Interviews

Addressing the Global Cybersecurity Skills Gap

Irfan Shakeel, the VP of Training and Certifications at OPSWAT, says his company’s Scholarship Program aims to enhance accessibility to CIP training within the industry

What is the importance of CIP courses?
Critical infrastructure sectors are increasingly at high risk of cyberattacks, and there is a large skills gap when it comes to cybersecurity and finding professionals who are trained to understand and protect these environments. OPSWAT Academy Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) courses promote the best practices and practical approaches that have been successfully implemented in the most secure critical infrastructure environments. Once completed, students are well-versed in practical cybersecurity expertise for OT and IT and gain knowledge about the latest technologies used to manage cyber threats in critical environments.

Tell us about OPSWAT’s Scholarship Program and the target audience.
OPSWAT’s Scholarship Program aims to enhance accessibility to CIP training within the industry. Given the significant cybersecurity skills deficit, particularly in critical infrastructure and OT/ICS environments, our primary objective is to mitigate this gap by offering Academy training. Through this initiative, we aim to equip professionals with the right skills to safeguard their organizations against evolving cyber threats.
The scholarship is geared toward professionals who are currently employed in the cybersecurity industry or students who are enrolled in studies related to cybersecurity or relevant domains such as cyber-physical systems, information security, or computer science to pursue a career in cybersecurity.

What is the onboarding process for this scholarship program?
Those awarded scholarships will gain access to a comprehensive course package comprising nine (9) certification courses provided by OPSWAT Academy. This access will be available for six (6) months following delivery, and students will receive certifications once completed.

Tell us about the regional partnerships for offering this scholarship program.
OPSWAT collaborates with various regional partners, including academic institutions and governmental agencies, to facilitate the scholarship program’s reach and impact. These partnerships are tailored to meet the unique cybersecurity challenges and workforce needs of each region, ensuring the training is both accessible and relevant. By leveraging local expertise and insights, OPSWAT ensures that the program not only addresses the global cybersecurity skills gap but also resonates with regional requirements, ultimately fostering a more resilient critical infrastructure ecosystem worldwide.

How does OPSWAT plan to take the lead when it comes to OT security training?
OPSWAT aims to lead in OT security training by offering advanced, practical training modules through OPSWAT Academy, tailored to the latest technological and threat developments. Our scholarship program democratizes access to this essential training, targeting a broad audience, including professionals and students. By updating our courses to reflect current challenges and solutions, and fostering strategic partnerships, OPSWAT ensures a well-prepared workforce to secure critical infrastructure against evolving threats.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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