The economics of cybersecurity


Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center

Georgia jumped onto the cybersecurity bandwagon in a big way this year with the state investing in a massive training center to be constructed adjacent to the Augusta University Riverfront Campus, which is very close to the U.S. Army Cyber Command, the US Army Cyber Center of Excellence and the National Security Agency at Fort Gordon.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal announced on January 11 that the state will invest $60 million for a cyber range and training facility named the Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center in Augusta that will combine expertise in academia, private industry and government to establish statewide cybersecurity standards. Construction of the 167,000-square-foot facility is underway with the final part of the steel structure being completed in mid-November with the grand opening scheduled for July 2018.

In November the state came through with an additional $35 million to build a second facility that will house an incubator hub for technology startups and a training space for state cybersecurity initiatives and workforce development programs, the school reported. It will open in December 2018.

Completion dates for both projects was not announced, but the school is not waiting for the doors to be open and has already hosted a series of cybersecurity events and has a full slate of programs for its students.

“This visionary investment in the security of our state and nation will usher in a range of exciting opportunities for our region, our state and our university and, along with the federal relocation of the U.S. Army Cyber Command to Fort Gordon, will further position our home city of Augusta as a national epicenter of cybersecurity and education,” said Brooks A. Keel, president of Augusta University.

Once completed and up and running the center will focus on four goals:

• Improve Georgia's cybersecurity education, training and research infrastructure to enhance public and private sectors in cybersecurity preparedness, while building a world-class workforce.

• Increase protection and security of public resources, infrastructure and provide efficient and effective response to cyber related emergencies.

• Heighten Georgia globally as the best place for business through innovation and collaboration with private industry in cybersecurity.

• Deliver safe, secure and efficient government services through inter-agency cybersecurity collaboration. Build a world-class and cyber secure public infrastructure. 

Michigan Economic Development Corporation

In the same way Michigan became known as the home of auto manufacturing, the state is now attempting to become the center of the cybersecurity industry by laying out the welcome mat for security firms.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has put together an elaborate effort, much of it built on the state's remaining auto industry infrastructure, that brings the states focus on cybersecurity to the forefront in its attempt to attract new business. This ranges from what the state is doing to develop homegrown cybersecurity pros to the large number of engineers that call the state home to a welcoming tax environment.

On the purely cybersecurity front the Michigan Economic Development Corporation rolls out the fact that the state has the first school district to create a cybersecurity program. Overall the state increased funding for its Career Tech Education programs, which includes computer programming and cybersecurity, to $35 million per year and in 2018 with one district adding classes to prepare students for the Ethical Hacking exam in 2018 and following this up in 2019 by adding a cyber forensics course.

The MEDC received in October 2017 a $2.23 million Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment that comes on top of a $6.3 million grant in 2015 that led to the development of two high-profile cybersecurity programs the MEDC heavily promotes. These are the Wayne State University and Pinckney Community High School cyber hubs and the Michigan Cyber Range training platform. The two school programs provide courses in 20 cybersecurity disciplines.

The MEDC also did its part in late October helping promote the sixth annual North American International Cyber Summit that was held in Detroit and featured events like the High School Cyber Challenge and talks held by an array of cybersecurity executives. 

Rhode Island Corporate Cybersecurity Initiative

Rhode Island Corporate Cybersecurity Initiative (RICCI) was created to educate senior business leaders and decision makers in the region who have the power to affect change and make Rhode Island's business community and critical industries more cyber resilient.

 RICCI is part of the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salva Regina University and through a series of workshops and presentations held all through the year it brings together the private sector in the form or defense, financial services, technology, transportation, healthcare, energy and telecommunication executives along with those in law enforcement and government.

To keep these leaders up to speed on what is going on right now in cybersecurity RICCI recently held presentations on blockchain and cryptocurrencies and Israel Barak, CISO at CyberReason, discussed the on-going ransomware epidemic and major outbreaks, such as WannaCry and NotPetya.

