As Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 18-086 Tuesday, UCCS Chancellor Venkat Reddy called the day historic.
The bill not only requires state agencies to consider stronger cybersecurity practices, like block-chain technology, for citizen data. It also appropriated $2.8 million to UCCS and the National Cybersecurity Center toward education.
We live in a digital age — with a cybersecurity problem that isn’t going away anytime soon, Reddy said.
"Think about how many smaller companies are being hacked everyday. This is of national importance, what we’re doing here, today," Reddy said. "So, it’s important to protect the personal information, confidentiality and make sure that we secure our assets."
Vance Brown, chief executive officer for the National Cybersecurity Center, said the nation’s response to hacks and threats has been lacking.
"We’ve got to get more proactive, and the best way to be proactive is through education," Brown said. "Let’s face it, education is the key to this particular war, and it’s very sophisticated."
Brown estimates between one-and-a-half and two million jobs remain unfilled in cybersecurity. But right now, the supply of those jobs greatly outweighs the number of people vying for them.
"We need volunteers that are willing to go learn about this new, let’s call it warfare, and how do we protect not just citizens and our private records, but our corporations and organizations," Brown said.
That’s why, with help from this legislation, UCCS and the cybersecurity center plan to hire more faculty and draw more attention to the issue.
They hope the extra money — $1.8 million to UCCS and $1 million to the center — will inspire future graduates, especially in Colorado Springs, to help fight a worldwide problem.
"We will really be meeting the workforce needs of our community and the nation," Reddy said.