Sentara Healthcare is preparing for the future of cybersecurity with its Cyber Students Staffing Program. Hospitals & Health Networks reports that the Virginia health system recruits students from around the region to work in Sentara’s information office as junior cyberrisk analysts, junior cybersecurity analysts and junior security development and operations analysts.  

The system is currently employing 10 students who work alongside Sentara’s 16-employee cybersecurity department. The students assist with Tier 1 and 2 event triage; identifying and responding to malware call-back events; and ensuring that time-based compliance requirements are checked off. Those who work in risk analysis assist with inherent risk surveys, awareness and training programs.

"It's working out great," says Dan Bowden, Sentara's chief information security officer. "My managers keep bringing more students in because they're getting more work done."

The students typically perform cyber maintenance tasks while full-timers focus on highly detailed, risk-laden work, Bowden says.

Bowden says that to successfully replicate the program, organizations should bring students on as "continuous part-time staffers," as opposed to limiting their stint to a certain time frame. The continuous status will encourage full-time staff members to view the students as individuals who can be developed into productive team members, he says.