Executive Director, Advanced Cyber Security Center
Massachusetts, at its intersection of university and industry assets, has been a leader in building the talent pipeline and fueling a workforce based on economic growth opportunities. In financial services, one of the state’s strongest sectors where IT is central to operations, cyber security job opportunities are in demand as finance firms continue to implement new technology and identify cyber talent.
We asked Charlie Benway of the Advanced Cyber Security Center (ACSC), a non-profit consortium launched and supported by Mass Insight Global Partnerships, to offer his view on trends in cyber security at financial services firms, the appeal of operating in Boston, and how the region is building a pipeline of IT talent for the financial services sector.
The ACSC, comprised of 27 New England area industry, university, and government organizations, takes advantage of the region’s resources to develop innovative solutions and strategies for protecting the nation’s public and private IT infrastructure. The ACSC focuses on sharing cyber threat information, engaging in next-generation cybersecurity research and development, creating education programs that will address the shortfall in cyber talent, and advancing public policies that will enhance security.
Members from financial services include: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, State Street Corporation, Eastern Bank, Liberty Mutual Group, and Manulife Financial as well as members from multiple sectors including: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, The MITRE Corporation, Facebook, EMC Corporation, Biogen Idec, Foley Hoag LLP, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, UMass, Northeastern University, Boston University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MIT, and Harvard University to name a few.
What trends do you see as financial services continue to innovate with technology?
As technology and innovation proliferate every aspect of financial services, cyber security has become one of the industry’s greatest challenges. In our region, the financial services sector has taken a leadership role, especially within the ACSC, in proactively facing these threats on a variety of levels. More firms are sharing threat information to deter attacks. More technologies are being born to help manage risk. More IT leaders are collaborating on best practices. Above all, cyber security has been elevated from a back operations IT issue to an enterprise-wide effort to protect data. From password protections at the employee and customer level to budget decisions at the C-suite level, firms – especially financial firms entrenched in Big Data – are rethinking technology, operations, and talent management through a cyber security risk management lens.
What are the advantages/benefits of having Boston/MA as your center of operations?
Historically, Boston and Cambridge have reigned among the top innovation districts, both nationally and globally, across various industries including IT, biotech, pharma, and cyber security. With our advanced infrastructure, diverse financial services portfolio, and world-renowned universities fostering university-industry partnerships, cutting edge research, and a spirit of entrepreneurship, Massachusetts is uniquely positioned to lead the charge against the growing number of cyber security threats and tech challenges. Our universities provide a direct pipeline to the talent needed to solve the next generation of cyber security challenges, and our city’s robust venture capital funding provides the resources needed to bring these solutions to fruition.
How does the regional financial services ecosystem affect your talent pipeline?
Massachusetts’s financial services sector is among the top three for-profit gross state product drivers, providing supporting industries, including IT and cyber security, with jobs and opportunities. Finance is one of the key sectors in Massachusetts supplying innovating companies and universities with the needed capital to grow and conduct research. To meet the growing cyber security workforce demand, leaders at universities and cross-sector businesses must collaborate to build necessary skill sets and expose students to cyber security career paths. The ACSC is committed to facilitating university-industry partnerships that utilize our region’s intellectual capital to solve industry’s cyber security grand challenges.