The cybersecurity industry suffers from an immense talent gap. As the need for tougher security measures in industrial facilities becomes dire, numerous organizations are creating training programs to build and strengthen cybersecurity education.
Just two to three decades ago, industrial cybersecurity was seen as a beneficial activity. Today, it is an absolute necessity. This massive shift has brought about many challenges. As cyberattacks have grown in sophistication and frequency, companies in the chemical process industries (CPI) have had trouble finding qualified applicants and recruiting skilled industrial cybersecurity experts.
A recent Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) survey of IT decision-makers in eight countries found that 82% of employers report a shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals (1). In industrial cybersecurity, this number is thought to be even higher. The shortage may be attributed to the changing landscape of evolving cyber threats, which universities struggle to keep up with as they train the next generation of cybersecurity experts.
In the CPI, where stakes are high and any cyberattack could lead to a safety incident, how can industrial teams identify cyber weaknesses, prioritize them, and quickly deploy solutions without impacting process operability? The answer lies in education. Teams need to be well-versed in risk assessment and methods to build effective cybersecurity architectures.
The need for technical competence in cybersecurity is only part of the equation, however. Companies must build cybersecurity awareness by creating a culture of accountability. Every employee, from the operator to the plant manager, has a responsibility to consider cybersecurity as part of their job duties.
How can chemical engineers, especially process engineers who are responsible for day-to-day plant operations, become fluent in the language of cybersecurity? Many organizations are creating training programs and educational content targeted toward working professionals.
This article discusses some of the education and talent gaps associated with cybersecurity in the CPI. It examines how different organizations, both industrial and academic, are working to close those gaps...
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