UConn establishes new cybersecurity center

The UConn School of Engineering recently announced they would be partnering with Synchrony Financial to launch Synchrony Financial’s Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity. UConn and Synchrony Financial are aiming to counter the growing threats of foreign and domestic terrorism with an investment of $2.2 million over the next five years. The center will focus both on information security training and research to help fight these threats.

The investment provides a lot of opportunities for students at UConn. Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing fields in technology and there are estimates the industry will be worth over $202 billion by 2021. There are nearly 210,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs around the country currently and the new center will be an outstanding resource for those wishing to pursue a career and fill those positions. Synchrony Financial also committed funds towards stipends offered to UConn graduate students interested in cybersecurity, allowing them to study and conduct independent research. Trained students will almost certainly have ample job opportunities at the Stamford-based company.

The importance of cybersecurity has been highlighted in recent years. Several large companies, such as Sony, have been hacked. Just this past year, the DNC was hacked as well, most likely by Russia. There is growing concern that hostile foreign entities could use cyberattacks against our government and military, and potentially steal information for nefarious purposes. It is critical that the United States train a new generation of scientists and innovators to counter this growing threat. Cybersecurity also cuts both ways, so those who are trained in the field will be able to better breach the security of an organization like ISIL to disrupt their operations. In 2015, nearly 400 million personal information accounts were lost or stolen worldwide, which was an increase of almost 25 percent from 2014. The U.S. needs to stay ahead of the curve, because the results could be disastrous.

This investment benefits the UConn and the country at large. It will provide students with numerous opportunities and will be one of the places that trains specialists to take part in this field. Hopefully, other universities make similar moves to train a new generation of cybersecurity experts. Whether or not others follow suit, it is clear UConn and Connecticut will be at the forefront of fighting this threat and protecting the privacy of information from the accounts of everyday citizens to our national security secrets.