SC Cyber is a statewide initiative, based at the University of South Carolina and with partners across all levels of academia, industry, and government, with a mission to develop the talent, techniques, and tools to defend critical, connected infrastructure within South Carolina and the United States.
In support of this mission, SC Cyber will create and offer programs for training and workforce development, education, advanced technology development and commercialization, and critical infrastructure protection.
The Consortium that is SC Cyber is committed to developing a unified approach to meeting the cybersecurity workforce and education needs in South Carolina. This is being done by connecting a number of ongoing efforts throughout the state and creating a dynamic and collaborative partnership. The consortium is working with cross sector partners ranging from K-12, higher education, workforce, and the cyber community as a whole.
Introduction & Background | Purpose | Programs Overview
Organizational Structure |Governance & Leadership
Increasingly our livelihoods – and even our lives – are in the hands of millions of connected, software-dependent devices. The advent of the internet has led to advances that were previously unimaginable, and we have only begun to scratch the surface of the opportunities that these new technologies present. Progress is not with out its challenges, however, and our newfound connectivity brings with it a host of threats to our security and privacy.
Almost daily, there are reports of major breaches of critical systems leading to theft of sensitive information and damage to property – both intellectual and physical – with many more going unreported or unnoticed.
Just as developing the technology to power the internet has created countless opportunities for
individuals, companies, and entire communities, developing and skillfully deploying the next
generation of cybersecurity solutions presents immense opportunities. With a combination of
assets spanning academia, government, and industry, South Carolina is uniquely positioned to
capitalize on these opportunities to better protect citizens of the state and the nation while
creating substantial economic benefit.
In mid-2014, representatives of the state’s leading academic institutions, private industry, and
federal, state, and local government organizations met to discuss the strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities, and challenges facing our state in the realm of cybersecurity. These
organizations discovered a common thread of need with each of the partners being able to
support and contribute in part. Seeking to merge the strengths of the partners and to realize a
collective impact greater than the sum of its individual parts, these groups came together to
form SC Cyber.
At its core, the mission of SC Cyber is to develop the talent, techniques, and tools to defend
critical, connected infrastructure within South Carolina. In support of this mission, SC Cyber
and its partners identified a set of pressing needs for the state:
1. There is a shortage of cybersecurity talent possessing the necessary skills, experience,
and the academic and industry credentials to fill current and anticipated openings, and
current initiatives are not training qualified candidates at a sufficient rate.
2. There is a lack of awareness among industry and government leadership of the
cybersecurity threats faced by organizations and that lack of awareness is contributing
to poor resource allocation and a failure to make security-conscious decisions.
3. New technologies are needed to identify and address threats – both new and existing – to critical infrastructure around the state while existing technologies need a faster path for validation and adoption by the market.
4. There is a need for the ability to rapidly share information among stakeholders as it is crucial to improving the overall security posture of the state and to preventing and
SC Cyber, both internally and through a variety of partnerships, seeks to develop programs that
address these identified needs. These programs fall broadly into five target areas: training and
workforce development, education, advanced technology development and commercialization,
knowledge management, and critical infrastructure protection. Descriptions of the early progress and current thinking regarding potential programs and opportunities can be found on the Focus Areas page.
Initially, SC Cyber is organized as a program within the University of South Carolina. Although
housed at and administered within USC, SC Cyber is tasked to provide academically agnostic
support and programs. The decision to create SC Cyber within USC was made to allow access
to initial funding, staff, and administrative support and serves to provide SC Cyber a runway to
develop early programs and membership such that it becomes self-sufficient.
Within the University, SC Cyber is a part of the USC Office of Economic Engagement (OEE).
SC Cyber staff are USC employees or contractors and report to the Executive Director of SC
Cyber, who in turn reports to the Deputy Director of OEE.
In the long term as SC Cyber grows in scope and scale, it will evaluate – with input of its
strategic advisors – any potential changes of organizational structure, considering the then-current financial position, administrative requirements, and ability to deliver the desired
programs and services. There are several potential organizational structures, using existing or
new entities, which could serve to advance SC Cyber in the future.
Governance & Leadership
SC Cyber is led by an Executive Director who is responsible for the overall execution of SC
Cyber’s mission, to include program execution and satisfaction of grant and program
deliverables. The Executive Director has discretion, with the advice of SC Cyber’s advisors, to
hire additional staff members as needed as well as draw upon the support of OEE staff and
additional resources across USC.
Two groups of advisors provide SC Cyber with strategic, technical, and tactical support. These
groups are designed to provide distinct but complementary levels of contribution. Descriptions of their duties and membership listings can be found on the Leadership Teams page.