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Last week, Leadership Connect held a webinar focused on strengthening defenses and enhancing security awareness in the public sector. This was our second webinar on this topic as October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Our esteemed panel consisted of speakers Kenneth Bible from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Bob Nadeau from Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and our moderator Francis Rose of Fed Gov Today. 

After attending the lively discussion, audience members walked away with advice for protecting themselves privately, protecting businesses in the public sector, and advancing the field of cybersecurity through training and education. 

10 26 webinar graphic

The panel kicked off the conversation with this key sentiment: cybersecurity is a year-round priority, not just something we should be talking about in October. 

Specifically, they stated that their goal is to bring the public into the conversation about reducing risks in an ever-connected, digital world. By making security a part of daily infrastructure for all demographics and business sizes, we can start to take small steps toward the larger goal of protecting your cyber landscape. They agreed that a collective call to action to change behaviors to reduce risk is the best way to make lasting changes in a world of emerging technologies. Their top suggestions for what you can do to protect yourself are: 

  • Use strong passwords. 
  • Authorize automatic software updates on devices. 

Beyond protecting yourself in your private life, our panel discussed how businesses in the public sector can take steps to effectively implement cybersecurity measures. Here were their top recommendations: 

  • Leadership needs to set a serious tone to invest in security and company-wide education. 
  • Work with IT manufacturers who pledge to incorporate secure design practices in the software manufacturing stages. 
  • Build a culture of cybersecurity with frequent phishing exercises to reduce human error. 
  • Quantify risks before rushing to monetize new technologies. 
  • Implement education and guidelines for all employees. 
  • Utilize multi-factor authentication. 

Lastly, the gentlemen of our panel discussed the world of cybersecurity as a whole and how it can be improved, starting with elementary education. Did you know that only 17% of the cybersecurity workforce is made up of women? Kenneth and Bob both feel that number needs to change and a way to do that is through education. Starting in classrooms and exposing every child to the world of cybersecurity increases their opportunities in the future of pursuing an education and career in the field. Building the talent pool at a young age and fostering it throughout the education lifecycle with training and internships is the best way to change the existing workforce and fill the major vacancies the field is experiencing. 

Missed the discussion and want to learn more? Check it out here! Check in with our Events page and our LinkedIn to make sure you don’t miss the next webinar.

Annie Farrell

Digital Content Writer