Thursday, January 4, 2024

UTSA awarded $500K grant from Google to expand cybersecurity clinic

UTSA awarded $500K grant from Google to expand cybersecurity clinic

OCTOBER 18, 2023 — The UTSA Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) received a $500,000 grant from Google’s Cybersecurity Clinics Fund to grow the UTSA/CIAS Cyber Clinic. The clinic is a long-term initiative focused on strengthening cybersecurity knowledge among UTSA students and the community at large by hosting on-campus classes and workshops at the offices of local organizations.

The project will build on UTSA’s work preparing students for careers helping to protect critical infrastructure around the country. The funding comes from Google.org, the company’s philanthropic arm and is part of a $20 million collaboration with the Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics that Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, announced in June of this year.

In addition to providing funding for the clinic, Google is offering volunteer mentorship to the UTSA/CIAS Cyber Clinic participants. These individuals will have access to Google Titan Security Keys, a state-of-the-art cybersecurity program; and scholarships for the new Google Career Certificate in Cybersecurity.

Cyber attacks increased by 38% globally in 2022 and have cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars over the past five years. Despite the need for more cybersecurity professionals, there are currently more than 550,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. In Texas, there are currently more than 57,000 unfilled cybersecurity related positions, which is an 82% increase in open positions since 2010.

The UTSA/CIAS Cyber Clinic brings together two existing programs to reach communities nationwide. The first, the Whole Community Cybersecurity Program, is helping communities develop viable and sustainable cybersecurity programs across all sectors of the community. In addition to this initiative is Project Xander, which currently brings students in the UTSA computer science department together with local organizations needing help with their cybersecurity efforts.

The goal is to train 200 students in cybersecurity within the first year and to assist 30 community organizations both within and outside the San Antonio area. The UTSA/CIAS Cyber Clinic will engage other institutions of higher education to provide cyber clinic opportunities for their students and to encourage those institutions to develop their own cybersecurity clinic. 

CIAS Director Gregory White

“Cybersecurity threats are growing and impact every element of a community. Unfortunately, there are not enough cybersecurity professionals that can assist all organizations within communities — especially non-profit organizations and small businesses. This is an area where students can make a significant difference,” said Gregory White, CIAS director and a professor in the UTSA Department of Computer Science. “It behooves all of us to ensure organizations within a community are secure as we interact with them on a daily basis.”

“These clinics have been designed to provide the next generation of professionals with the tools and resources they need to succeed in the ever-growing field of cybersecurity,” said Royal Hansen, Google's Vice President of Privacy, Safety and Security Engineering. “We're proud to lend a hand to help grow a strong security workforce responsible for strengthening and protecting our infrastructure for years to come.”


EXPLORE FURTHER
Learn more about the whole community cybersecurity programs offered by the CIAS-ISAO.

The CIAS is a national leader in the advancement of state and community cybersecurity capabilities and collaboration. These efforts are seen in the organization’s focus areas of cyber defense competitions, cybersecurity training and exercises, and educational game development.

The organization is also a founding member of the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium, which provides research-based, cybersecurity-related training, exercises and technical assistance to local jurisdictions, counties, states and the private sector.

The goal of the CIAS/UTSA clinic is to increase participation of underrepresented groups in cybersecurity nationwide both in terms of students and organizations. By training high school and college students in cybersecurity and connecting them with organizations in their area, entire communities will have opportunities to become more secure. To learn more about how to create whole community cybersecurity programs, including the involvement of local high school and college students, visit ciasisao.org.



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UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


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