1,000 CyberKnights Looking to Support Industry and Government

Image of a hacker sitting in the dark on a laptop in front of the American flag. Text display "1,000 CyberKnights!" with CyberKnights logo in top left corner

May 17, 2022 | 3 minute read

Finding and retaining cybersecurity talent at every organizational level is critical to a secure, digital infrastructure. As the world’s economy increases its digital capacity and more public and private entities embrace digital transformation, collective assets fall vulnerable to increasing cyber threats and criminal attacks. This puts every organization across all industries at high risk. Apart from the ongoing challenges faced hiring and retaining certified cybersecurity talent, leaders worldwide seek to mobilize initiatives that will increase diversity of historically marginalized people, raise awareness of cybersecurity, and support training and development models to close cybersecurity skills gaps in their organizations.

In their 2022 Cybersecurity Skills Gap Global Research Report, cybersecurity company, Fortinet, found that two-thirds of leaders (67%) worldwide express concerns about additional risks they face due to the skills gap within their organization. These risks come with heavy financial burdens, to which point Fortinet also cites of the past year, “A staggering 38% of organizations reported breaches that cost them more than a million dollars (USD).” Furthermore, this report highlights the broad range of cybersecurity work roles that leaders are prioritizing to fill. Each work role comes with specialty knowledge and skills that if left unfilled or stagnated, lead to exponential vulnerabilities.

CyberKnights is a skills-centric portal providing talent assessment, development, and retention support for cybersecurity workforce development. The portal recently reached a milestone of 1,000 cybersecurity candidate users spanning a wide variety of NICE Framework knowledge and skills (K&S), educational and work backgrounds, security clearances, and demographics.

CyberKnights candidates’ knowledge and skills are assessed through the lens of soft and hard skills, as defined by the NICE Framework (NIST SP 800-181).

The top four NICE work roles where 20% of the candidates had at least 75% coverage of the K&S:

  1. Authorizing Official/Designating Representative
  2. Systems Security Analyst
  3. Information Systems Security Manager
  4. Communications Security (COMSEC) Manager

20% of total candidates in the portal have obtained industry certifications with the top three:

  1. Security+
  2. A+
  3. Network+

Nearly half of the candidates are willing to relocate and over a third are veterans. 70% hold higher-ed degrees with career-levels split evenly between Entry-level and Experienced/Manager. Additionally, 20% of CyberKnights candidate users hold active clearances.

Portal demographics, visible to Employers, reflect the lack of diversity in cybersecurity. Out of the 1,000 CyberKnights in the portal, 71% identify as men and 23% as women, with 2% preferring not to answer. Racial demographics show a majority of candidate users (49%) identify as White, in contrast to 19% of users who identify as Black or African American, 8% as Hispanic, 8% as Asian, and 2% as Other.

Pie chart display of gender demographics in CyberKnightsPie chart of ethnicity demographics in CyberKnights

CyberKnights Talent Assessment, Development, and Retention Portal

CyberKnights is where individuals, educators, and employers can all leverage the NICE Framework, for the purpose of assessing, developing, and retaining new and existing cybersecurity talent. It is designed to seamlessly complement cybersecurity initiatives, or programs, and features visual navigation of the framework. Individuals find out what K&S they have by completing aptitude and/or cyber range hard skills assessments. They can also map out their career journey scenarios for different cybersecurity work role destinations beginning-to-end, discover certification classes with related K&S, and view opportunities aligned to K&S-focused skills postings from employers. Employers can assess and identify skills gaps in their organization, search and match to talent, post opportunities, view cybersecurity training courses and curriculum mapped to K&S, establish training plans, and more. Academia can map their cybersecurity curriculum to K&S for employers to view, track students’ progress, and discover what skills employers are seeking.

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