By Salve Regina University

Chief Information Officers representing seven of Rhode Island’s higher education institutions will be joined by global cybersecurity firm executives and leaders for a panel discussion designed to help organizations maintain an effective posture against the ever-changing threats from an invisible enemy. Organized by Salve Regina University in partnership with OSHEAN, “How’s Your Security Posture?” will serve as a resource for executive-level managers. The one-hour discussion is being presented live via Webex on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. The public is welcome to attend. 

The expert panelists, whose job is to research, understand and defend against ongoing cyber threats, will share their knowledge to help organizations develop a deeper understanding of how to protect themselves against attacks and breaches. Jim Ludes, Vice President, Public Research and Initiatives, and executive director of Salve’s Pell Center, will moderate the discussion. 

Cyber threats on the rise 

“With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to disrupt global health, economic, political and social systems, cybersecurity threats are rising dramatically,” said Irving Bruckstein, Chief Information Officer & Chief Information Security Officer at Salve Regina University. “The risk of cyberattacks coupled to our now increased reliance on digital tools and the uncertainty of the crisis creates a time of increased vulnerability and risks.” 

Bruckstein said cybersecurity measures matter now more than ever due to a heightened dependency on digital systems and infrastructure, cybercrime exploiting fear and uncertainty, and more online time leading to riskier behaviors. 

“Awareness of the current threat landscape and understanding the tools and methods needed to defend against cyber attacks is critical for ensuring business continuity during these extraordinary times,” Bruckstein said. 

Risks never greater 

“The cybersecurity landscape is one of the most challenging I have ever seen in my career in IT,” says David Marble, CEO of OSHEAN, a non-profit coalition of universities, K-12 schools, libraries, hospitals, government agencies and other non-profit organizations dedicated to providing innovative Internet-based technology solutions for its member institutions and the communities they serve. “The bad actors continue to innovate putting us on constant defense, challenging our ability to understand the technical marketplace while mapping to the realities of budget.” 

Defensive superiority is achievable 

“Today’s cybercriminals are taking advantage of the new reality of greater digital dependency and accelerated technology adoption,” says Marcus Fowler, Director of Strategic Threat at Darktrace, which provides comprehensive, enterprise-wide cyber defense by using artificial intelligence to more than 4,000 organizations worldwide. “As we look to secure users, both employees and students, from more dynamic places and on new platforms, traditional security approaches are falling short or, at the very least, failing to empower security teams in keeping up.” 

“As a CIA officer for more than 15 years, I needed to have a threat actor centric approach to security. However, what I have learned in the last 15 months in the private sector, is that companies, schools, and institutions can achieve defensive superiority by turning the optic inward and understanding and enforcing what normal is for their digital environment. This allows security teams to be threat agnostic, whether a zero-day, malicious insider, or third-party supply chain vulnerability. The application of artificial intelligence in the security space is augmenting human teams and providing the unparalleled environment visibility and awareness, conducting autonomous incident triage to accelerate investigations and save critical time, and taking action at the earliest moments to disrupt even the most sophisticated internal or external attack.” 

On the Panel: 

  • Jon E. Bartelson, Chief Information Officer at Rhode Island College. 
  • Irving Bruckstein, Chief Information Officer & CISO at Salve Regina University. 
  • Chuck LoCurto, Vice President & Chief Information Officer at Bryant University. 
  • Paul Fontaine, Chief Information Officer at Providence College. 
  • Marcus Fowler, Director Strategic Threat at Darktrace. 
  • Karlis Kaugars, Chief Information Officer at the University of Rhode Island. 
  • Jacques Laflamme, Chief Information Officer at New England Institute of Technology. 
  • Rick Mickool, Chief Information Officer at Rhode Island School of Design. 
  • John Mumford, President and Chief Risk Officer, Fellsway Group. 

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