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(ISC)² Security Congress 2018 tackles industry challenges

Professional development will take center stage this week at the eighth annual (ISC)² Security Congress.

NEW ORLEANS -- As security professionals head to the Crescent City to focus on information security leadership and education, new survey data indicates promising labor force trends among millennials and underserved communities, including women.

Professional development will take center stage this week when the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium Inc. holds its eighth annual (ISC)² Security Congress in New Orleans. Attendance at the (ISC)² Security Congress is expected to top 2,000, as information security practitioners from 43 countries meet to discuss information security challenges in areas ranging from cloud security and IoT industrial control systems to cybercrime and incident response.

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), who serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security and is a ranking member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies, is opening the (ISC)² Security Congress with a keynote, "Cybersecurity at the Intersection of National Security and Policy." A New Orleans resident, Richmond was the lead sponsor of the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Strategy Act of 2015. He is expected to address threats to national security and election security.

John McCumber, director of cybersecurity advocacy for North America at (ISC)²,  based in Clearwater, Fla., is slated to discuss some of the organization's latest research in a presentation on Tuesday, titled "Today's Attitudes, Tomorrow's Opportunities: (ISC)² Tracks the Trends in the Cybersecurity Workforce." The double-blind study of 1,400 self-identified security professionals showed promising trends in the field among millennials, minorities -- including women -- and veterans.

(ISC)² is a nonprofit organization founded in 1989 that focuses on standard curriculum and professional development of its 142,000 members. Best known for its CISSP certification, the organization offers a growing list of information security certification programs -- SSCP, CCSP, CAP, SCCLP and HCISPP -- for security professionals worldwide. (ISC)² conforms to the international certification of persons requirements of the ANSI/ISO/IEC Standard 17024.

"Our focus is on the human capital, the workforce development for cybersecurity," McCumber said.

The (ISC)² Security Congress in New Orleans will have more than 100 sessions, covering topics ranging from smartphone ransomware to threat hunting.

This is a professional group of men and women. We want people to start with us, grow with us and then stay with us.
John McCumberdirector of cybersecurity advocacy for North America at (ISC)²

In addition to Richmond, others slated to deliver keynotes at the (ISC)² Security Congress include game designer Jane McGonigal; Theresa Payton, CEO of Fortalice Solutions and co-founder of Dark Cubed; and Jessica Barker, a U.K. cybersecurity specialist and co-founder of cybersecurity startup Cygenta.

This year, 30% of the 136 speakers and 20% of the attendees are women.

Cybersecurity is a field with new challenges every day. While many companies seek security practitioners who have mastered the standard curriculums and ongoing education credits required by professional certifications, some people question the value of training courses to develop enterprise cybersecurity expertise.

McCumber said the top five certifications pursued by security practitioners, according to the recent survey, were offered by (ISC)². They included Certified Information Systems Security Professional, or CISSP, at 17%; followed by Certified Cloud Security Professional, or CCSP, at 15%; certifications beneath the CISSP in management, engineering and architecture, at 13%; Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional, or CSSLP, at 11%; and systems level, at 11%.

More than 60% of those scheduled to participate in this week's conference are first-time attendees.

"The big takeaway for many of us is that this is a profession, and we come into it in certain stages," McCumber said. "And we continue to grow; we are not just a flash in the pan. This is a professional group of men and women," he said. "We want people to start with us, grow with us and then stay with us."

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