Cisco Systems, Inc.’s (NASDAQ: CSCO) Cybersecurity provides the critical foundation organizations require to protect themselves, enable trust, move faster, add greater value and grow. However, research indicates there will be a global shortage of two million cybersecurity professionals by 2019. To help close this security skills gap, Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is introducing a $10 million Global Cybersecurity Scholarship program and enhancements to its security certification portfolio.

The Global Cybersecurity Scholarship Program

  • To address the shortfall of security talent, Cisco will invest $10 million in a two-year Global Cybersecurity Scholarship program to increase the pool of available talent with critical cybersecurity proficiency.
  • Cisco will offer training, mentoring and certification that align with the Security Operations Center Analyst industry job role.
  • Cisco will deliver the program in partnership with key Cisco Authorized Learning Partners. This training is designed to address the critical skills deficit, providing on-the-job readiness needed to meet current and future challenges of network security.

Certification Portfolio Updates

  • Cisco is introducing a new Cyber Ops Certification to its portfolio of security certifications and revising its CCIE Security Certification.
  • CCNA Cyber Ops focuses on the role of the security analyst working in a Security Operations Center (SOC) which monitors systems and detects attacks. It introduces IT personnel to some of the skills needed in a SOC, giving them an understanding of how responses are coordinated.
  • The CCNA Cyber Ops expands Cisco’s existing associate-level certification offerings, which includes the CCNA Security designation, which focuses on the network security administrator role.
  • The CCIE Security revision addresses new expert-level skills and education needed to prepare security personnel for evolving technologies and security threats. This revision includes assessments on the latest security technologies, including Advanced Threat Protection, Advanced Malware Protection, Next-Generation IPS, Virtualization, Automation and Information Exchange. It also includes a new assessment approach focused on ensuring that candidates demonstrate knowledge and skills with evolving technologies, such as Network Programmability, Cloud and IoT.

Supporting Quote:

Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, vice president and general manager, Cisco Services, said:
“Cybersecurity is essential to digital success. Many CEOs across the globe tell us their ability to innovate is hampered by their security concerns in the digital world. This creates a big future demand for skill sets that don’t exist at scale today. We developed this scholarship program to help jump-start the development of new talent. This includes the opportunity to help diversify the IT security industry by reaching people around the world including veterans, women and those early in their careers, to inspire them to enter the cybersecurity profession. This is just a start to help us educate, train and reskill the job force to become the security IT professionals needed to help address this vast talent shortage.”¬†(Original Source)

Shares of Cisco closed yesterday at $28.84, down $0.19 or -0.65%. CSCO has a 1-year high of $29.49 and a 1-year low of $22.46. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $27.92 and its 200-day moving average is $26.62.

On the ratings front, Cisco¬†has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on June 9, RBC analyst Mitch Steves reiterated a Buy rating on CSCO, with a price target of $33, which implies an upside of 14.4% from current levels. Separately, on June 8, Credit Suisse’s Kulbinder Garcha reiterated a Sell rating on the stock and has a price target of $24.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Mitch Steves and Kulbinder Garcha have a total average return of -7.0% and 7.1% respectively. Steves has a success rate of 42.9% and is ranked #3219 out of 3884 analysts, while Garcha has a success rate of 55.1% and is ranked #321.

The street is mostly Bullish on CSCO stock. Out of 21 analysts who cover the stock, 14 suggest a Buy rating , 6 suggest a Hold and one recommends to Sell the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $29.90, which represents a slight upside potential from current levels.