Did you know that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month? Here at Cisco, we understand how important cybersecurity is in today’s interconnected world. Because the Internet touches an increasingly large part of our lives, it’s necessary to engage and educate the public about how to stay protected. While we highlight the importance of cybersecurity in October, at Cisco we have initiatives and programs in place to make sure the education continues throughout the rest of the year as well.

We start from the inside out, making sure that our own employees are fully educated and trained in the latest in cybersecurity. Our Cisco Security Ninja Program, which challenges participants to reach for higher degrees of competency and proficiency in product security, has been a huge success. Employees can earn four distinct belts– white, green, blue, brown and black – that represent their advancing cybersecurity knowledge. Additionally, we offer a program in conjunction with San Jose State University that enables Cisco employees to earn their Master’s degree in Software Engineering with an emphasis in Cybersecurity. Plus, every year we have an internal conference on security – SecCon – that brings together hundreds of engineers from Cisco offices around the globe to share their knowledge and increase the overall security posture of Cisco products. All of these programs help ensure that our own employees are experts at the latest in cyber protection.

Beyond ensuring that our own employees are well-educated, we’re committed to spreading awareness about cybersecurity to the general public as well. One of the programs we’re most proud of is our Cisco Network Academy. Cisco Networking Academy helps one million people each year develop technical skills and prepare for ICT careers. The curriculum – which includes courses on cybersecurity – is offered by more than 9,000 institutions in more than 170 countries. After all, in a world that is increasingly connected, cybersecurity is a global issue, not just a local one.

We also stress the importance of early education and to accomplish this we sponsor the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot program. CyberPatriot helps excite K-12 students about cybersecurity and other STEM fields through education and competition. The program features the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, where middle and high school students compete to find cybersecurity vulnerabilities; CyberCamps, five-day summer camps for students; and the Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative, which is a free class that teaches the importance of online safety to K-6 students.

These programs are just the highlights of our commitment to cybersecurity education and training. In our Cisco Communities, we also have groups focused on cybersecurity that help build a network of mentorship and knowledge transfer in that space. We consistently outreach to educational institutions to help with early education and awareness on cybersecurity issues. We’re proud to be the first Black Belt Sponsor for the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu and its Cyberjutsu Girls Academy, helping to advance women and girls in the cybersecurity field.

Through both our internal and external programs, we’re committed to helping educate and engage people on the issue of cybersecurity this month and every month so that everyone can remain safe online. To learn more about National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, go here!


Peter Romness

Cybersecurity Principal, US Public Sector CTO Office