SCCyber: UofSC Heads Initiative to Enhance Cyber Security

The CSE department's cybersecurity research and NSA designations as a National Academic Center of Excellence are critical pillars of the initiative. If you are interested, see our Information Assurance Specialization and Certificate of Graduate Study in Information Assurance and Security.

Below is a copy of the announcement from USC News.

From personal conveniences like online banking, electronic health records, and self-driving cars to national infrastructure like power grids and air traffic control, sensitive technology shapes our world. At the same time, new technologies are vulnerable to criminal exploitation and malicious or unintended usage.

To prepare South Carolina to meet these challenges, the University of South Carolina, along with a consortium of leading industry, academic, and government partners, announces the creation of SC Cyber. SC Cyber is a statewide initiative, housed at the university and committed to securing our state’s critical infrastructure and to training those on the front lines of the fight to protect technological assets.

The formation of SC Cyber was announced Wednesday (Feb. 24) by South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley and UofSC President Harris Pastides. Building on the outreach efforts of USC’s Office of Economic Engagement, initial partners include the state Department of Commerce, the S.C. National Guard, academic institutions like Clemson University, and industry partners like IBM.

"Carolina is proud to serve as the epicenter of this important work. We look forward to working with all our the consortium members in leveraging and expanding access to new technologies, research and education,” Pastides said.

In South Carolina alone, there are an estimated 2,300 open cybersecurity positions and the field has grown more than 130 percent since 2010. SC Cyber will prepare students for high-paying cybersecurity-related jobs in the Palmetto State, as well as provide ongoing training and workforce development for practitioners already in the field. Initial course offerings will begin in the summer of 2016.

“As hackers grow increasingly sophisticated, the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals is growing faster than ever – and the good guys must join forces in order to keep pace,” said Shelley Westman, vice president of Operations & Strategic Integration Initiatives for IBM Security. “IBM is committed to fostering collaboration between educators, public and private sector. To that extent, we are happy to partner with programs like SC Cyber to help develop the cybersecurity workforce of the future. By sharing data, tools and expertise amongst peers and students, we can better prepare the industry to defend against this new breed of advanced threats.”

S.C. Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt agrees. “In South Carolina, our businesses are contemporary and dynamic, embracing the latest in technology and leading the way in innovation. With these advances, the continued development of our cyber security footprint is critical. More than just an economic driver, the expansion of this crucial industry sector will help ensure that our firms are utilizing the latest in IT protection, keeping South Carolina businesses and its employees secure,” Hitt said.

SC Cyber also will develop educational content that can be disseminated to partner institutions and interested parties nationwide. By sharing the latest knowledge and techniques in threat detection, mitigation, response, and prevention, SC Cyber will help governments and businesses large and small to develop proactive strategies to assess and thwart cyberattacks, said Lester Eisner with USC’s Office of Economic Engagement.

“SC Cyber is an opportunity to build a cyber ecosystem that leverages the best of industry, academia, and government,” Eisner said. “By utilizing 21st century technologies, tools, and talents, we can improve the security and prosperity of our state and our region.”

Beyond training and education, SC Cyber will serve as a hub for research and development of new cybersecurity-related technologies through UofSC’s status as an NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education and Research as well as the talents and expertise of SC Cyber’s industry and academic partners.

By Jeff Stensland, stenslan@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-3686

Also see Columbia Business Report article.