SAN FRANCISCO, June 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- NightDragon, an investment and advisory firm focused on the cybersecurity, safety, security, and privacy industries, and NextGen Cyber Talent, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing diversity and inclusion in the cybersecurity industry through education and career opportunities for underserved and underrepresented students, today announced the launch of the Coalition to Close the Cybersecurity Talent Gap ("Coalition"), a campaign to raise $1 million to help fund one year of community college courses for Bay Area students pursuing careers in cybersecurity.The Coalition is composed of more than 25 industry-leading cybersecurity and technology leaders that are passionate about cultivating the next generation of cybersecurity talent and committed to closing the cybersecurity skills gap. Driven to make a difference in the lives of students and their local communities, at launch, the Coalition has raised more than $300,000 of the $1 million needed to fund the cybersecurity education initiative for Bay Area students.
Through leveraging its vast network, NightDragon led the formation of the coalition including NightDragon portfolio companies, go-to-market and investment partners. Founding members for the initial cohort include: AllegisCyber Capital, Carahsoft, Claroty, Coalfire, Cyderes, Deloitte, Exclusive Networks, ForgeRock, HUMAN Security, iboss, Immuta, Ingram Micro, Interos, Knight Group, Macnica, Marsh, Merlin, Mezmo, NightDragon, Onapsis, Optiv, Palo Alto Networks, Prosek, Team8, Ten Eleven Ventures, ThriveDX, SafeGuard Cyber, Snowflake, and vArmour.
"There are an estimated 2.7 million unfilled cybersecurity positions. These vacancies create a significant challenge as security teams everywhere struggle to hire talent to monitor and remediate cyberattacks, as well as develop new technology to combat today's latest threats," said Krishnan Chellakarai, Founder and Co-Chairman of NextGen Cyber Talent and CISO of Gilead Sciences. "Solving the cybersecurity talent shortage will take a collective industry-wide effort. We are calling on the industry during the RSA Conference to contribute to the campaign and look forward to the impact we can make together to close the cybersecurity talent gap."
"The cybersecurity talent shortage is an issue that impacts all of us and is one of the biggest challenges facing our industry and national security. Let's demonstrate that as an industry we can come together to help solve for the talent shortage and foster the next generation in cyber talent that will help us combat today's threats," said Dave DeWalt, Founder, and Managing Director, NightDragon, and Board Member, NextGen Cyber Talent.
"The partners who have pulled together on this important mission are an impactful group of leaders from across the industry, which speaks to the universal nature of this mission to close the cybersecurity talent gap. By reaching out to the broader industry at the RSA Conference, we hope to show the power and compassion of our industry to help the underserved and enrich the cybersecurity workforce with more diversity," said Amy De Salvatore, VP Business Development and Strategic Alliances, NightDragon, who initiated the campaign and led the formation of the Coalition.
NextGen Cyber Talent partners with Bay Area community colleges to offer several cohorts of training programs, continuous career development and mentoring, and grants to hundreds of students pursuing cybersecurity education. The funds will be distributed by NextGen Cyber Talent to students at participating Bay Area community colleges who have applied and met the qualifying grade criteria of a B- or better. In addition to capital, founding coalition partners have also contributed additional in-kind donations, including lectures, curriculum materials, and internships for students.
"As we continue to focus on the essential mission of making each day safer than the one before, we have a responsibility as an industry to encourage and educate the next generation of cyber leaders," said BJ Jenkins, President at Palo Alto Networks and NightDragon Board member. "We thank NightDragon and NextGen Cyber Talent for bringing us together on this shared vision. We look forward to helping students recognize all of the cybersecurity career possibilities."
About NextGen Cyber TalentNextGen Cyber Talent is a non-profit providing a platform to increase diversity and inclusion in the cybersecurity industry. It brings together cybersecurity experts, solution providers and enterprises to make a difference in the underserved and underprivileged community and address a mounting cyber skills shortage and talent gap. To learn more, visit www.NextGencybertalent.com.
About NightDragonNightDragon is an investment and advisory firm focused on growth and late-stage investments within the cybersecurity, safety, security and privacy industries. Its platform and vast industry network provide unparalleled threat insights, deal flow, market leverage and operating expertise to drive portfolio company growth and increase shareholder value. Founded by Dave DeWalt, the NightDragon team has more than 25 years of operational and market expertise leading technology companies such as Documentum, EMC, Siebel Systems (Oracle), McAfee, Mandiant, Avast and FireEye. Read more about NightDragon at www.nightdragon.com.