Alumni and Students Gain New Insights into Cybersecurity during Inaugural Conference

November 20, 2019

Words by Richard Westlund

Edited by Robert Wagenseil

Defending against cyber attacks is far more complex than simply installing a firewall or changing passwords, according to panelists at the University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Business School’s inaugural “Cybersecurity Conference” on November 7 at Storer Auditorium.

“To improve your cybersecurity, you need to think about people, processes and technology,” said Scott Croskey, global chief security officer, Cipher. “For instance, you need to train employees not to click on a suspicious link or let someone without identification into a limited access building.”

Dean John Quelch welcomed nearly 300 attendees to the conference, held in conjunction with the University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Business School's 2019 Homecoming and Reunion events. “Cybersecurity is a growing issue on the world stage,” he said. “Hopefully, this conference will give you important information you can take back to your organization.”

Robert Plant, chair of Miami Herbert's Business Technology Department, opened the day’s discussion with a keynote introduction, which focused on the universal tension between the desire for security and privacy.

“Our personal privacy is steadily being eroded,” said Plant. “Your online activities are tracked, your location can be determined by GPS and you are constantly being watched by CCTV.”

On the security side, the threats are also evolving, Plant added. “Hackers are creating new ways to pursue information from the sensors, devices and equipment on the Internet of things (IoT). Home devices like Alexa can also be hacked and controlled from a distance.”

The Conference continued off with a morning panel “Does Your CEO Really Get Data Security?” that was moderated by Kim Hammonds, former group chief operating officer at Deutsche Bank, and a Executive-in-Residence for the Business Technology Department. 

Kevin Gowen, chief security officer, Synovus, said technology leaders need to translate technology into business issues when talking to their CEOs about cybersecurity. “It’s easy to get lost in the alarms and flashing lights,” he said. “So, you should emphasize the risks to the organization, such as the financial impact of a data breach,”

To understand the risks, Croskey suggested looking at international standards, evaluating your organization’s risk tolerance and setting up a security profile. “Then you need to actively communicate your successes and challenges to the CEO and the board,” he said.

While there is no way to guarantee 100 percent protection against a cyber attack, Juan Gomez-Sanchez, CSO, Lennar, said organizations need to have an incident response plan in place. “Our companies will be judged on how we react to problems,” he added.

The Conference continued with a second panel titled "The Risk and Consequences of Cyberwarfare," moderated by Ola Henfridsson, Professor, Business Technology at Miami Herbert, along with panelists:

  • Al Tarasiuk, Group Chief Information Officer, Deutsche Bank, former Chief Information Officer, CIA
  • Lauren Szwech, Special Agent Cybersecurity Unit, FBI
  • Scott Masel, Attorney, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Following a keynote lunch presentation by Manny Medina, CEO of Cyxtera Technologies, the third panel discussion of the Conference titled "Cybersecurity and Fintech: At A Crossroads" was moderated by Ernie Fernandez, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, University of Miami. The conversation featured a panel of experts:

  • Sandy Goldstein, BBA'81, MBA'84, Founder and CEO at Capsicum Group, LLC
  • Anabel Perez, CEO and Co-Founder, NovoPayment
  • Jorge Ruiz, Founder and CEO, FinConecta

Capsicum Group, an event supporter, published an article of 5 Key Takeaways from the debut conference, which emphasized the "forthcoming onset of 5G and the additional threat surface that comes with it, for the foreseeable future, the name of the game is upkeep and continuing diligence."

A final panel, moderated by Joseph B. Treaster, Professor, School of Communication, Contributor, NY Times, focused on "fake news" and cybersecurity. Panelists included:

  • Patrick Dyer, BBA'97, President and CEO, DigitalEra Group, LLC
  • Alejandro Mijares, Cybersecurity & Compliance, Risk Advisory Services, Kaufman and Rossin
  • Joelle Dvir, Attorney, Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Group, McDonald Hopkins

To view photos from the Cybersecurity Conference, click here. For more information about the Cybersecurity Conference and other Homecoming Reunion 2019 event, click here.

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