The organization was also used as the tie-in to promote the Pell Center's standing as a Champion Organization for the National Cyber Security Awareness Month. This has included hosting lectures, seminars, panel discussions and larger conferences and Pell's website is posted cybersecurity tips, best practices, and insights on social media throughout October. In addition it provided businesses and the community at large with tools and resources needed to stay safe online, create a culture of cybersecurity across the entire enterprise, and increase both Rhode Island and the nation's overall resilience in the event of a cyberattack.

A lecture in October was conducted by Adam Segal, Ph.D., Ira A. Lipman Chair in Emerging Technologies Director, Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program Council on Foreign Relations. He discussed how using cyberattacks differs little and is merely an extension of the type of geopolitics practiced for centuries between competing powers when each would use any and all weapons at their disposal to gain an edge on their opponent.


The CyberCalifornia coalition was formed in 2015 with the specific purpose of developing cybersecurity solutions and developing the state's position as a leader in cybersecurity for the growing number of Internet of Things devices, and, of course, to encourage hardware and security manufacturers to set up shop in The Golden State.

The group is organized in conjunction with the Innovation Hub (iHub) Network, which works to improve California's national and global competitiveness by stimulating partnerships, economic development, education and job creation around specific research clusters, which is run by the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).

The organization has several pending plans centered on IoT. One will be to use a series of as yet unannounced events to proactively develop local executives into a thought leadership role with the idea that this will help establish California as the destination for IoT and cybersecurity development.

Collaboration is the name of the game for CyberCalifornia. One new way this is being done is by expanding the current regional cybersecurity competitions across the state with the California Cyber Innovation Challenge for high school students. This contest was hosted as a demonstration event in Sacramento in 2016. Part of the contest will have CyberCalifornia coordinate employer outreach, host the CCIC website, coordinate messaging and help connect this challenge to other cybersecurity workforce development and education opportunities.

Even while the group is looking toward the future by helping develop future cybersecurity pros, it is also working to ensure business, particularly those in the defense industry, can withstand a cyberattack. This is being accomplished through a series of cybersecurity resilience activities including supply chain mapping, cybersecurity provider surveys, and cyber physical security assessments and workshops.

The resilience activities, some of which are pending, will be conducted by a coalition of strategic partners, including California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC), California State University San Bernardino, and East County Economic Development Council (ECEDC). Funding for this is expected to come through the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment. 

National Security Task Force - U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's National Security Task Force has one goal. To develop and advance Chamber of Commerce policy related to cybersecurity, supply chain, customs and trade facilitation, public-private partnerships, and emergency preparedness.

The Task Force is led by former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, who also was the first head of the Department of Homeland Security, and is composed of 200 companies, associations, and state and local chambers. The Task Force itself is comprised of several working groups that study identify current and emerging cybersecurity issues, craft policies, and insistently pursue reforms through advocacy by presenting to the government and public.

Matthew J. Eggers, executive director, cybersecurity policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, last spoke before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Information Technology Subcommittee in October on cybersecurity and the Internet of Things. The organization this year also called for the adoption of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Framework.

The Task Force also aims to directly help business throughout the country. One such endeavor saw the creation of the Cybersecurity Leadership Council, which helps promote solid cybersecurity policy to include best practices and market-based solutions.

One method of accomplishing this task is through hosting and co-hosting events that look at cybersecurity issues on a global, national and local level.

For the truly big picture the Task Force was involved with the Chamber's annual Global Supply Chain Summit, which mainly focused on logistical topics, but included integrating security into the process.

On the national level there was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Sixth Annual Cybersecurity Summit held in October, and locally with partnerships like the one with the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and the University of South Carolina's SC Cyber that resulted in a cybersecurity summit being held in Columbia, S.C. aimed at helping small and mid-size businesses develop, evaluate, and strengthen their cybersecurity programs.

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