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Securing Connections and the Cloud: A Night of Networking and Discussion

Last night, the Science and Engineering Complex atrium was elegantly transformed for the Tufts Gordon Institute’s “How Safe is the Cloud” networking event. Attendees began the night connecting with other members of the Tufts community, mingling over refreshments.

After the welcome networking reception, the focus switched to an insightful panel discussion on the safety of the cloud, including what companies and employees should do to prepare for eventual, inevitable security breaches. Scott Hilton, a Lecturer at Tufts Gordon Institute, acted as the panel’s moderator and navigated the conversation through various angles on this topic.

The panel was made up of industry-experts with unique, technical career backgrounds that deal with security and internet intelligence:

  • David Allen – Vice President of Operations & Strategy at Oracle
  • Ming Chow – Associate Teaching Professor, Computer Science at Tufts University
  • Hayley Cohen – Gamification Engineer & Executive Security Advisor for X-Force Command at IBM Security
  • John Steven – Chief Technology Officer at ZeroNorth

Each panelist brought firsthand knowledge to the discussion, providing guests with valuable insight into unexpected aspects about the cloud. Kevin Oye, Executive Director of Tufts Gordon Institute, later said, “It was one of the best panels I've heard, thanks to the expertise and candor of everyone on it."

Students Listening to the Cybersecurity Panel

During the discussion, panelists expressed the challenges that the cybersecurity industry faces as a result of many believing that security is something that falls solely on the IT team. “What a lot of people don’t understand is that cybersecurity is a broad field that encompasses everything, and everyone has a collective responsibility in it,” said Ming.

Hayley chimed in with her perspective on getting all levels of a company on the same page by saying, “No one wants to take responsibility [for cybersecurity]. Everyone has a different definition of what security means and it makes it difficult that everyone is doing different things and not acting together.”

David agreed with her sentiment and the need to raise awareness about cybersecurity at all levels of an organization. He said, “You could have a great security team, but it needs to be managed upwards to be effective.”

The discussion then shifted into the topic of data breaches, a topic that was right up Hayley’s alley since her role at IBM Security involves creating simulations of threats as a means to teach people how to be prepared and deal with potential attacks. She stressed the importance of having a crisis communication plan in place because when the chaotic moment of a threat becomes reality, you will not be thinking clearly and you want to be transparent with your customers, stakeholders, and the public.

John said, “If you can understand who will attack your system, where, and why they are attacking you, then you can protect your system. We are living in a time where the attack space has changed, and we have not had the technology catch up.”

Even if you don’t work in the cybersecurity field, here are three simple ways you can do your part to keep your online presence secure, in both your personal and professional lives:

  1. Don’t deploy technology naively. Take time to understand how things work before taking action, even if that means slowing down your pace.
  2. Take preventative action to protect your accounts. This can be as simple as setting up a secure password or not leaving connections open for attackers to walk right.
  3. Be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to having a crisis management plan. Think ahead of what to do in a crisis because security breaches are inevitable in today’s tech-driven world.
    Students and Alumni Networking