New York cybersecurity fund shows importance of investing in people rather than technology

It seems rather appropriate that the constant surveillance against cyber attack is being championed by the city that never sleeps.

The NYCEDC (New York City Economic Development Corporation) aims to place the city as the leader in security with the Cyber NYC initiative - and up to $100 million in investment. $30m will come from the city, alongside up to an additional $70m from private funding, to put together a series of initiatives. 

Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) has been appointed to establish the city's first international cybersecurity investment hub - a 50,000 square-foot space - while Israeli company SOSA is helping build a 15,000 square-foot cyber centre in Chelsea to 'bring together an international community of corporations, investors, startups, and talent to foster collaboration and innovation in New York City's growing cybersecurity ecosystem.'

Many of the initiatives are involved with fostering employee growth and skills. Take the 'applied learning initiative'; CUNY, NYU, Columbia, Cornell Tech and iQ4 will partner to provide degrees and certifications to 'train the next generation of cyber specialists', while Fullstack Academy, a software-specific development school, and CUNY's LaGuardia Community College, will get funding to set up boot camps on cybersecurity.

Cyber NYC has also got some of the best and brightest companies involved, including Goldman Sachs, PricewaterhouseCoopers, MasterCard and Facebook.

"New York City needs to be ambitious about cybersecurity because our future depends on it. Cyber NYC will fuel the next generation of cybersecurity innovation and talent, leveraging one of the world's greatest threats to create a major economic anchor and up to 10,000 quality middle-class jobs," said James Patchett, president and CEO of NYCEDC. 

This news gives a certain insight into how investment is being spent in cybersecurity - an element of technology, of course, but predominantly on people and processes. Writing in the IBM Security Intelligence blog this week, information security consultant Kevin Beaver explained the importance of giving cybersecurity skills to all.

"Many IT and security professionals pride themselves on their complexity, portraying a situation in which computer security is this magical and mysterious art that only those working in the field truly understand," wrote Beaver. "And yet this is really not the case - almost everything related to security is painfully simple."

These are best practices and skills that feel as though they have been recited ad nauseam; choosing strong, unique passwords for each account, thinking about which links to click, not connecting to unsecured networks and so on. But society - or organisations - can only move as fast as its slowest member.

"It's critical for organisations to have everyone connecting the dots and following the concept of relentless incrementalism - a little bit every day, time and again," added Beaver. "That means getting more information, getting better information and sharing wisdom when it should be shared.

"All of it works together to change behaviour for the greater good of the business. Whether you realise it or not, everything counts."

New York is not only interested in beefing up its cybersecuity reputation. In May, the NYCEDC announced it was setting up a resource centre and public competition to 'position the city as an accessible centre for blockchain innovation.' in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

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