Panelists address cybersecurity at forum

Rivier University’s President’s Circle hosts discussion

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI From left, Vice President of Cyber Investigations at Fidelity Investments Michael West speaks, while Founder and CEO of Minim and previous founder of Dyn Jeremy Hitchcock listens, during a Tuesday leadership forum at Rivier University.

NASHUA – The Rivier University President’s Circle hosted a panel of cybersecurity professionals from the public, private, and service sectors on Tuesday for a leadership forum titled “Cybersecurity: The Evolving Threat Landscape and What Every Business Leader Needs to Know.”

The panelists included Jeremy Hitchcock, founder and CEO of Minim and previous founder of Dyn; Michael West, vice president of Cyber Investigations at Fidelity Investments; and Jason Climer, New Hampshire Protective Security Adviser for Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Before the panelists spoke, university President Sister Paula Marie Buley challenged audience members to ponder one question: “Do you consider your expenses related to cybersecurity an investment or an expense?”

During the discussion, West spoke on the topic of information sharing and shared his personal views on its models of success.

“The current state of information sharing now is better than it has ever been,” West told the audience.

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI New Hampshire Protective Security Adviser of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Jason Climer talks to business leaders and CEOs during a Tuesday panel hosted by the Rivier University President’s Circle.

His personal views on the model of success come from his past experience sitting on a board of directors for an intelligence firm, he said. West said it was important to take issues one step at a time.

Another step to success, West noted, is progressive law enforcement, meaning law enforcement that is willing to work with the private sector.

The next step discussed by West related to academia.

“This can help because you get some fresh minds that are willing to help,” West said. “It’s a benefit for both parties so they can get their hands-on experience of going through and looking at cyber crime data and then giving their analysis and then handing off to somebody else. It’s great for internships.”

West said subject matter experts with specialized skills are also needed, along with a physical location that people can meet periodically so they can gain trust to work out their cases.

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI The Rivier University President’s Circle on Tuesday hosts a panel of cybersecurity professionals in a leadership forum titled, “Cybersecurity: The Evolving Threat Landscape and What Every Business Leader Needs to Know.” From left are Vice President of Cyber Investigations at Fidelity Investments Michael West, Founder and CEO of Minim and previous founder of Dyn Jeremy Hitchcock, and New Hampshire Protective Security Adviser for Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Jason Climer speak on the matter of cybersecurity.

The last step to success West discussed was the need for grassroots organizations. West said information sharing will not flow if managed by the government.

“Information sharing is important and it’s a great topic to explore,” West told the audience.

Hitchcock also shared tips with those in attendance.

“The best thing about security is that it’s a very solvable problem,” he said.

Hitchcock said the types of hacks that happen are so much more benign than most believe.

“You could probably do it by the third or fourth class in a computer program or computer forensic class,” Hitchcock said.

In answering Buley’s question posed to the audience earlier, Hitchcock said, security is “something to continue to invest in.”

“Just be reasonable about it. This isn’t rocket science; this isn’t physics. It’s security; it’s really actually pretty easy,” Hitchcock added, assuring members of the audience that cybersecurity will continue to get better within the next few years.

Once Hitchcock finished, Climer discussed supply chains and cybersecurity.

“If you’re in business, whether you work for a large corporation or a small business, you’re either in the supply chain for someone else, or you have a supply chain to make your product,” Climer said. “And the reason the supply chain is so vulnerable is there are a lot of pieces in that supply chain.”

“You have to order something; you have to manifest something; have to ship something; you have to plan something. All of that is done on the internet in one way shape or form. If you can’t do it, then you hire someone else to do it, and that person then connects to the internet in order to ship, supply, pay, organize, plan, meet and so forth,” Climer said.

Climer said a company could be as secure as possible, but if someone down the supply line gets hacked, the company is also compromised. Climer said this is what many hackers have discovered. While big companies can afford large cybersecurity walls, Climer said hackers can still get to the company through other routes.

At the end of their presentations, each panelist shared a final piece of advice for guests.

“If you see something, say something, whether it’s on the physical side or your gut tells you something’s goofy, tell somebody,” Climer said.

Hitchcock told audience members to start a conversation.

West said, “Roles and responsibility, make sure you know. Do you pay somebody to watch something for you or is that your responsibility?”

The President’s Circle works to bring together business leaders to discuss issues relevant to businesses and members of the public.

In addition, Rivier has continued its interest in cybersecurity by launching a new bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity Management, set to begin in fall. The curriculum will focus on cybersecurity management, business, computer science and homeland and international security.