The digitization of the world has come a long way since 2016, when I wrote about how Cisco offers cybersecurity scholarships to increase the number of skilled cybersecurity specialists. And today, cybersecurity is more important than ever.
Our increasingly digital world is more and more vulnerable to cyberattacks. According to an article in Cybercrime Magazine, by 2021, cybercrime will cost $6 trillion every year in lost revenue, customers, opportunities, and out-of-pocket costs. That number is double what it was when I wrote that blog just three years ago.
Governments all over the world acknowledge that they cannot fight cybercrime alone — they need help from the private sector. Cisco and the Organization of American States (OAS) are dedicated to aiding in the efforts to close this gap. Recently, Cisco and the OAS launched a joint effort to create Cybersecurity Innovation Councils in the Latin American region.
This initiative will unite leaders and experts from the private and public sectors, NGOs, academia, and security technology vendors to work together to mitigate the risks of a digital world and democratize cybersecurity. Most importantly, Cisco and OAS will work together to leverage the benefits of digitization where it can have the most impact in Latin America.
Latin American countries are particularly vulnerable to cybercrime because there has historically been a disconnect between public and private industries, and there are few coordinated defense mechanisms to fight cybercrime. Public awareness about cybercrime is also low in Latin America, where, according to the Inter-American Development Bank, the annual cost of cybercrime is approximately $90 billion USD. By comparison, a 2018 report from the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers estimated that malicious cyberactivity cost the United States between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016.
According to the WEF Report, Regional Risks for Doing Business 2019, “Failure of critical infrastructure” and “Data fraud or theft” are listed as the #5 and #9 risks that Latin America faces as a region. As countries across the region digitally transform, achieving their national priorities will depend on cybersecurity.
To effectively fight cybercrime, we need more cybersecurity experts. Many more. Every industry is experiencing an unprecedented demand for cybersecurity knowledge and skills. Fulfilling their mission to maintain digital safety and security, Cisco is preparing the workforce that will defend and protect our digital economy.
To accomplish that goal, Cisco and the OAS are leveraging the Cisco Networking Academy in Latin America to promote educational resources that can help close the professional skills gap in cybersecurity.
As part of our commitment to social responsibility, the Cisco Networking Academy offers a comprehensive range of cybersecurity courses, some of which are offered at no cost to educational institutions around the world. These cybersecurity courses provide four complete learning pathways for students, taking them from an entry-level understanding of online safety all the way to preparing them for a career in this thriving industry.
Practical, real-world learning experiences from qualified instructors increase the employability of students who wish to enter the digital workforce.
Further to this point, I recently participated in a Spanish-speaking interview on this topic at Cisco Live! in Cancun, Mexico with Cisco experts on Cybersecurity and the Networking Academy.
Working together, we can fight cybercrime. We can build a bridge between the Latin America cybersecurity challenges and a Latin American empowered digital society. Together, we can create a safer digital space for all Latin Americans.