Cyber Security Chicago Wrap-Up: Final Thoughts


(Special thanks to Cyber Security Chicago for the complimentary pass, and please be sure to read our pieces on Kevin Mitnick, Rotem Katsir, and Mark Lambiase. And please don’t forget the Puerto Rico relief fundraiser on October 27th)

When I first considered attending Cyber Security Chicago, I must admit that I felt like I “knew it all”…for an amateur. I knew not to open suspicious attachments or click on suspicious links. But I realized that there was an opportunity to provide guidance and insight for nonprofits, social enterprise, and other mission-driven organizations. Many vendors provided some great tools, and I learned quite a bit, but the question remained: was attending Cyber Security Chicago worth it?

And I have to say….yes.

As many of the workshops reiterated, there is a huge need for businesses to stay mindful of potential security threats. Although I could not make all of these workshops, the titles alone should provide readers with a sobering moment of clarity:

  • The Hidden Threats of Weak IoT Security within the Enterprise
  • The New Era of Cyberthreats
  • The Future of Cybersecurity
  • How to Avoid Another Equifax-like Data Breach
  • Understanding IoT in Today’s Organizations 
  • Why Hackers Still Get In 
  • The Dark Side of IoT

One of the key themes of Cyber Security Chicago was that organizations need to be more mindful of their network and data security. Although this seems rather daunting for some resource-strapped organizations, it also is one of the most easily fixed through greater individual scrutiny, awareness of technology resources, and a much stronger need for digital excellence and literacy within nonprofit, community, and mission-driven organizations. Photo Courtesy Cyber Security Chicago

My biggest concern going into Cyber Security Chicago was that it might be “too” technical for me – after all, I’m a freelance writer/blogger who also works as an online marketing/social media consultant. Although I have some “techie” credit (I managed to install Ubuntu onto a Panasonic Toughbook a few years ago in an effort to adopt more open source software in my computing).  But even with the lack of “technical” expertise, I also now understand the methodology that hackers adopt in order to gain access. I also have a much broader awareness of the scope of the issue….

…and the second lesson is that data breaches can often be prevented. The recent Equifax breach is a key example since many of the problems might have been prevented with a simple software patch. Many nonprofits and mission-driven/community-based organizations may not necessarily have the resources for higher-end software fixes…but keeping up to date on their current software (and exploring more cloud-based and open source alternatives) might be the best solution…

Conferences like Cyber Security Chicago are sorely needed since businesses are operating a more global, interconnected scale. As customers and clients become more interconnected with organizations, their data provides access to great wealth and control. Although Cyber Security Chicago might appear to be a “techie-only” conference, it was worth attention.

This is Cyber Security Chicago’s first year. I’m hoping they will come back…and if they do, I will definitely be there.

Questions or comments? Please leave them below or join the conversation on Facebook.

And as always, thanks for reading!

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