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NYC’s new cyber center aims to produce tools for financial and other sectors, boost workforce

October 15, 2018

NEW YORK CITY. The new Global Cyber Center launching here with a $30 million city investment -- backed by $70 million in private-sector commitments -- is aiming to foster technologies that will help protect financial, insurance and other companies, while generating 10,000 new jobs in the city, according to Guy Franklin, the general manager of SOSA NYC, the firm hired to run the project.

“New York City is the number one financial capital in the world -- ahead of London because of Brexit -- and as such, it should be the cyber capital of the world,” Franklin said. The focus will be on protecting Fortune 500 companies -- 47 are headquartered in New York, Franklin noted -- with financial and insurance firms as the initial priority.

“But this is cross-sector, we’re also talking to retail, media and other companies,” Franklin said. “We will do innovation for them in cyber.”

And meeting the threats to the financial sector requires a broad lens, Franklin said, pointing out the potential ripple effects of a cyber attack on the subway system or even on elections.

Franklin discussed plans for the Global Cyber Center in an exclusive interview with Inside Cybersecurity near the new headquarters building in the Chelsea neighborhood of lower Manhattan, which opens in a couple of months. That building on 7th Avenue will include a first-floor public “showcase for cyber products,” workspace for cyber start-ups, classrooms and event space, he said.

“But all this activity is already happening,” Franklin was quick to say. The center’s efforts are not “space-related,” he said with a laugh.

“People want to be involved with the center,” Franklin said, “we’re creating a great group of people to exchange ideas and thought leadership. This is a place for CISOs to meet -- and the world will follow.”

The center kicks off with the support of the New York City Economic Development Corporation and corporate heavyweights like Goldman Sachs, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mastercard and Facebook, along with a commitment from the city’s vibrant academic community including the City University of New York, Columbia and New York University.

“Start-ups are reaching out to us,” Franklin said, and the organization also will “reach out to other cities to invite them to join us. … It’s called ‘global,’” he said, while noting SOSA’s home base in Tel Aviv and its existing international partnerships.

The metrics for success include connecting emerging cybersecurity technologies to Fortune 500 companies, Franklin said, “and creating thousands of jobs” in the process.

“We want to make sure Fortune 500 companies and other companies will be protected, that they have the best technologies in place,” he said, adding that the center helps create “the infrastructure, the ecosystem” to make that happen.

In addition to “creating an ecosystem that connects corporations and investors and venture capitalists with developers of cyber technologies,” Franklin said, the center will develop a shareable threat-database, include specific programs to encourage women and underserved communities to pursue careers in cyber, and will have “a lot of training led by top former intelligence officers from Israel.”

Fullstack Academy and CUNY La Guardia Community College will lead a Cyber Boot Camp to prepare students and adults for careers in cyber. Fullstack will operate a “Hack-NYC” training program employing “real software,” Franklin said.

The Global Cyber Center forms a space for developing the security tools industry needs, Franklin said. “We’re connecting needs with solutions."

The New York City Economic Development Corporation announced the new center on Oct. 2.

“New York City needs to be ambitious about cybersecurity because our future depends on it. Cyber NYC will fuel the next generation of cybersecurity innovation and talent, leveraging one of the world’s greatest threats to create a major economic anchor and up to 10,000 quality middle-class jobs,” said NYCEDC president and CEO James Patchett. “We’ve convened a world-class roster of partners to help us execute on this essential plan, which will help protect the industries and people that make this city the economic powerhouse that it is today.” -- Charlie Mitchell (cmitchell@iwpnews.com)