Cyber Policies - woman speaking at event

RBC powers initiative to help create better cyber policies as part of Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst

​​​​​​​Read Time : 3 minutes 

There’s a global skills shortage in cyber security – although the shortfall of skilled workers in the industry sunk from 3.12 million in 2020 to 2.72 million in 2021, the size of the workforce is still 65% below what it needs to be, according to the latest figures from the 2021 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study. Making sure RBC employees and our communities have the right skills to seize the opportunities a new digital economy presents is more important than ever.

At RBC, investing in technology and innovation is a top priority, and we believe that collaboration between industry, government and academic institutions will help drive future success in Canada. That’s why we’re one of a group of founders of the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, a national centre for education, innovation and collaboration in cybersecurity, located in Brampton, Ontario.

“Collaborations with top schools like Toronto Metropolitan and other industry-leading partners represent an important step in pushing the boundaries of cyber research, to help foster early talent, build critical skills and enable our existing workforce for the jobs of the future,” says Laurie Pezzente, Senior Vice-President of Global Cyber Security and Chief Security Officer at RBC. “We’re working to ensure RBC is leading the way in building an inclusive cybersecurity innovation ecosystem for the future.”

In collaboration with the Government of Canada, Toronto Metropolitan University, Rogers Communications, the City of Brampton and RBC, the Catalyst helps create and maintain jobs in cybersecurity, including industry job placements through training and certification and jobs through commercial business acceleration. For RBC, this is an important way to ensure a strong cyber talent pipeline, as the organization is always hiring for positions like security analysts, data scientists, threat hunters and experts in access management. 

In total, the founders contributed $30 million towards the Catalyst over five years. RBC has invested $5 million of that in support of:

  • cybersecurity training with a focus on building a more diverse and inclusive talent pool,
  • creating opportunities for leaders and experts to share knowledge and develop strategies,
  • and new program to upskill RBC’s workforce for the cybersecurity jobs of tomorrow.

Impacts of COVID-19 on the cybersecurity industry

Well before the COVID-19 pandemic began, RBC was already focused on talent and technology to keep pace with the fact-changing environment. We’ve more than doubled our investment in cyber security over the past five years and our highly-skilled team of cyber professionals has grown more than 75%.
While the talent shortage has been a known challenge in the cybersecurity industry for many years, the COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented security obstacles to organizations around the world. Just as the most nimble and innovative organizations moved their operations online and pivoted their strategies, so have the most innovative criminal minds. As the COVID-19 pandemic began, ransomware emails grew by 4,000% and mobile phishing attacks jumped 37%. A 2020 report revealed 57% of Canadians claimed to have been a victim of a cybercrime.

The digital realm has clearly woven itself into the fabric of our personal, professional, and political lives, and many of the technologies that we’ve come to rely on are accelerating faster than regulatory bodies can adjust.

As part of our partnership with the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, RBC offers financial support to the Cybersecure Policy Exchange (CPX), to help broaden and deepen the discussion about cybersecurity and digital privacy policy in Canada, and to create and advance innovative policy responses, from idea generation to implementation.

“We live and work in a time of unprecedented technology development and adoption — further accelerated by events like COVID-19,” said Charles Finlay, Executive Director of Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst. “We need urgent national policies that protect our security and digital privacy, while ensuring equal access for all. That is why we developed CPX--to be a platform for debating and advancing cybersecurity policy that is of critical importance to all Canadians." 

CPX launches a new professional education program

Over the last three years, CPX has hosted public engagement initiatives, convened roundtables with industry and policy experts, and made recommendations to government for digital privacy and cybersecurity policy that will help guide us over the coming years. Most recently, CPX launched a new professional education program on Secure and Responsible Technology Policy — the first of its kind in Canada.

The program responds to the growing challenges of governing technology and its impacts on economic activity, social interactions, public services, and our day-to-day lives. Whether through public policies and regulations or industry standards and norms, it’s clear that tech policy has not been able to keep pace with innovation. The resulting risks and unintended consequences impact economic actors and consumers, public health and national security, marginalized communities, democracy and civil society at large. The program introduces learners to emerging efforts for embedding principles of security and responsibility in tech policy, and to practical approaches that learners can apply to the real world challenges they’re facing.

“Cybersecurity has quickly become one of the most important issues of our time,” says Pezzente. “As a leading organization in cybersecurity entrusted to keep our clients data safe and secure, RBC is proud to support the Cybersecure Policy Exchange, its ambitious policy agenda, and new professional education program. Questions of privacy and security are paramount for all Canadians and policymakers, and proper governance of these issues, as well as upskilled professionals, will ultimately contribute to a more prosperous and equitable world.”

The new micro-credential program launched in April 2022 with the first course: Secure and Responsible Tech Policy Foundations. Geared to leaders and professionals across the policymaker and technology communities, from governments and regulators to mature companies and startups, and non-profit organizations, learners will explore the landscape for technology governance in Canada and globally, and will be introduced to a secure and responsible tech lens for critically assessing current issues in areas including the digital economy, cybersecurity, and disruptive technologies.

To review cyber jobs in Tech @ RBC, search "cyber" here