NYC Seeks To Become Next Cyber Security Hub, Creating 10K Jobs

Dan Gunderman

Could New York City be the next cyber security capital? Its Economic Development Corp. certainly thinks so.

The Big Apple could be the next highly functional cyber security nerve center – with startups, analyst firms and a large roster of academics.

According to the New York Daily News, the city’s Economic Development Corp. (EDC) announced last week that it intends to invest heavily in cyber security, to make the nation’s largest city equally robust in terms of fleshing out and combating cyber threats.

The EDC has committed $30 million to the initiative – with the goal of creating 10,000 new jobs. To reach that end, it will release a request for proposals (RFP), to lure the best and brightest. The benefits of such a visible move appear to be many.

The cyber center would be a bustling workspace for practitioners in the field. Research firms would help prove that, giving the city’s hub more depth and ability to both fight and analyze breaches, advanced persistent threats (APT), zero-day surprises, and other complicated affairs.

The city’s move to create this workspace reportedly came after learning about alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The Eurasian world power allegedly tapped into thousands of emails and injected partisan propaganda into social media sites, to influence the outcome of the election.

To bolster U.S. defenses against attacks of this sort, New York believes it can become a productive locale for cyber innovation. Another benefit: the proposed 10,000 new jobs that would emerge.

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President of the EDC James Patchett said, “In a lot of ways, we see some of the biggest challenges of today being the biggest jobs of tomorrow. It’s very much true that risks are opportunities.”

The proposed hub would likely mesh well with the city’s already rooted commerce system, customer base and infrastructure. With top industries in the city like financial services, health care and media, additional protection on the cyber front could certainly help keep sensitive data stored.

Not only would the proposal bring startups and research firms to the city, but it would also lure clients and investors to the space. While no location has been decided upon, city officials said it would make sense if it was established near the Flatiron District or lower Manhattan.

The proposal also aims to utilize and groom more local cyber security talent. The area’s cyber security academic programs pale in comparison to other locales. The University of Maryland has a reported 8,000 people in its cyber security programs. The John Jay College of Criminal Justice cyber security program boasts 550 people.

A part of the EDC plan also entails creating a sort of cyber security “boot camp” for prospective candidates without formal education.

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Cyber security has rooted itself firmly in other destinations around the globe. This includes Silicon Valley, Boston, the Washington, D.C. area and Tel-Aviv, Israel, to name a few.

Due to a hands-on approach, Israel became a cyber security powerhouse in recent years. In fact, according to Forbes, it is an $82 billion industry. Israel collaborates with world powers (this year it announced the U.S.-Israeli bilateral cyber working group to help develop and test innovative defenses) and assists smaller nations – in building startups. Last year, Israel exported a reported $6.5 billion worth of cyber security products.

According to the nation’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, it convinced more than 30 multinationals to establish local research and development (R&D) centers. It also attracts foreign investors and accounted for 20% of global private cyber security investments in 2016, according to the prime minister.

There is a growing cyber security outpost outside Washington, D.C., as well – in spots like Ashburn, Va., a technology space now called “Data Center Alley” because of its possession of a massive amount of data.

According to CIO Dive, much of the world’s internet traffic passes through this nerve center. Its proximity to military installations and agencies makes the area an optimal cyber security home base. The area around Arlington, Va. has been dubbed “Cyber Corridor.” Between October 2016 and September 2017, the state also offered up 33,454 cyber security-specific jobs.

Other locales such as Silicon Valley in the San Francisco Bay area, and Boston, Mass., also have concentrated cyber security infrastructure. Silicon Valley often finds itself in the headlines for its product innovation, while Boston houses technical schools and research firms which pore over data-rich information.