Training Future Cybersecurity Professionals

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19 students from Asia Pacific College recently completed their internship program under PLDT and Smart Cybersecurity Operations Group. The six-month internship program, dubbed as the Cyber Warrior Course (CWC), aims to immerse students in various real-world situations that would allow them to solve cybersecurity issues. Photo by: Smart Communities Facebook Page

PLDT and Smart engage the next generation of cybersecurity professionals in the fight against cyber threats and cybercrime.

PLDT and Smart’s Cybersecurity Operations Group (CSOG) trained graduating computer science, computer engineering and information technology students from the Asia Pacific College (APC) on cybersecurity under a six-month internship program called the Cyber Warrior Course (CWC).

“Cybersecurity is advocacy. You need the discipline to survive the industry. I’ve had 27 years of experience, but I am still learning. You have to constantly push yourself to be better because the enemy is getting more sophisticated,” said Angel Redoble, first vice president and chief information security officer (CISO) at PLDT and Smart.

“Our students spend two terms on an internship. It has been a working success for us and our partner institutions. Internship lets students experience the workplace and the importance of why they are choosing this particular career,” said Rhea-Luz Valbuena, executive director of APC School of Computing and Information Technology.

Out of the 40 students who passed the interviews conducted by CSOG, 19 of them chose the CWC and were boarded into the program. Guided by CSOG trainers and subject matter experts, the interns, also called cadets, were immersed in the group’s daily operations — analyzing real-world situations and using scientific and empirical approaches to solve cybersecurity challenges.

“Every minute counts. You should be quick in addressing issues. We’re glad that our mentors from PLDT and Smart helped us with our tasks,” said Information Technology major Melo John Lorenzo, the Top 2 cadet of his batch.

The interns were assigned to the different CSOG subgroups called “pillars” to learn their specific functions and how they contribute to the PLDT Group’s overall efforts in defending the companies’ data, networks, systems and infrastructure and protecting customers against cyberattacks.

“The world has seen a dramatic increase in cybercriminal activities. Together, let us push back against these nefarious actors who undermine people, organizations, even nations, and help ensure a safer internet for all,” said Francisco Ashley Acedillo, assistant vice president and head of Cyber Security Strategy and Innovation at Smart.

Developing cybersecurity warriors is part of PLDT and Smart CSOG’s active drive to fortify and ensure the resiliency and sustainability of their cybersecurity systems, which is fundamental to the PLDT group’s much broader program to elevate the quality of customer experience by protecting them from cyber threats.

This article was originally published in The Manila Times’ Sunday Business & IT section. The article can be viewed at https://www.manilatimes.net/2022/06/26/business/sunday-business-it/training-future-cybersecurity-professionals/1848681