Cybersecurity reaches a critical point, FIU and OAS create specialized program.

Cybersecurity reaches a critical point, FIU and OAS create specialized program.

Cybersecurity reaches a critical point, FIU and OAS create specialized program.

The magnitude of cybersecurity threats has never been higher and shows no sign of slowing down. The global cost of cyberattacks is forecast to grow from $400 billion today to $2.1 trillion by 2020 and experts anticipate a 2 million person shortage in information security professionals by the same year.

The Cybersecurity Certificate is offered jointly by FIU’s College of Business and Green School of International and Public Affairs, with content contribution and endorsement of the OAS Cyber Security Program. The two-day program, will be held October 17-18 in Miami.

Miami technology pioneer Manuel Medina will be the program’s keynote speaker. Medina is now CEO of Cyxtera Technologies, a data center services venture specializing in cybersecurity. The company combined an international network of CenturyLink data centers with four cybersecurity and data analytics companies.

A conversation with Manny Medina

You recently talked about creating the “next-generation company that looks at security in a completely different way and protects the entire infrastructure” – how do you make that a reality?

We are making that a reality by integrating a suite of innovative cybersecurity solutions into our global footprint of data centers. We also know that today’s IT is hybrid – customers are running workloads on premises, in the cloud and in third-party data centers – and our security software operates across all of these models.

Manny Medina
Manny Medina

How does Cyxtera Technologies contribute to creating more awareness and tougher, targeted policies to tackle cybercrime?

The last two decades have brought seismic changes to enterprise IT availability, agility and scalability, leaving traditional perimeter-based security models less and less relevant. The next era of IT must be focused on better securing our infrastructure and applications.

We are staking a claim at the very forefront of emerging implementation models such as software-defined perimeter, and our executives and thought leaders are deeply involved in the conversation around security at the technical level, the business level, and within the public sector and policy conversation with the recent launch of our Cyxtera Federal Group division.

We’ve seen high profile hacking cases at Equifax, the SEC, Deloitte, Verizon… is anything safe from hackers?

Cyberattacks are the new norm, whether it is from a nation state, well-funded criminal groups or individual hackers, and it’s really a question of “if”, not “when.” Adversaries continue to get past network perimeter defenses, where their attacks can spread like wildfire across internal corporate networks. The traditional perimeter is easily comprised so we must turn our focus to a new approach, like a software-defined perimeter.

Cybersecurity professionals need to make it harder for any adversary to operate in sensitive interior segments by deploying protections such as robust authentication, network segmentation and advanced analytics to better understand what’s going on within their IT environments.

As companies take cybercrime more seriously, what challenges do they face?

The biggest challenge companies face is to evolve their IT architectures and operations for greater resiliency, adaptivity and responsiveness. The threat posed by cyberattacks is increasingly an existential one. We’ve seen CEOs, company valuations and hundreds of millions of dollars among the casualties, as well as a very real human factor demonstrated by the attacks on European hospitals earlier in the year.

What sort of innovation will help companies protect themselves? Is it technology, manpower, education?

It’s all of the above. As the threat of cyberattacks continues to rise, IT professionals of all stripes must better educate themselves on the potential threats, attack vectors and the vulnerability of their IT footprints.

The cybersecurity profession is booming as these roles take their place in companies of all industries alongside the systems and database administrator counterparts. And we believe emerging technologies such as those that form our software portfolio represent a critical turning point in better protecting our infrastructure and applications from bad actors.

When we talk of a growing demand for cybersecurity professionals, what knowledge do they need to enter the field or enhance their expertise?

They need to understand that innovation is paramount and the pace of change is astonishing. They need to realize that the security landscape is built on a constantly shifting terrain… and what used to work – even a few years ago – is no longer good enough.

They need to understand that the hallmark of security is innovation, and complacency is the enemy.

Applications for Florida International University’s Cybersecurity Leadership & Strategy Certificate Program are now being accepted. For more information or to apply, visit business.fiu.edu/cybersecurity or call 305-348-4217.

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