The school year looks a bit different for our SYBAC students, but one thing that is the same is our virtual discussions about broadband and technology. We have been able to continue the video conversations similar to years past, and the students have had active discussions with industry professionals the last few months.
In September, the first meeting of 2020-2021 started off with ICN’s Randy Goddard welcoming the students to SYBAC and explaining connectivity statewide, along with providing an overview about the ICN.
The topic for October focused on cybersecurity. With October being Cybersecurity Awareness Month, our guest Doug Jacobson from Iowa State University explained a cybersecurity career path. Jacobson highlighted IT Adventures and the cyber defense environments that are built and defended by students and put to the test by security professionals. Students find the cyber defense exercise exciting, since they are defending their networks in real-time against real-world professionals. In addition, ICN’s Ryan Mulhall highlighted our DDoS Mitigation service, and how ICN works to protect Iowa schools from security incidents. He described how interconnected people are with IoT devices, but security should continue to be in the forefront before convenience.
In November the group received an election security overview from Iowa’s Secretary of State’s Chief Cybersecurity Officer Jeff Franklin. The group learned the technical components regarding the election. Keeping the database of voters and the tally of the vote is important, therefore ensuring the protection of websites and servers using firewalls & DDoS protection is vital. Being prepared to respond in the event of an incident was essential in the planning stages. Some of the steps performed prior to the election included: moving county websites to .gov URLs to confirm the information presented was from a trusted source, incident response planning and training to all 99 counties, penetration testing of the systems, and working with social media companies to reduce the misinformation. ICN’s security team lead, Mike Van Haaften also joined the group to provide an overview of ICN’s network security and how our DDoS Mitigation service is useful to government and education users.
Fortinet NSE 1 Program Certificate
This year SYBAC students were given the task of working their way through the self-paced Fortinet NSE 1 Program certificate. This Network Security Associate certification teaches about the security threat landscape. The course highlights many individuals behind cybersecurity attacks, what motivates bad actors, and the principal causes of computer and network breaches. At the end of the SYBAC term, our students will receive a certificate for their accomplishment in understanding the ever-increasing threat landscape.