January 18, 2016

Colorado Spring Gazette: CU Colorado Springs (UCCS) will be a major partner in the development of a national cybersecurity center in Colorado Springs

Plans for the center started coming together last summer, when UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak and newly elected Mayor John Suthers began meeting with a group of business, military, government and educational leaders about ways to expand the cybersecurity industry in the Colorado Springs area. The amount of military and private-sector cybersecurity players in the Pikes Peak region made the Springs a prime location for the center.

"We concluded that Colorado Springs needed to put a big stake in the ground in the cybersecurity area," said Martin Wood, UCCS vice chancellor of university advancement and a key player in helping Shockley-Zalabak and Suthers develop plans to expand the industry in the Springs area. Many of the early efforts were focused on training more workers for the industry, which has not been able to recruit enough employees to support its rapid growth, through undergraduate and graduate programs at UCCS and other higher education institutions in the Springs.

The technology association estimates businesses and government agencies in the state today need 4,000-6,000 workers with expertise in computer networking and cybersecurity, a shortage Mitisek said is expected to grow rapidly in the next several years. Information-technology research firm Gartner Inc. forecast in September that worldwide information security spending would total $75 billion last year, driven by high-profile data breaches that hit retail giant Target Corp. and entertainment and electronics giant Sony Corp.