Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this commentary are the author’s alone.
Cyber security is a topic worthy of constant discussion because the threat landscape, as well as the needed protective measures, are ever-evolving, Kara Lowe said.
Lowe, vice president of the KC Tech Council, joined me for a Q&A on the coming Tech on Tap event, which coincides with Cyber Security Month. The program is slated for 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 24 at FishTech in Martin City, Missouri.
The Tech Council is fortunate to have access to many of the leading voices in cyber security from the region’s enterprise companies, Lowe said, which allows Tech on Tap to feature an esteemed panel of local chief security officers to discuss everything from vulnerability assessment to incident response and network security.
I’ll be moderating the Oct. 24 event. Tickets are available online.
But first, a little Q&A with Kara Lowe.
Q: How and why did the KC Tech Council choose FishTech as the event site?
A: Our region boasts numerous providers of technologies and services designed to help companies develop and execute world-class security operations, and Fishtech is a great example. The company is working to provide industry-leading solutions … and it doesn’t hurt that they also have an industry-leading event facility. We know attendees will enjoy the panel and networking experience at this beautiful state-of-the-art building.
Q: What are key cyber security trends you see emerging in the KC region and even abroad that might impact us locally?
A: As a geographically-central tech hub, Kansas City plays host to an incredible amount of data infrastructure critical to operations in transportation, health care, agriculture, telecommunications and other essential functions. It’s imperative that we’re utilizing the best tools we have to protect that infrastructure from cyber threats. Other important trends include blockchain technologies, cyber security, the future of autonomous vehicles and other IoT applications.
Cyber security is crucial for every company, no matter the size. If you store sensitive data, you are responsible for the protection of that data. And, in an economy where data itself is becoming an extremely valuable asset, it’s critical for companies to protect that asset, just as they’d protect their employees, customers and products.
Q: One of the KC Tech Council’s initiatives is to be a major stakeholder in addressing the ever-widening workforce gap (gender, minorities, etc.) impacting the cyber security industry (locally and globally). How are you accomplishing that goal so far?
A: When we think about workforce development, we consider it a continuum. And, we believe some of the most unique and potentially impactful opportunities live at the early stage of that continuum. Specifically, many young women and minorities eliminate certain career paths for themselves prematurely (as early as middle school). That’s why we think it’s critical for the industry to have a meaningful presence inside the classroom, during the school day, early in a student’s education. The more tangible we can make actual KC-area tech careers to our students early in their development, the better chance we have of changing their trajectory, and making a future career as a cyber security technologist sound exciting and possible.
April Boyd-Noronha is the STEM parent advocate, diversity thought lecturer and author behind Lee’s Summit-based The STEM Broker, a boutique training and consulting firm focused on empowering girls, women, and minorities to succeed and advance in STEM careers. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect on twitter at @thestembroker