Last updated at Thu, 20 Jul 2017 19:27:23 GMT

40% of security positions will remain unfilled in 2014, according to a recent study by the Ponemon Institute. The inability to find skilled staff to grow security programs remains one of the key challenges for the industry. By contrast, criminal hacking teams seem to be fully staffed. We've all seen the outcome of this inequality in the high profile breaches of 2014.

Universities are doing the best they can to educate the next generation of security professionals. One big challenge they face is that their teaching lab budgets are not funded to replicate an enterprise network with all of its security solutions.

Rapid7 partners with universities to reduce the global shortage of skilled professionals

About half a year ago, a few folks here at Rapid7 reached out to some universities to see how we could help. We were encouraged and inspired by our conversations with faculty and got buy-in from the executives at Rapid7 to stand up a Higher Education Program. Now, we've got all the pieces in place to launch it.

As part of the program, eligible universities will receive the following benefits:

  • Free licenses of Nexpose Enterprise and Metasploit Pro for teaching labs
  • Free training and certifications for faculty
  • Teaching materials for faculty to leverage
  • Manuals on how to build a lab for vulnerability management and penetration testing
  • Virtual machines for the labs
  • Professional certifications for Rapid7 Nexpose Enterprise and Rapid7 Metasploit Pro at great rates for students
  • Community-driven technical support

Program already piloted with dozens of universities around the world

We've already piloted this program with a number of universities, as far as Germany, Singapore, Australia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. We thought we'd share their feedback with you:

“Students have been requesting more hands-on ‘real world' experiences for several semesters and the academic licenses helped provide them that experience which they felt was 'awesome'. One student has been hired by a security firm doing junior level penetration testing because of his exposure to Nexpose Enterprise and Metasploit Pro. It was the main difference that set him apart from other recent college graduates that also had similar experience in penetration testing.”

Gaelan Adams, University of Central Florida, USA

“Free Metasploit Pro and Nexpose Enterprise licenses enabled my students to have hands on experience with the best and most current penetration testing software and see its full potential. They were able to discover and exploit various vulnerabilities with such an ease that it was really an eye-opening experience. Now, they know that security is a serious issue and are familiar with tools that can help them.”

Sasa Mrdovic, Associate Professor, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

“My goal is to expose our students to the industry leading tools, like those published by Rapid7, so that they will be immediately marketable upon graduation.”

Dr. Shannon McMurtrey, Senior Instructor, Missouri State University, USA

“I believe that exposure to enterprise security tools is critical for the next generation of InfoSec Professionals. “

Jim Furstenberg, Cyber Security Professor, Ferris State University, USA

Eligible universities can sign up now

If you are a faculty that teaches a cyber-security course that touches on vulnerability management or penetration testing, you can apply to be included in the program. Licenses may only be used for teaching purposes, not for the protection of the university network or commercial work. If you are a student, please let your faculty member know about the Rapid7 Higher Education Program.