National security is a hot topic here in D.C. and I recently asked someone who works in that space what their biggest concern was, and it wasn’t a nuclear attack from North Korea or implications from the fall out of the Iran nuclear deal—it was cybersecurity—without a moment of hesitation.
At NTCA, we’ve really been focused on the cyber threat and the tools needed to help NTCA members manage and protect their networks and I am really proud of the cybersecurity summit we now host on an annual basis. I truly believe that every NTCA member should send at least one staff member to this critical conference to have the unique opportunity to learn the latest developments worldwide and compare notes and best practices with their peers.
This year, our summit will be October 21-23 in Dallas and our education team, led by Mark Marion, is so excited about the caliber of speakers we have sharing their insights with us. Kicking off will be Keren Elazari, cyber security analyst, author and researcher with the Tel Aviv University Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center. Ms. Elazari’s expertise is world-renowned and this friendly hacker will share the fine line between white hat and black hat hackers—with the same set of skills but very different motivations when attacks are made. I learned a great deal myself on the topic this past year when NTCA had a white hat hack completed to gather information on our vulnerabilities. Definitely a worthy exercise.
Cyber tabletop exercises to train and test both technical and nontechnical staff for attack readiness, a review of the evolving threat environment, dissecting a DDos attack, building a cyber program for your RLEC, essential cyber hygiene, and even a session on offering cybersecurity as a competitive service will be on the agenda. As telcos continue to identify new revenue streams, an opportunity is emerging to monetize their cybersecurity expertise through a business-to-business service. With a focus on supporting local health care and banking organizations, this session will be the perfect bridge to move from protecting your own networks to protecting those of your consumers.
Honestly, I am always impressed with our team for putting together such a timely and critically important event that is geared specifically to this sector of the industry. I am hopeful that folks will understand that safe cyber practice might be the wisest investment of all.