AT ONE POINT OR another, much of the U.S.’s data passes through Georgia.
The state is a financial technology capital, with 70 percent of all payment transactions handled in Atlanta. And Georgia is a major internet access point for not only the Southeast but also the Caribbean and part of South America, says Stanton Gatewood, the state’s chief information security officer.
“We have a tremendous amount of information flowing through the state of Georgia,” he says.
But as more data is generated online, cybersecurity resources struggle to keep up. In 2017, the cybersecurity workforce gap was expected to hit 1.8 million people by 2022, a 20 percent increase since 2015. Sources say a shortage exists because cybersecurity is a relatively new academic field, so people haven’t had ample opportunity to undergo the proper training and gain necessary skills. “The crush of demand is coming at once, and academia can’t really keep up,” says Michael Farrell, co-executive director of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Institute for Information Security & Privacy.
In the face of this issue, Georgia is working to become a cybersecurity hub, amassing an arsenal of initiatives. The U.S. Army Cyber Command is moving from Virginia to Fort Gordon army base, right next to Augusta, Georgia. It will join the National Security Agency’s Augusta cryptologic center, which focuses on signals intelligence intercepts.
Augusta is also getting the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center, a cyber range and training facility in the city’s downtown. The state has given $93 million to fund this cyber range.