Cybersecurity Leadership Program Teaches Execs, Officers to Keep Data Safe

July 25, 2016 | By Danielle Goss

ATLANTA - July 25, 2016 - The Georgia Institute of Technology launches the Cybersecurity Leadership Program – a new effort to educate the C-suite about how to fortify their enterprise and protect data. The program provides an in-depth, real-world understanding of the challenges, context, and importance of information technology and the global complexity of cybersecurity. It will address cybersecurity risks and the policy, legal, and human dimensions that senior executives need to master to proactively manage, evaluate, and respond to cybersecurity threats. 

Last year, 38% more security incidents were detected than in 2014, and theft of hard intellectual property increased 56%, according to the PwC 2016 Global State of Information Security Survey. Cybersecurity mentions in corporate filings with the Securities & Exchange Commission increased 74 percent during a four-year period, according to Georgia Tech’s 2016 Emerging Cyber Threats Report. Yet, little exists in the marketplace to help organizational leaders understand the history, policies and right questions to ask surrounding cyber threats.

“In industry and government, the pressure on leaders to protect their organizations from cyber threats has never been higher,” says Nelson C. Baker, dean of Georgia Tech Professional Education. “As the risk of cyberattacks on critical infrastructures and networks grows, so does the need for an agile and highly qualified cybersecurity workforce. This program is the first of its kind in Georgia and addresses the technical as well as the policy, legal and human aspects of cybersecurity – challenges senior leaders face every day but which professional education programs often overlook.” 

More than 50 senior leaders from industry, policy, government and military applied to attend the inaugural program that was conceived by Ret. Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr., former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and professor of practice in Georgia Tech’s School of International Affairs. Thirty eight were accepted and will spend July 25-29 at the Global Learning Center -- Atlanta’s learning and networking hub in Tech Square. Attendees range from chairmen of the board to managing partners, military officers and information security managers; and collectively span the finance, transportation, health care, telecom, tourism, defense, and civic sectors.

The cohort already indicated in a pre-course survey that their top concerns include how to prevent employees from falling prey to phishing, the endless barrage of consistent cyber intrusion attempts, and ensuring they have the right operational processes in place. Only 45 percent say at least one board member or command leader has cybersecurity expertise.

Said one anonymous survey respondent: “As a small business owner, my biggest worry is protecting my biggest asset, which is our data. My second biggest worry is ensuring compliance with the standards that have been set by my clients. I have many Fortune 500 companies as clients and they demand that I meet their standards as a requisite… Finding the right tools and people to ensure this compliance is a challenge.”

Students will learn from presenters and faculty who include Ret. Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr., former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and professor of practice in Georgia Tech’s School of International Affairs; Russell Eubanks, vice president and chief information security officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Dimitri Alperovitch, co-founder and chief technology officer of CrowdStrike Inc., and Dr. Wenke Lee, professor of computer science and co-director of the Institute for Information Security & Privacy at Georgia Tech.

The Cybersecurity Leadership Program is an Institute-wide collaboration among several units, reflecting the interdisciplinary nature and strength of cybersecurity at Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech Professional Education, Georgia Tech Research Institute, the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy, the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, the Institute for Information Security and Privacy.  Participants will receive a Georgia Tech Cybersecurity Leadership Certificate. 

Presenters and Faculty Include:

  • Dimitri Alperovitch, Georgia Tech alum (MS INFO ’03), co-founder & chief technology officer, CrowdStrike Inc.
  • Marcus Christian, partner, Mayer Brown Washington DC
  • Russell Eubanks, vice president, chief information security officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
  • Bill Ide, partner, Dentons
  • Mary Kepler, senior vice president, risk and compliance officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
  • Chris Kirchhoff, Director for Strategic Planning, National Security Council
  • Catherine A. Mulligan, senior vice president and head of professional liability, Zurich
  • Thomas E. Noonan, Georgia Tech alum (ME ’83) partner, TechOperators LLC and chairman, TEN Holdings LLC
  • Teresa Shea, executive vice president and director of Cyber Reboot, In-Q-Tel and former director of Signals Intelligence at the National Security Agency
  • Ret. Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr., former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and professor of practice in Georgia Tech’s School of International Affairs
  • Georgia Tech professors Mustaque Ahamad, Manos Antonakakis, Joseph R. Bankoff, Raheem Beyah, Hans Klein, Wenke Lee, Milton Mueller, Alessandro Orso, Michael Salomone, and Peter Swire
  • Georgia Tech research scientists Michael Farrell, Jimmy Lummis, and associates Chris McDermott and Tarun Chaudhary