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Zurich Insurance launches Cyber Security Apprenticeship to address growing demand for cyber security professionals

Schaumburg, Ill., September 18, 2018

Combines real-world experience with classroom learning; Helps develop a highly-skilled cyber security workforce prepared to tackle threats of cyber crime

To meet the growing demand for cyber security professionals, Zurich North America has added cyber security to its 2018 roster of professional apprenticeship programs. Launched on August 8, the premiere class of four cyber security apprentices began the two-year program with the goal of becoming full performance-level cyber security professionals. 

“Zurich takes cyber security and training seriously,” said Paige Adams, Group Chief Information Security Officer for Zurich Insurance Group. “As a company with commitment to and expertise in cyber-related risks, and the protections against those risks, Zurich is invested in creating solutions that help businesses understand and protect themselves from these risks. Helping to develop cyber security talent is just another means of doing so.”

In 2016, Zurich connected with Harper College and the U.S. Department of Labor to launch the first-ever apprenticeship program for insurance professionals in the U.S, focused on advancing professionals in claims, underwriting and finance. To date, 18 apprentices have graduated and another 38 are in the pipeline. Zurich’s new cyber program builds upon that success and applies the same model to meet current and future demand for cyber security professionals. In 2017, the U.S. employed nearly 780,000 people in cyber security positions, while over 300,000 cyber security jobs remained unfilled, according to CyberSeek.

Like its other apprenticeships, Zurich’s cyber apprenticeship is a two-year program where apprentices work as full-time employees at Zurich while attending classes at Harper College. As employees, Zurich pays each apprentice a full time salary with benefits and covers their Harper College tuition. Upon completion of the program, each apprentice will have a full-time cyber security position at Zurich and be free of college loan debt for their Associates Degree.

Zurich is leveraging its expertise in managing the risk of cyber-attacks to give apprentices real-world experience in cutting-edge practices of cyber security. Below is a list of the focus areas.

  • Threat Defense: The capability to detect malicious activity within an IT infrastructure and to enable the automatic detection and prevention of malicious actors within a given environment.
  • Incident Response: The response capability of monitoring network conditions, investigating potentially-malicious activity and remediating/making remediation recommendations.
  • Application Security: The capability to protect the landscape of externally-facing web sites; detect and defend against daily attacks and prevent exposure of application flaws which could be exploited.
  • Vulnerability Management: The capability to identify, measure, report, and facilitate remediation of vulnerabilities to reduce the business attack surface.
  • Threat Intelligence: The capability to monitor for emerging threats and assesses their risk.
  • Red Team: The capability to identify vulnerabilities by simulating potential actions of malicious actors and testing the ability of cyber security teams to detect and remediate issues.

The curriculum at Harper follows the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) cyber security career pathway, and apprentices are required to complete six CompTIA certificates. Some of the cyber course areas include:

  • CompTIA Server: Teaches how to administer any type of network server. Covers server architecture, administration, storage, security, networking, troubleshooting and disaster recovery.
  • CompTIA Security: Covers workstation and server security, network vulnerabilities, risk assessments, monitoring tools, network security tools, authentication, rights and privileges, encryption, and disaster recovery.
  • CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst: Covers monitoring and detecting security incidents in information systems and networks and executing a proper response. Introduces tools and tactics to manage cybersecurity risks, identify various types of common threats, evaluate the organization's security, collect and analyze cyber security intelligence, and handle incidents as they occur.
  • Capstone Project: Assigns a hands-on, team-based project that will be showcased as a solution to business employers. Some teams may also participate in a regional or national cyber competition(s).

Zurich cyber security apprentices train beyond the cyber security discipline. They will attend business and insurance classes alongside other apprentices participating in the general insurance career tracks. The diversified coursework allows them to gain deeper insight into the industry, develop greater business acumen and grow into highly skilled, well-rounded professionals.

For more information about Zurich North America’s apprenticeship program, please visit the website.

 

About Zurich
Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) is a leading multi-line insurer that serves its customers in global and local markets. With about 53,000 employees, it provides a wide range of property and casualty, and life insurance products and services in more than 210 countries and territories. Zurich’s customers include individuals, small businesses, and mid-sized and large companies, as well as multinational corporations. The Group is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, where it was founded in 1872. The holding company, Zurich Insurance Group Ltd (ZURN), is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and has a level I American Depositary Receipt (ZURVY) program, which is traded over-the-counter on OTCQX. Further information about Zurich is available at www.zurich.com.

In North America, Zurich is a leading provider of insurance products and services, including workers’ compensation, liability, property, specialty and F&I (finance and insurance) for a number of major industries, such as Construction, Auto Dealers, and Technology. It offers life insurance and disability coverage in the United States. Zurich employs approximately 9,000 people in North America. It’s a top-four commercial insurer in the U.S. and has been insuring U.S. businesses for more than 100 years. Further information is available at www.zurichna.com.