On March 23. Microsoft showed its interest in bridging the cybersecurity gap by expanding to 23 new countries. This is a major concern for Microsoft because cybersecurity poses a significant threat to government institutions as well as individuals across the globe. The main challenge affecting most people is ransomware attacks.
The issue here is that there is an inadequacy in the number of people well equipped to counteract these attacks. "By 2025, there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs open globally, representing a 350% increase over an eight-year period, according to Cybersecurity Ventures." As such, Microsoft is working closely with community colleges in an attempt to narrow this gap.
The expansion will see new targeted investments in the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These countries have an elevated cyberthreat risk, coupled with a significant gap in their cybersecurity workforces both in terms of the number of professionals employed in cybersecurity vs. the demand, as well as a lack of diversity.
Also, through their U.S. program, Microsoft is taking an all-inclusive approach. This is in place to ensure that groups (including women) that would have been traditionally excluded get to grab their vast opportunities in the cybersecurity field. "We’re also launching a partnership with Women in Cybersecurity, a nonprofit with the mission of recruiting, retaining, and advancing women in cybersecurity, to expand their student chapters in these 23 countries, helping promote the retention and advancement of women in cybersecurity."
They will also provide free training for anyone looking to get into cybersecurity as a career through their LinkedIn Learning platform. Furthermore, Microsoft will also provide free security courses through their Microsoft Learn platform with 47 Learning Paths and hundreds of hours of content fr anyone looking to advance their technical skills.
At the end of it all, Microsoft acknowledges that some of these approaches may not work in all the countries that they are expanding to. As such, they will work hand in hand with the relevant institutions to develop a cybersecurity skills program designed to meet the specific needs of each of these countries.
As we speak, the work has already started in India and Columbia and everything seems to be panning out well. For instance, it has now been 5 months since Microsoft launched the campaign in the U.S., over that period they have managed to get 135 community colleges onboard. Microsoft is providing scholarships, free curriculum, educator training, and tools for teaching that will help to get more people into cybersecurity.