What is PISCES?
The Public Infrastructure Security Cyber Education System (PISCES) provides qualified students with curricula and supervised experiences to act as entry-level cyber analysts. Students analyze streaming data for small communities or municipalities who may otherwise not be able to obtain cybersecurity to the extent needed. Through PISCES, a reliable high-quality pipeline is being developed to address the shortage of cyber professionals ready for the workforce.
PISCES works with professors to develop a curriculum for students in cyber-related fields and to give those students controlled access to real data from communities and municipalities. Students learn and enhance their skills in detecting threats while providing information to the municipalities and communities to secure the threat and prevent future attacks.
Why is PISCES needed?
PISCES trains a future workforce of entry-level cyber analysts to meet with ever-growing demand for businesses to adapt to and protect against dynamic cyber threats. Municipalities and communities facing similar vulnerabilities need these services but in many cases are unable to secure the resources to meet their needs. For municipalities, collaboration with universities and students helps them meet these needs and remain protected.
What are the students’ key capabilities and for what types of jobs are they prepared?
Students will be prepared to work with and process large volumes of live data. They have worked with network flow data and developed alerts from an embedded intrusion detection system (IDS). These students are capable of monitoring real-live data streams in abundance and detect irregularities from expected data, pinpoint those irregularities to determine the validity in an attack or malicious actor, and through this screening, they report credible threats. With these qualifications and experiences, these students can work in diverse industries and sectors.
What are the incentives for getting involved?
Students ultimately benefit from working with real-time data and, through their involvement in this program, will have their information distributed to top-tier companies who seek to hire thus giving these students an advantage in the job market upon graduation. This symbiotic relationship with companies serves a dual purpose in that it provides companies access to valuable and well-trained new employees and it provides universities the benefit of name recognition, potentially higher employment statistics for alumni, and a strengthened academic program.
How sustainable is PISCES and how will you maintain the program?
Volunteer efforts as well as support from the Department of Homeland Security have supported the establishment and operation of PISCES. As the program grows, a goal is to partner directly with hiring organization (public and private) to meet funding and sustainability goals. PISCES has initiated a team to focus on this issue.