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Cybersecurity Threat to Midwest Due to Not Enough Workers

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa - The cybersecurity industry has developed a new threat, and it’s one you probably wouldn’t expect. It is a lack of workers to fill the positions which are open.

“We need people, in the Twin Cities we have a negative 16 unemployment rate,” said Rich Rhodes, of the Upper Midwest Security Alliance. “In Iowa, it isn’t much different and across the U.S."

This week saw the first-ever Iowa 360 Security Conference held in West Des Moines. It has been held a number of years in the Twin Cities area.

"We're here in Iowa for the first ever secure 360 Iowa event to provide educational sessions for people to learn more,” said Rhodes. “Our goal is to train the existing security professionals, try to train students that are in attendance, and create networking opportunities.”

Cybersecurity is now gone beyond just computers to all sorts of devices, including pacemakers, insulin pumps and a number of small medical devices.

"As we think about our connected life our cars, are smart phones, our smart watches, and our fitness devices, these are all connected together,” said Barry Caplin, who is Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer for Fairview Health Services. “Be an intelligent consumer, looking to what you're buying and asking questions.”

The IT professionals also need to know how to communicate to business management, not so much in terms of explaining malware, but rather how to protect valuable data, and what is the cost to do that?

"This is a personal crusade of mine to start doing a lot more activity in terms of giving small business owners some small but quick wins in terms of things they can do,” said Christophe Veltsos, Associate Professor of Risk Management at Minnesota State University. “Some of that will be making sure they have an antivirus, make sure the antivirus is up-to-date making sure they have a basic firewall."

If you're looking for information on cybersecurity careers or other information, contact the conference website.