The 2019 CyberSmart Summit (May 29-30) will bring together leaders from industry, academia, and government to advance national and international collaboration in cybersecurity skills and workforce development. This multi-day event, now in its third year, is designed to help identify the actions required to move towards overcoming the workforce challenges we face.

Darryl Esau, Vice-President – Learning Services, with Bulletproof in Fredericton, is among this year’s panelists for the third time.

ONB spoke to Esau to learn more.

ONB: First, can you tell us a bit about your work?

Darryl Esau - Bulletproof - CyberSmart Summit 2019 Esau: Under Bulletproof’s Learning Services umbrella we offer every modality of training. The stats are well known; the gap between the demand and the supply for cybersecurity professionals is still too wide. We’re a supplier, so it would behoove us to not fully understand the needs of the industry so we can prepare people for great jobs in that field. Hence our repeated participation in CyberSmart.

There is essentially zero unemployment in cybersecurity. If you are properly trained you are virtually guaranteed work in cybersecurity right now. That makes the sector unique in the IT world and makes the Summit extremely valuable. I wish more parents and career counselors knew these facts and pushed more of our young people towards this sector.

What would you say to convince other companies of the value of the Summit?

I think a lot of private sector folks might see CyberSmart as strictly an event for technology professionals, but that’s not true. I would love to see more industry at the event, people that aren’t IT sector businesses. From my experience over the last couple of years, it’s become obvious that everyone can benefit from this event. Whether you’re in IT or making bread or building widgets, you must address cybersecurity.

Also, I’ve found that CyberSmart brings people together in unique ways. The traditional IT industry has matured to the point where it’s highly competitive. Everyone is well established and have found their footprints. What I’m finding within cybersecurity is that the vastness of the demand is bringing together what would traditionally be competitors into cooperative endeavors. I’ve never seen that before.

For me, what’s exciting about CyberSmart is not simply hearing other presenters, it’s meeting other providers that could be partners, not competitors. People are willing to share and get in-depth about their challenges. There’s a sense of cooperation; it’s like networking on steroids.

What can people expect from your involvement in this year’s event?

I’ll be part of a Certification Standards panel moderated by CyberNB. We’ll discuss the results of a project we’re working on which creates, as the name suggests, certification standards in cybersecurity. I’ll have more details on it as the Summit approaches.

The other panel is one I’m quite passionate about, Customized Training in Cybersecurity for Aboriginal Peoples. In partnership with PETL, JEDI, and CCNB, we have developed a customized cybersecurity education program for First Nations people, and it’s been very successful thus far.

It involves two streams. One sees us injecting current cybersecurity standards into a broader IT program for First Nations. The other stream is essentially a fast track of just cybersecurity training for select First Nations people that have had previous IT training. It’s a more intense boot camp for people that are presently employed in IT or have a solid background in IT already.

Like I mentioned earlier, CCNB on another day may have been something of a competitor. We’re both in the training business, but we’re working on a project together with the government and First Nations. Again, this goes back to addressing the workforce shortage in cybersecurity. I’m happy to be presenting this topic at the Summit; beyond the fact that it’s great for the province’s overall workforce, it’s just a great initiative to be part of.

Join us on May 29-30 in Fredericton for CyberSmart 2019. Registration is still open, with early bird pricing available until April 30.


Written by Jason Boies