Visa launches cybersecurity training program

Dive Brief:

  • Card network company Visa said Thursday it has launched a payments learning program in response to a need for skilled cybersecurity workers, according to a company press release. The program aims to equip workers, students and military members with training in the field through online courses and certifications to create a pipeline of diverse talent.
  • Initially, the program will focus on payment cybersecurity, a move the company made in response to the White House National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan, which urges businesses to create more pathways for aspiring cybersecurity professionals.
  • The program is currently only available in the U.S., but San Francisco-based Visa plans to expand internationally, according to the release. “Our vision is to expand the program globally, providing industry-recognized training and certification to new diverse cohorts and global communities,” Visa CISO Subra Kumaraswamy said in the release.

Dive Insight:

Along with the new Visa program, the company offers an apprenticeship track to provide workers with an introductory cybersecurity course and on-the-job training. A military track for the program provides military veterans, reservists and military spouses with training in payments cybersecurity and other areas as well.

Ten apprentices were in the initial cohort, completing a 16-week training in May 2023, a spokesperson for Visa said by email. They graduated in September and joined Visa to commence a one-year on-the-job training apprenticeship, the spokesperson said. They have a hybrid remote and onsite employment situation, with half based in Ashburn, Virginia and the other half in Austin, Texas, the spokesperson said. 

The rollout of Visa’s new training program comes as the cybersecurity industry faces a talent deficit. Citing data from the Waterloo, Ontario-based cybersecurity company eSentire, Visa noted in its press release that there are 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions this year, indicating demand for cybersecurity professionals is outstripping supply.

Addressing the need for cybersecurity workers is particularly important for the payments industry so it can safeguard sensitive data, prevent losses, follow regulations and build trust with consumers, the company said.

“We have designed the Visa Payments Learning Program with the initial focus on cybersecurity in response to the White House’s appeal for support of unique career pathways in cybersecurity,” Kumaraswamy said in the release. 

The apprenticeship for payments cybersecurity will be expanded, as will a program related to software engineering, the spokesperson for Visa said. While this is the first Visa Payments Learning Program cohort in North America, the company has an apprenticeship program in Europe for its commercial business focused on client services, marketing and sales, while in the Asia-Pacific region, it offers a program related to cyber, software engineering and data analytics, the spokesperson said.

Amid a lack of cybersecurity workers, some categories of payment fraud have been on the rise, and payment fraud overall could cost financial firms billions of dollars in the coming years.

In September, Visa released its biannual threats report, which detailed an increase in ransomware attacks, enumeration attacks and card-not-present fraud as fraud overall declined. Losses stemming from financial fraud and crimes are predicted to cost financial firms globally about $40.62 billion by 2027, according to an ACI Worldwide report released in June.

“Visa is well-positioned to be a leader on workforce development in critical areas such as payments cybersecurity,” Jeremy Broome, global head of talent at Visa, said in the release. “The Visa Payment Learning Program will not only allow for diversification of our workforce through seeking untapped talent but will actively foster a more equitable cybersecurity talent pipeline and industry.”