The San Antonio skyline at dusk.

San Antonio Plans to Open Cybersecurity Center

The new center would be home to several municipal agencies and would provide 24/7 monitoring capabilities.

States like Georgia and Vermont are opening cybersecurity operations centers and cities are following suit. 

The city of San Antonio expects to launch its first security operations center within the next year to boost municipal cybersecurity, and plans to share it with other local agencies. The city plans to share the center with CPS Energy, San Antonio Water System and VIA Metropolitan Transit, according to the San Antonio Business Journal, although the agencies’ data streams will be segregated for security purposes. Local leaders are hunting for a secure building that will serve as the SOC’s home, the publication reports. 

As San Antonio seeks to build up its cybersecurity presence it is also looking to become a more attractive market for cyber talent on a more expansive scale beyond the SOC launch. Meanwhile, San Antonio is on the hunt for more cyber and tech talent. The cybersecurity and IT industries hold the “greatest opportunity for San Antonio to become a global industry leader” but too many jobs remain unfilled, according to a new report from SA Works, an arm of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation. 

The community’s first “IT and Cybersecurity Demand Occupation and Education Report” aims to “provide a useful resource for career explorers, individuals who are new to the field and still planning their career, someone who is planning a career change, or the seasoned professional looking to reskill or upskill as part of the next step on their career journey.”

MORE FROM STATETECH: Find out about the network and IT security solutions needed to defend smart cities. 

San Antonio Aims to Bolster Cybersecurity

Patsy Boozer, CISO at the city of San Antonio, tells the San Antonio Business Journal that the city is still in the early stages of deciding where to house the SOC and what kind of capabilities it will be have, but that it is more “cost effective” to share it with other municipal agencies

SOCs are the facilities where agency websites, applications, databases, data centers and servers, networks, desktops and other endpoints are monitored, assessed and defended. San Antonio envisions its SOC as a 24/7 incident monitoring and response center

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The local agencies also plan to create an information sharing and analysis center to share threat intelligence, according to the San Antonio Business Journal. However, their proprietary data will not be shared or comingled. 

According to the publication, the SOC will use artificial intelligence-enabled software in an effort to more quickly detect security anomalies in network traffic. However, Boozer says many cyberattacks still originate through phishing attacks. 

“A lot of what we see come through are phishing attempts, but our employees have been well trained,” she says. "We even have a phishing notification system through our outlook to report it.”

MORE FROM STATETECH: Discover why cybersecurity planning should be a top priority for local agencies. 

San Antonio Wants to Be More Attractive to Cyber Talent

The SA Works report notes that the top three IT and cybersecurity occupations in San Antonio are software developers for applications, software developers for systems software and information security analysts. Those three were identified via primary source through a confidential survey completed by over 30 small, medium and large organizations in the San Antonio metropolitan area that specialize in providing IT or cybersecurity services or maintain a dedicated staff of IT and cybersecurity professionals.

In terms of information security analysts, the report notes that a five-year growth projection, from 2017 to 2022, shows that there will be an 18.3 percent growth rate in these jobs in the San Antonio area, outpacing the national projected growth rate of 16.4 percent

The top work scenarios for such analysts include reviewing, analyzing and making recommendations to re-architect or modify existing hardware (including networking) infrastructure based on new or changing business needs; analyzing user needs and system requirements to determine feasibility of design within cost, time, and scope; and conducting changes, revisions, repairs, or expansion to application layers or hardware (including networking) infrastructure to meet new requirements.

Sean Pavone/Getty Images
Feb 25 2019

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