The state of Maine is working on expanding its workforce by increasing the need for workers in the cybersecurity industry. To help accommodate this, the University of Southern Maine is expanding its cybersecurity program with the hope of helping fill these positions as they become available.
Over recent years, Maine has become increasingly more vulnerable to the attacks of hackers. Last year, the Maine School Administrative District 6 became the target of cybercriminals. Their payroll server was hacked by ransomware. Ransomware is a malicious virus or form of malware that will lock a system down until a “ransom” is paid to the cybercriminal who deployed it.
Maine is an easy target for these cyber criminals because of their population of elderly individuals and the dominance of small businesses. This creates the perfect opportunity to employ more jobs in the effort to fight these cybercrimes.
Experts have done the research and found that it is three times more expensive to clean up a mess left by a cyberattack than it is to prepare a business to defend themselves against one.
Now the state is pushing for job creation to help the state become one step ahead of these cyber criminals instead of being one step behind them.
At the present time, the number of cybersecurity jobs available in Maine sits at 1,000 and the University of Southern Maine hopes to provide the candidates qualified to fill them. Students are already coming from all over for the massive cybersecurity program the school is providing.
One student, Quinn Howell moved to Maine from Australia to become a part of their criminology program and minor in cybersecurity. Other students in the program have known that they wanted to work in the field since they were in high schools, like Andrew Butsch.
Butsch said that the field is still considered “up and coming” but the incorporation of cyber competitions is pushing students with interests like Butsch to build a foundation for a future career in the field.
The University of Southern Maine sees a lot of non-traditional students, but they believe that those students knowing what they want to do makes the decision to incorporate the program even more successful.