Looking for personnel to beef up your cybersecurity? Good luck.

By 2019, 2 million jobs in cyber security will go unfilled for lack of candidates with the needed skills, warned Ron Culler, CTO of Secure Designs at the WRAL TechWire Executive Exchange event, “Hackers, Malware, Ransomware and You” on Tuesday.

Culler, part of the panel discussion on the impact of cyber security on the economy and jobs, said, “Security is needed in every business, no matter how big or how small you are. Businesses, if they want to stay in business, have to pay attention to the best security practices and tools.”

Unfortunately, he said, without regulation most businesses look at just the financial cost of security and they ignore it, which means they ignore the safety of your information. That’s one reason for all the prominent and all too successful hacking attacks recently. Another problem, though, is that not enough skilled security experts are available.

“There is money to be made in security, but you need real world experience,” Culler said.

Matthew Zullo, department head for networking and computer technologies at Wake Tech community college, noted that his school and others in the North Carolina Community College system have programs that can train company employees or those just coming out of high school in a variety of digital security fields. He said later that Wake Tech and other schools will even tailor programs to meet the specific needs of businesses. “We’ll build what you need. Tap into your pool of candidates from community colleges,” he suggested.

The community colleges also partner with businesses to provide work-based training.

Currently, there are no bachelor degree programs in computer security in NC. Culler praised other aspects of the state, however. “NC is connected. There is a lot of glass in the ground. I have a lot of access to technology where ever I am. The environment, cost of living, and resources make this a desirable place. You don’t need a $300,000 a year job or to live in the back of your car like you would in San Jose. But the bad guys (cyber criminals) are everywhere. They’re a 24-hour a day threat.”

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Jane Nickles, CIO of the City of Greensboro, described the Triad city’s development of its municipal network which recently received a global cyber security certification. She said security was a high priority, but that Greensboro had trouble finding security personnel with the skills it needs. It is working on programs to address that. The city also partners with businesses to provide work-training.

In addition, it educates employees on such cyber security threats as phishing by sending fake phishing emails. “We had a lot of employees click on them,” Nickles said. But thereafter, they became aware of the dangers.

A member of the audience asked about the security problems posed by the Internet of Things.

“IOT is the wild west,” said Culler. Companies making IOT devices are not technology companies, he said. “They are car manufacturers and refrigerator manufacturers. They have no clue what those devices are doing.” He recommends, “Segment your environment. Control access. Know who goes where on what.”

The panel also briefly discussed diversity in technology employment, particularly getting more women into the field. “Diversity in life experience is huge,” said Culler. It aids in understanding how people think.”

Moderator was Marc Montoro, general manager of Raleigh Data Center, NorthState Technology Solutions.