NC A&T recognizes Cybersecurity Awareness Month and provides prevention training to businesses

EAST GREENSBORO, NC (Oct. 20, 2022) – For nearly two decades, the nation has recognized October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month, empowering everyday Americans, government and corporate infrastructure about potential malicious activity and ways to combat and proactively avoid it informed. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s latest awareness event, The CyberBiz Workshop, focuses on empowering local businesses with helpful methods for preventing cyberattacks.

“Every company is exposed to a cyber attack and must develop a defense strategy to protect its assets. Cybercriminals have increased their attacks on our corporate infrastructure, and in fact, according to the National Cybersecurity Alliance, 70% of attacks target small and medium-sized businesses,” said Hossein Sarrafzadeh, Ph.D., university endowed professor and director of the Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity Research , Education and Outreach (CREO).

The free workshop, hosted on Friday, October 21 at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, invites entrepreneurs to participate in a high-level overview of cybersecurity threats to businesses. Saraffzadeh will join Center of Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEEI) Director Joel Wiggins, IBM Distinguished Engineer Jose Ortiz, NC A&T Information Technology Services Vice Chancellor Tom Jackson, SSCI Inc. CEO LaTonja Fant, Foxhole Technology President Gus Tome, Privacy Engineering will be presented by Vice President Lonnie Harris and graduate student Jason Green.

Following the presentation, attendees will participate in one of the following breakout sessions:

Cybersecurity Health Checks for Businesses: Do you know your company’s cyber security? Our experts will help you determine your company’s cyber health with a free health check.

Security Operation Center coverage: Experts present options for security operations and incident response that are cost-effective and accessible to small and medium-sized businesses. This session is useful for any organization with or without a security monitoring and incident response unit.

Ongoing cyber security training for employees: Human error accounts for 95% of cyberattacks that companies face around the world. The trainers identify key areas, tools and tips to keep your employees up to date on their cybersecurity training and provide workforce development tips for businesses.

Consumers may remember last year’s cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, which had a ripple effect across industries and “arguably led directly to Congress passing the largest cyber requirements for critical infrastructure companies in history — obliging them to… Notify government within three days if they are hacked and within one day if they pay a ransom to hackers,” according to the Washington Post. Colonial paid the hackers $4.4 million in ransom.

“The average cost of a security breach for small and medium-sized businesses is $383,000, and that’s just the financial cost. A staggering 50% of affected businesses become unprofitable within a month of being hacked. With or without protection, your business will most likely be targeted,” Sarrafzadeh said.

“This CyberBiz event is an investment designed to provide organizations with the fundamentals of enterprise security and compliance, cutting-edge prevention methods against cyberattacks and malicious activity, and providing a variety of response options for your organization. We want to help transform your organization’s cybersecurity culture from reactive to proactive.”

CREO and CEEI Present CyberBiz Workshop Sponsored by SSCI Inc., Global Cybersecurity Risk Management Firm.

In addition to this workshop, the university presented several in-person and online engagement opportunities. Earlier this month, the university’s information technology services, CREO and the Waste Management Institute hosted an “Aggie Shred and Electronic Recycling Day” for campus and local community members to safely and securely dispose of these items, which may contain sensitive information.

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