Cybersecurity in the American South – How the Southern States are Playing a Key Role in Defending the Grid

by Alisa Chestler
Global SecuityAs cybersecurity threats become increasingly more common and complex, businesses and governments globally are responding by trying to improve their defense infrastructure. Last week we looked at the way that Israel has risen to a global cybersecurity leader, and today we’ll discuss why the American South is another region that is leading the way in this crucial area.

1. Quality educational institutions

In the 1980s, Information Technology was the top area of study for students that wanted to be on the cutting edge of in industry — the technology was exciting and the jobs were plenty. Today, cybersecurity is the new IT — and the American South is home to some of the best educational institutions teaching the information security leaders of the future. Georgia Tech, nationally recognized for its academic rigor and quality tech education, offers a Cybersecurity Certificate as well as a Master of Science in Information Security. Mississippi State University’s cybersecurity program was recognized in 2014 in the Hewlett Packard-sponsored survey by the Ponemon Institute as one having on of the best cybersecurity programs in the nation. These leading universities, among many other top-notch educational institutions across the south are a key element of the American South’s leadership in cybersecurity.

2. Emerging companies

Innovative technology designed to prevent cyber attacks and solve our information security challenges is another key element in the American South’s leadership in this area. The consistent stream of emerging companies popping up across the south like Ionic Security, Next Defense, and Bastille Networks is a strong indicator of the cybersecurity leadership in this region.

3. Government Infrastructure

Key US government cybersecurity units are located in the American South. For example, Barksdale, Louisiana was the provisional headquarters of the Air Force Cyber Command until it was permanently established in Lackland, Texas in 2009.  The Air Force Cyber Command unifies the direction of cyberspace operations, and provides strong cyberspace capabilities and expertise to the Department of Defense. Also, the U.S. Army Cyber Command is in the process of moving its headquarters from Fort Belvoir, Virginia to Fort Gordon, Augusta, GA. Army Cyber Command is the lead for Army missions, actions and functions related to cyberspace. The Army Cyber Command in Augusta, GA will serve as a single point of contact for reporting and assessing Army cyberspace incidents, events, and operations as well as synchronizing and integrating Army responses.

4. Research Institutions

Research is another key part cybersecurity leadership. One example of this is The Cyber Innovation Center (CIC), located in Bossier City, Louisiana. The CIC serves as the catalyst for the development and expansion of a knowledge-based workforce throughout the region. It is also the anchor for the 3,000 acre National Cyber Research Park, which provides a physical location for government, private industry, and academia to collaborate, perform leading research, and develop state of the art technologies.