NYC Venture Seeks to Spur Jobs, Innovation in Cybersecurity

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New York City wants to be the cybersecurity capital of the world. The city has launched a campaign called Cyber NYC to grow the city's cybersecurity workforce.

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NYC's Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC), a nonprofit organization that promotes economic growth and the expansion of jobs in NYC, and helps build relationships in the business community, will develop a 15,000-square-foot cybersecurity hub and coworking space in Chelsea to enable companies to fight cyber attacks. NYCEDC will invest $30 million from the city and will also gain $70 million from private investors.

Securing data from the cloud to the endpoint is critical with cybersecurity attacks occuring every 40 seconds across the globe. Additionally, more than 3.8 billion internet users were at risk of cyber-attacks in 2017, according to research firm Cybersecurity Ventures. The firm predicted that cybercrime damages could cost the world $6 trillion by 2021.

With the cyber threat growing, NYCEDC saw a need to generate investments in cybersecurity. "We're responsible for economic development in [NYC], and we believe it's our job to make investments where we can critically change the trajectory of an industry," NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett told PCMag.

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"We look for particular subsectors where there are opportunities," he continued. "Over the last 12 to 18 months we've been looking around, and it was very clear to us that we're at a moment in cybersecurity where there's an enormous opportunity for the city."

The purpose of the Global Cyber Center, which will be located in the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC, is to create thousands of jobs in cybersecurity.

"This whole effort is focused on creating jobs," Patchett said of the Cyber NYC campaign, announced on Oct. 2. "It's about bringing companies [to NYC] from around the globe to grow and incubating new companies to scale up the level of hiring."

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts the number of cybersecurity job openings to grow to 3.5 million by 2021. The opportunity to create jobs lies in the city's financial firms, which are the "single largest buyers of cybersecurity services outside the federal government," Patchett said. "So we know that the customers for these services are located here, and they also happen to be our largest employers."

NYCEDC representatives said they believe the Cyber NYC initiative should lead to 10,000 well-paying jobs within the next decade.

The Global Cyber Center

SOSA, an Israel-based connecting ecosystem, will run a coworking space to bring together large corporations, investors, and startups. The company has experience creating cybersecurity deals in insurance, finance, utilities, automotive and connected devices.

Opening in the first quarter of 2019, The Global Cyber Center will comprise eight floors offering cybersecurity activities and an opportunity for startups to network and collaborate. Training will encompass work in artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics. The center will connect participants with cybersecurity and software programmers. It will also enable people to run simulations at a virtual testing ground.

"The purpose of our platform is to efficiently and effectively connect demand and supply in a way that makes sure that business actually happens," Uzi Scheffer, CEO of SOSA, told PCMag.

"NYCEDC is basically launching an integrated initiative aiming to do two things: One is to position New York as the global leader for cybersecurity, and the other more tangible goal is to create jobs. Advanced jobs, good-paying jobs — cybersecurity analysts, cybersecurity programmers, and so on. So that's the broad initiative," Scheffer said.

The focus of the Global Cyber Center will be to train the talent and connect people with the academic world. The facility will bring all the stakeholders together, including Fortune 500 companies, banks and insurance companies in the New York area. The center will work with cybersecurity startups and then build up the companies so they can attract investments and then be acquired themselves, Scheffer said.

"All of our activities at SOSA connect corporations to innovation and startups and technologies in order for them to sign big deals in different verticals," added Guy Franklin, General Manager of SOSA in NYC.

The Cybersecurity Investment Hub

In addition to the Global Cyber Center operated by SOSA, venture capital firm Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) will establish a 50,000-square-foot investment hub and accelerator in NYC's SoHo area, called Hub.NYC by JVP, to support growth-stage startups, offer business support, and generate investment for cybersecurity companies. Hub.NYC will open in the first quarter of 2019, according to NYCEDC.

Larger companies will use the JVP facility to boost their sales goals and perfect their research and development. "The accelerator program will be focused on companies that are series A and beyond who really are in a position to grow at larger scale," Patchett said.

"What we hear from financial institutions is that it can take them a long time to internalize innovations that are happening from outside companies," he continued. "And so the opportunity of an accelerator is to really build that bridge and in some ways allow financial institutions to move more quickly through their own process because the reality is cybersecurity actors move really fast and institutions need to be able to move faster or they won't keep up."

JVP has developed companies such as CyberArk, a security software company, and ThetaRay, which offers big data analytics software based on AI and machine learning.

"We're convinced that New York City, the world capital of finance and media, will soon emerge as the new global hub for cybersecurity," said Erel Margalit, Founder and Chairman of JVP, in a statement.

NYCEDC will also work on applied learning initiatives with Columbia University, CUNY, NYU, Cornell Tech, iQ4, Fullstack Academy, and LaGuardia Community College.

Online learning platform edX.org will host a City University of New York (CUNY) cybersecurity master's program along with Facebook.

In addition, Fullstack Academy will hold a cybersecurity boot camp and CUNY's LaGuardia Community College will offer a six-week preparatory course in cybersecurity. NYCEDC said the Cyber Boot Camp will secure jobs in cybersecurity to 1,000 students at an average starting salary of $65,000 over the program's first three years. These talent programs will begin as early as 2019, according to an NYCEDC spokesman.

NYCEDC wasn't the only cybersecurity effort announced this week in New York State. On Oct. 1 Marist College opened a Security Operations Center as part of a joint study program in collaboration with IBM. Students will use IBM's QRadar Security Intelligence Program to practice advanced analytics and IBM Security AppScan to identify and fix application security vulnerabilities.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.