October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The fact that the field of cybersecurity needs its own month is telling about the world we live in—and the need for people to be vigilant about their information. For the ninth year in a row, leading experts and aficionados gathered for NYIT’s Annual Cybersecurity Conference to discuss security developments affecting businesses and individuals.
In his welcome address at the event on September 27, Babak D. Beheshti, Ph.D., interim dean of NYIT College of Engineering and Computing Sciences, emphasized the need for cybersecurity professionals with robust training. “This conference is an occasion where professionals and students come together to explore various elements of cybersecurity strategy, thus building knowledge, relationships, and enthusiasm for their work,” he said.
In a wide-ranging “fireside chat” with Acreto founder and CEO Babak Pasdar, industry keynote Shamla Naidoo, who is the vice president of IT Risk and chief information security officer (CISO) at IBM, talked about the challenges of managing security among IBM’s six hundred thousand employees worldwide. Then, in the day’s only solo presentation, James Stanger, chief technology evangelist at CompTIA, gave a plenary address which explained how best to communicate the value of cybersecurity to an organization’s senior management.
Wide-ranging discussions, including audience participation, grew from the conference’s four panels:
- Addressing evolving threats. Several participants noted that human error and insider threats are the “weak links” in cybersecurity planning. Panelist Marios Damianides of Ernst & Young brought attention to threats by agents who leapfrog competitors by using stolen intellectual property and financial assets.
- The value and vulnerabilities of blockchain technology. Panelists noted cybersecurity vulnerabilities—and solutions—for blockchain applications. Salman Baset of IBM Blockchain Solutions advocated for an industry-wide information governance agreement to prevent data leakage from blockchains.
- Recommended tactics for healthcare, energy, and financial services industries. The panel highlighted the importance of sharing information among competitors. Fred J. Harris (B.A. ’08, M.B.A. ’10), technology executive at Société Générale, said, “Within the financial services industry, we compete in all areas except cybersecurity. It’s the one area where we cooperate.” (Harris also teaches at NYIT School of Management.) Raj Badhwar of Voya Financial agreed, saying, “We need to share within and across industries to be resilient against attack.” Protecting data in the health-care sector must include medical devices and implantable technologies. In the energy industry, integrating operations into cybersecurity efforts is essential. All speakers recommended offering cybersecurity training to employees across all departments.
- Educating and supporting cyber defenders. Speakers noted that industry certifications and stackable credentials are very helpful for keeping up on developments. In addition, security professionals depend on “soft skills” like communication and emotional intelligence. The panel also emphasized the need to teach cybersecurity to students in disciplines such as management, law, and psychology.
Learn more about NYIT’s annual cybersecurity conference.