Security has always been at the core of Google’s products, and we’ve long worked to protect people, businesses and governments by sharing our expertise and advancing cybersecurity tools and resources. This work has only become more urgent. Cyber attacks increased globally by 38% last year, and our own research shows that nearly half (43%) of small and medium-sized businesses in Europe have experienced a cyber attack in the past two years.
In a world where threats come from anywhere and anyone, we need a diverse, skilled workforce to be able to match the challenge. But Europe is experiencing a talent shortage of up to 500,000 cybersecurity professionals last year — with only 25% of current cybersecurity jobs held by women.
That’s why today, at the launch of the Google Safety Engineering Center in Màlaga — a new, flagship cybersecurity hub for Europe — we announced a $10 million commitment to increase cybersecurity training across Europe. This will also form Google’s contribution to the EU Cybersecurity Skills Academy, an initiative by the European Commission with the goal of ensuring a more coordinated approach towards closing the cybersecurity talent gap.
Google.org’s European Cybersecurity Seminars program
Google.org, in partnership with the European Cyber Conflict Research Incubator (“ECCRI CIC”), is launching a new European Cybersecurity Seminars program. It will be the first of its kind in Europe, advancing cybersecurity skills development and training and helping local community organizations to build their online protections. The program provides universities with a cybersecurity training program and curriculum, allowing them to offer cybersecurity courses to students from diverse backgrounds and with no prior experience.
To mark the launch of the program, Google.org will provide eight universities in eight different European countries with up to $1 million in funding, course content and extensive training from the ECCRI CIC to help them bring the Cybersecurity Seminars to life. Universities are already able to apply.
Googlers at our new training center at GSEC Málaga, Spain
Support for community organizations
We expect to enroll over 1,600 students in the initial program during which universities will be given two years to run a minimum of two cybersecurity seminars each. Each student will be required to put the skills learnt in the classroom into practice: supporting at least two community organizations to boost their cyber protections, reaching at least 3,200 organizations in the first two years of the program alone. In collaboration with our EU-based digital transformation partner, leading GovTech company PUBLIC, each university cohort selected for funding through the program will have the option to receive donated Titan Security Keys and no-cost training from Google employees about how to enroll in and use Google’s Advanced Protection Program.
The first fully flexible cybersecurity curriculum
The program will also fund ECCRI CIC’s creation of educational resources for universities, including the first flexible cybersecurity curriculum, offering an entry-level overview of the field and basic skills which can be used to support community organizations most vulnerable to cyber attacks. The curriculum will be translated into eight European languages — including English, Spanish and Ukrainian — and will be available free of charge for all academic institutions to use, along with comprehensive teaching instructions. Through this, we hope to reach many universities beyond those initial eight receiving funding.
Across Europe, Google has already trained 12 million people in digital skills — as well as launching Google Career Certificates in English, Spanish and French earlier this year.