Cybersecurity in Colorado Springs: A Big Year Ahead
Colorado Springs, known as one of the nation’s top cities for cybersecurity, is poised to make major industry strides in 2018. This is largely in part thanks to the new National Cybersecurity Center, which is based in Colorado Springs and recently moved into their new headquarters. With state-of-the-art facilities and innovative leaders at the helm, the NCC is researching, educating and connecting industry leaders in an effort to tackle global issues in cybersecurity, such as emerging threats to blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. The NCC is led by Vance Brown, CEO of Colorado Springs-based tech startup Cherwell Software, which raised a $50 million round of funding last year.
National Cybersecurity Center in Action
In November 2017, the NCC brought together hundreds of tech industry experts for the first-ever National Cyber Symposium. Hosted in Colorado Springs, the event featured a keynote address by former CIA director David Petraeus and Gov. John Hickenlooper. This year, the NCC will again host the National Cyber Symposium on October 8-9, as well as educational events like Cyber for Executives, a two-day cybersecurity certification course for company executives, and Beyond Bitcoin: Cryptocurrency and Blockchain for Beginners.
In an effort to expand entrepreneurship opportunities in the cybersecurity industry, an alliance between the new Exponential Impact and the NCC will create a shared work space for the two organizations in the new NCC headquarters. Exponential Impact’s one-of-a-kind 11-week accelerator program will provide necessary training and resources to cybersecurity focused startups to help them take off.
Additionally, the NCC is partnering with Cisco and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs on a think tank for blockchain and other emerging technologies for cyber. Cisco, a worldwide leader in IT and networking, announced a strategic relationship agreement with UCCS and the NCC 2017 that will foster the development of a cybersecurity workforce development center at the university, the only one of its kind between Cisco with any university worldwide.
Making Strides with Federal Support
Last summer, Pikes Peak Community College received a grant of almost $1 million from the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment. The funding will help PPCC develop a NSA/DHS National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense two-year program, which will greatly expand the school’s current cybersecurity curriculum, and help the institution become the fifth NSA-accredited cybersecurity educational institute in the region.
As a subrecipient of the OEA grant, the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC is currently developing the community’s first-ever Regional Cybersecurity Strategic Plan. Through a professional evaluation of the city’s cybersecurity ecosystem with key stakeholders, their goal is to pinpoint and raise the profile of the community’s unique strengths and assets in the industry.
A Strong Foundation
These exciting developments over the past year reflect Colorado Springs’ ongoing success and innovation in the cybersecurity industry. Between September 2016 and September 2017, the Pikes Peak region contributed 9,500 cybersecurity job openings to the state’s economy. The presence of trusted corporations like Boecore and Polaris Alpha have also contributed to their reputation as one of the top-10 cities in the nation for cyber companies. Overall, the city is home to more than 140 IT companies, and the average Colorado Springs cybersecurity professional earns a salary of $116,000.