By John Wensveen, Chief Innovation Officer, NSU & Executive Director, Alan B. Levan | NSU Broward Center of Innovation, Nova Southeastern University
How to ensure your organization and employees are taking the proper precautions against cyber threats
Whether it is malware, phishing and password attacks, or rogue security software, cyber threats are more prevalent than ever in the corporate world. Recently, the Anchore 2022 Software Supply Chain Security Report re-counted that 62% of organizations were affected by software supply chain attacks.1 This clearly shows that cyber-attacks are becoming more sophisticated to obtain crucial information from public and private organizations to disrupt “business as usual” or even steal propriety company data.
With cyber-attacks becoming more prevalent and more sophisticated, it is more important than ever for large and small companies to have the proper security measures in place. While each organization has unique needs regarding cyber protection, there are still specific points every company should be practicing to protect the company and its employees.
While it is important to have a professional with the proper education and background in cyber defense, it is also important that those professionals stay current with industry trends that could otherwise affect your company negatively.
Appoint a Designated Cyber Expert or Cyber Team
While the labor market has recouped almost all the jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations must prioritize having a designated IT and/or cybersecurity person on staff.2 In fact, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced the department’s largest cybersecurity hiring initiative in history – onboarding nearly 300 cybersecurity professionals.3 Having a designated person or team trained in cybersecurity on staff and monitoring cyber risks helps organizations get ahead of any threats hackers may have planned.
The goal is to find qualified experts experienced in cybersecurity that stay current with continuing education, just like other professions, including pilots, physicians, lawyers and teachers. With many organizations still facing hiring obstacles, companies need to get creative when making offers to candidates – offering to pay for ongoing certifications, or offering incentives like extra vacation days, gift cards or meals that other organizations don’t offer.
Invest in Employees and Ongoing Cyber Training
Professionals with up-to-date credentials and training are of the utmost importance when hiring a cybersecurity expert. Organizations must find candidates that have a degree in the related field, including computer science, cybersecurity, or information assurance, that were obtained from an institution affiliated with agencies including the National Security Agency (NSA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) / the National Initiative on Cybersecurity Education (NICE), the US Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) or other related agencies.
While it is important to have a professional with the proper education and background in cyber defense, it is also important that those professionals stay current with industry trends that could otherwise affect your company negatively. Taking part in regularly scheduled, industry-recommended trainings will ensure that your organization is better protected from online threats. It is also a good idea to have all employees within the organization involved in some form of cyber training. Often, employees are so focused on getting work done to move to the next task that it’s easy to inadvertently miss an attempted password attack or phishing threat – leaving the employee’s online presence at risk. Having staff trained in basic cyber threat identification makes a big difference in an organization’s online security. This also brings a level of cohesion and comradery within an organization in that employees become a type of honorary member of the cyber team, and are more comfortable communicating with the organization’s cyber experts about potential threats.
There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Education
From coordinating regular virtual trainings for the staff or bringing in experts to discuss the importance of online safety, there’s no such thing as too much education. Organizations can even take advantage of cybersecurity training facilities as a unique teambuilding exercise.
One example of a cybersecurity training and simulation facility that offers everything from cyber prep 101 training, emergency response, personnel assessment, and C-suite executive briefings, to group exercises, including capture-the-flag events and hackathons, is the Alan B. Levan | NSU Broward Center of Innovation.4 The Levan Center of Innovation at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) houses a military grade cybersecurity range consisting of 12 training stations with multiple monitors that accommodates up to 24 participants in person plus an additional 25 virtually. Constructed within a category five building with two commercial backup generators, the cyber range has its own data room, separate from any existing online networks, and includes a video wall, secured access, and a “war room” with dimmable lighting and dark walls. Powered by the software platform CyberCENTS (Cyberoperations Enhanced Network and Training Simulators), the cybersecurity range offers the most comprehensive and current cyber training and simulation applications using proprietary technologies that deliver “true to life” experiences focused on supporting industry and government clients. NSU received National Security Agency (NSA) designation and is a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C).
The Levan Center of Innovation is the world’s first “theme park” for entrepreneurs and supporting stakeholders located in a 54,000 sq. ft. purpose-built facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida focused on three themes (innovation, technology, entrepreneurship) and four pillars known as the Founder’s Journey (Ideate, Incubate, Accelerate, Post-Accelerate). The Levan Center of Innovation serves the NSU and South Florida communities resulting in breakthrough ideation, new technologies, job creation, talent skills pipeline, new company formation, philanthropic initiatives and scaling of early-stage and young startup companies. Each of the four pillars is supported by customized programs, events, and wraparound services. The Levan Center of Innovation is an economic and education development engine for serving South Florida with local, regional, national, and international impact.
Whether it’s hiring the most highly qualified experts, investing in ongoing certification, or getting the entire staff involved, ensuring you have a secure online presence will protect both your organization and your employees.
About the Author:
Dr. John Wensveen is Chief Innovation Officer at Nova Southeastern University and Executive Director of the Alan B. Levan | NSU Broward Center of Innovation responsible for overseeing a multimillion-dollar public-private partnership to support the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Broward County and South Florida. John’s higher education experience includes faculty and senior leadership positions at Miami Dade College, Purdue University, Dowling College, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. John’s entrepreneurship and industry experience include senior leadership positions at Mango Aviation Partners, Radixx International, Airline Visions, InterVISTAS, Marriott Vacation Club International, MAXjet Airways, and Canada 3000 Airlines. John earned master’s and Ph.D. degrees in International Air Transport and Business from Cardiff University (United Kingdom) and a B.A. in Geography and Transportation Land Use Planning from the University of Victoria (Canada).