriminals have targeted hospitals and schools from the onset of COVID. Microsoft, which is part of the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC), plans to take the responsibility to address the security threats that threaten customers and partners globally. With that, the technology giant had earlier committed to invest more than $20 billion in security solutions and help USS government agencies secure their networks.

Now, Microsoft plans to address the growing skill gap in the cybersecurity industry. The ‘ ‘country’s growing cybersecurity challenges have added to the concerns of policymakers and the public. As a result, the country will eventually fall short in its efforts to strengthen its cyber defenses. “Currently, there are 464,200 open jobs in the United States that require cybersecurity skills. They account for 6% of all open jobs in the country,” noted Brad Smith, President, and Vice-Chair of Microsoft.

To meet the demand for skilled and talented individuals in the cyber security workforce, Microsoft is launching a campaign with community colleges across the US to help boost enrolment and hire 250,000 people by 2025.

According to Smith, more than one in 20 available positions in the US require extensive knowledge in cybersecurity. Salaries for these jobs average at over $107,000 annually. Smith said the company’s campaign would help address the skills shortage and diversity in the tech industry.

With the campaign, Microsoft will also address the diversity gap in the information security sector. “Microsoft found that men hold 82.4% of cybersecurity jobs in the USS and 80% of those jobs are held by people who are white. According to data compiled by Microsoft, 57% of community college students in the US are women and 40% of students identify as Black, African American or Hispanic,” reported CNBC.

“We believe the steps we’re taking today can make an important contribution to addressing America’s cybersecurity workforce shortage. But we also know that much more is needed. That’s why we are thinking about this effort as not just a program but a campaign. Building on our Microsoft Skills for Jobs global initiative, this new campaign can grow quickly to involve more companies, more nonprofits, and governments at the federal, state, and local levels. With additional volunteers from other companies and added financial resources, we can scale even farther to reach our full national needs,” added Smith.

This welcome initiative will further secure the most vulnerable SMB sector. Sadly, SMBs neither have in-house expertise nor understanding of an attack until it hits them. Due to lack of preparedness, they end up paying the ransom, losing their brand reputation. They also might face legal consequences from compliance authorities based on the sector. Having an employable and cyber-skilled workforce might not be a silver bullet for them but is a welcome move for the MSSPs. They dedicatedly serve to strengthen the American SMB sector.

Augustin Kurian

Augustin Kurian is the Associate Manager for Cyber Reports at Alliant Cybersecurity, an infosec subsidiary of the alliantgroup. In his role he is responsible for producing content, preparing the content strategies for the division, and ensure all the editorial guidelines and policies are met.

Prior to that, he was the Assistant Editor of a popular cybersecurity magazine where he specialized in news, cybersecurity analysis, and interviewed eminent personalities in the infosec space.

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