The cyber security industry in Massachusetts is dealing with a shortage of professionals, which makes the state vulnerable to hackers. According to a report on MassLive.com, President of Bay Path University Dr. Carol Leary noted the lack of untrained professionals is becoming a problem.
"We have a severe talent gap in the cyber industry," Leary said at a cyber security hearing — held by the Legislature's House Committee on Technology and Intergovernmental Affairs, and Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.
The hearing came at a time when concerns about the nation's computer security are in the spotlight with the mid-term elections coming up. With Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, and major data breaches from the likes of Equifax, the worries about cyber security are increasing and requiring the need for more professionals.
During the same hearing, MassLive reported that Delcie Bean, founder and CEO of technology consulting firm Paragus IT, said small businesses in the state are struggling to protect their computer networks. They lack the resources to keep up with the recommendation by the government or the requirements that their larger clients have. Bean even said two small businesses went under because of audits that showed they couldn't keep up with the IT requirements established with their customers.
"Massachusetts residents' data is easy to be stolen from small businesses," Bean said.
Bay Path University and the Economic Development Council (EDC) of Western Mass are calling for a study so that cyber security standards can be created, as well as an audit tool that suppliers could use to measure their security.
Richard Sullivan, president and CEO of the Western Mass EDC also appeared at the hearing and, according to MassLive, said that around 80 percent of data breaches happen first in small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), particularly manufacturers. He pointed to precision manufacturing as being particularly at risk because companies work in sectors like aviation, medical devices, and defense.