The 2017 Salt Lake City Cybersecurity Conference was a fantastic opportunity to engage small and medium sized businesses, as well as officials from state and federal government in a collaborative discussion about the role of cybersecurity in today’s online world. The event, hosted by the Salt Lake Chamber and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, stressed cybersecurity as a shared risk and responsibility, providing low cost ideas for protecting businesses and mitigating cyber risk. Collaboration, advocacy and education are integral to keeping personal information secure while protecting against cyber criminals. Speakers at the conference tackled these issues, advancing the local and national conversation about cybersecurity setting up future public-private partnerships.

The morning began with a keynote from Chris Boyer, Assistant Vice President for Global Public Policy at AT&T. Boyer spoke specifically to small and medium sized businesses about their unique cybersecurity challenges and solutions. Breaking down the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, he discussed how each of the five components of the framework can be used by businesses in Utah. Conference attendees asked questions regarding trends, threats and best practices for creating a strong cybersecure organizational structure.

Boyer’s keynote was followed by a panel discussion, the ‘Business Case for Cybersecurity and Managing the Risk of Insecurity.’ Emily Stapf, principal for Cybersecurity and Forensics at PricewaterhouseCoopers moderated the panel, which included Bill Baci from Hewlett Packard, Tammy Georgelas from Parsons Behle & Latimer, Elaina Maragakis from Ray Quinney & Nebeker, and Charles Poulsen Kikumoto from Moreton & Company. The panel discussed how businesses can guard themselves from threats against computer networks, vital proprietary information and consumer trust. This included dialogue about how state regulations affect business cybersecurity efforts and what companies should do to protect themselves.

After small and medium sized businesses learned about the case for cybersecurity, the conference discussion shifted to the critical partnership between government and industry. Eric Goldstein, branch chief of Partnerships and Engagement in the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was the second keynote of the conference. Goldstein explained how DHS is improving and expanding its capability to send and receive cyber threat information to the private sector and their role in interfacing with businesses to assist in responding to cyber attacks.

The next panel discussion focused on ‘Public-Private Collaboration in Cyber Incident Response.’ Panelists included Ike Barnes from the U.S. Secret Service, Jessica Farnsworth from the State Attorney General’s office, James Lamadrid and Jeffrey Plank from the FBI Cyber Task Force. The panel was moderated by Ryan Vogel, assistant professor of law and national security at Utah Valley University. Local and federal law enforcement agencies play a crucial role in responding to cyber attacks. The discussion focused on the need for business leaders to understand the respective roles of these different agencies and the overall importance of reporting cyber incidents to law enforcement.

Conference participants had the opportunity to attend one of four breakout sessions covering topics ranging from small business cybersecurity, the evolution of cyber attacks, social media best practices for cybersecurity, and information security metrics for boards. The panel discussion about small business cybersecurity was moderated by the U.S. Chamber’s Vince Voci, with Todd Neilson, president of Secuvant Security Services, Adam Sedgewick from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and James Sorenson, the assistant Vice President of Cyber Liability at Hays Insurance. Discussion focused on how small businesses can prepare for cyberattacks, as well as affordable solutions to cybersecurity challenges.

The social media breakout session was presented by Spencer DeGraw, the program director for information technology programs at LDS Business College focused on cyber threats regarding social media such as employees disclosing information, identity theft, password backrooms and malware. At the security metrics breakout, Matt Sorenson, an associate at Holland & Hart, discussed how boards of directors have the responsibility to monitor cybersecurity risk as an important component to corporate governance and enterprise risk management.

The evolution of cyberattacks breakout, presented by Dean Sapp, Chief Information Security Officer at braintrace, discussed how criminals have become increasingly more advanced at stealing data. In all, Sapp said training ourselves to be cybersecure starts young and must be connected to good online habits. Sapp shared an anecdotal story about how his office had 300 kids trick or treating in their office for Halloween, so they offered a piece of candy to kids to share the password they use. Those kids that gave Sapp’s coworkers their password got one piece of candy, those that didn’t got 3 pieces.

The final keynote was Ali Mayorkas, partner at WilmerHale, former Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and one of the nation’s foremost experts on cybersecurity. Mayorkas discussed cyber threats and how cooperation between businesses and federal agencies work to disrupt cyberattacks. He also shared how businesses cybersecurity efforts contribute to protecting our national security. He ended his presentation by answering questions about recent and current national issues including Russian and CIA hackings.

The 2017 Salt Lake City Cybersecurity Conference was a great success and helped to elevate the national and local dialogue regarding the shared partnerships between business and government to address cyber threats. Business-focused discussions about small and medium sized companies cyber risks as well as networking and resource sharing opportunities made this conference especially substantive.

Thank you to our engaged sponsors, community partners, speakers, panelists, exhibitors, and participants for your attendance!