CyberSecurity expert shares best practices with local business leaders

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Cisco Systems security pro dubs STA’s CyberPatriot program “hidden gem”

Feb. 1, 2018—Lee’s Summit, Mo.—The Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council’s Investor Spotlight for the month of January included a presentation from Cisco Systems Cybersecurity Specialist Carolina Terrazas. Terrazas manages security programs for Cisco’s public sector accounts in four states, including Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Illinois.

Terrazas is an alumna of Lee’s Summit High School and a big fan of Summit Technology Academy’s CyberSecurity program and STA’s CyberPatriot Club founded by Summit Tech teacher Lisa Oyler.

After her presentation, LSEDC spoke in-depth with Terrazas about the current cybersecurity climate, the coming need for future cybersecurity expertise, and simple steps organizations can take to protect themselves from breaches.

LSEDC: What is the current demand for cybersecurity workers?

Terrazas: There are 1.8 million open cybersecurity job openings in the U.S. and they anticipate that to go up and up and up. The ratio of training security professionals needed, versus what exists, is between 10:1 and 15:1, and they expect that to go up as well.

Lee’s Summit is definitely a hidden gem in getting workers ready for those jobs. What you have built there is not the norm.

Cybersecurity is a complex problem and the only way to combat is with shoring up the workforce, and you have to reach kids at the junior high or high school level, so I think it is momentous what is going on here. I wish I could clone her (Lisa Oyler) in every district I work with.

LSEDC: What can organizations and even individuals do to mitigate their cybersecurity risks?

Terrazas: First I would say there’s no need to add access to everything in our lives. But there are some common-sense things to help you sleep easier at night.

You can ask your ISP (internet service provider) to put your internet enabled devices in their own network. That will minimize your risk if you’re compromised with malware. It’s also common sense to change your passwords periodically on all internet-enabled devices. Finally, if you receive an email offer, and it looks too good to be true, it probably is. One easy cheap trick is for hackers is to misspell a domain name by one letter, so be careful when you click on any links.

LSEDC: You mentioned you are a big fan of STA’s CyberPatriot Club. Tell us more.

Terrazas: Lisa Oyler had 150 kids come out for her CyberPatriot program last year. This is an after-school club and kids just participate because she gets them excited about it. A lot of her kids– a huge percentage– are college bound and because of her programs, they end up with internships at companies like H&R Block and Cerner, eventually going on to do great things.

What Lisa has built with the CyberPatriot club at STA– the size and depth of those teams–is not something I have seen anywhere else. I cover public sector accounts for four states, and my customers are every city, county, sub-state department, and educational institutions, so I can say that with at least some authority.