Cyber Risk Summit coming to Bellingham Oct. 30

Computer attacks on businesses are all-too-common these days, but local groups are coming together to find ways to prevent further attacks.

Whatcom Community College, the Technology Alliance Group for Northwest Washington and Western Washington University have joined forces to host the Cyber Risk Summit on Thursday, Oct. 30. The all-day event will be held at Whatcom Community College, focusing on giving the business community some insight on improving cybersecurity as well as highlighting the programs that are taking place locally.

“Too often when it comes to cybersecurity, the conversation only involves the network administrator,” said Meg Weber, executive director at TAG, adding that the goal is to move beyond that and make it more of a company strategy.

The summit will have several experts on hand to talk about the topic, including Timothy Wallach, who leads the FBI’s Cyber Task Force in the Seattle field office; Agnes Kirk, Washington state’s chief information security officer; and Shay Colson, cybersecurity engineer for the U.S. Treasury Department.

While large companies such as Target or JPMorgan Chase are in the news when it comes to security breaches, cyber attacks are happening often to small to mid-size firms. Weber said the most common attack is using a domain name to send out email spam to customers, but plenty of other attacks are taking place.

“Businesses must understand their risk, should have a plan ready, and everyone in the organization must be a part of that plan for it to be executed properly,” she said.

At the beginning of the summit, participants will receive a cyber risk assessment scorecard to fill out. Toward the end of the summit the participants will get a chance to go through breakout sessions to figure out what they can do to improve.

The summit also will highlight some of the work being done locally. Whatcom Community College recently was named the lead institution of CyberWatch West, a regional cybersecurity education consortium funded by the National Science Foundation. WCC and Western Washington University recently launched a partnership for higher education degrees in cybersecurity.

Early-bird registration through Wednesday, Oct. 15, is $195. For details and to register, visit cyberrisksummit.org.