COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Officials in South Carolina said they will soon be developing a ‘road map’ to improve the state’s cyber industry.

Governor Henry McMaster, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and others announced a new initiative at the State House Friday morning.

The goal of the collaborative effort is to keep South Carolina competitive with other states in luring cyber-related businesses and having a workforce ready to take on these jobs.

According to officials, the state Department of Commerce will help usher in the development of a new strategic plan to boost the state’s cybersecurity industry.

Deputy Secretary Ashely Teasdel said, “Cybersecurity and staying ahead of digital threats plays an integral role in ensuring the success of industries across the board. A robust cyber ecosystem will help ensure South Carolina has the talent and resources we need to lead the way.”

Over the last year, consultants with Simon Everett conducted a wide-ranging analysis of South Carolina’s ability to compete with other states for cyber jobs or businesses. They said they looked at workforce development, educational opportunities, incentives and defense partnerships to name a few things.

Simon Everett Co-Founder and Principal, Brian Shea, said their study shows South Carolina ranked pretty well in economic growth but lagged behind other states in other aspects.

According to Shea, when it comes to the number of ‘information security analysts’ South Carolina is below the national average.

Shea said, “The good news is the state has already proven that when it points at an industry and says, ‘We’re going to grow this industry,’ it is very successful in doing so.”

Officials said a new group of stakeholders will take these findings and come up with a plan. Governor McMaster said the cyber industry has a far-reaching impact on businesses and families who call South Carolina home.

He said he’ll be issuing an executive order to formalize this next step. “It’ll have a thorough, comprehensive impact on just about everything we do in this state. Just about everyone relies on these types of records or devices. So we want to know what we’re doing from national security or economic prosperity.”