Earlier this month Bay Path University hosted its 7th annual Cybersecurity Summit and welcomed local business owners, cybersecurity experts, and students from area colleges to campus. While industry heavy hitters Captain Stephanie Helm, director of the MassCyberCenter and Kim Casci-Palangio, program manager for the Cybercrime Support Network (CSN)/Rhode Island, presented insightful information about the cybersecurity industry, it was three Bay Path graduate students who delivered a message that hit close to home for many attendees.
Students Magen Pyers, Lauren Mendoza, and Julia Miller took the stage to talk to the audience about the MassCyberCenter at MassTech Collaborative Program, which pairs undergraduate and graduate-level Bay Path students with small to medium-sized Western Massachusetts based businesses for low-cost cybersecurity assessments. Working together with Paragus IT, who provides project coordination, training and industry expertise, and client recruiting, students complete site visits to assess risks and vulnerabilities a client may have, sometimes without even being aware. “Some businesses we work with don’t really know what cybersecurity is,” stated student Julia Miller. “They have limited resources, no IT department, and they haven’t been able to make it a priority.”
What, exactly, are the students looking for? The list is wide-ranging and includes data backup procedures, the physical security of computers and servers, various security tests, and more. The testing is extensive, and at the end of the assessment, clients are given feedback, short term fixes, long term recommendations, and a deeper understanding of how to reinforce their security posture.
It’s a win for the students, too. “Learning in class is one thing, but being able to go out and apply it to real world situations is a great experience,” shared student Lauren Mendoza. While the students are busy strengthening their client’s security, they’re also busy strengthening their resumes. “Employers are looking for people with experience, so this opportunity will give me a level up on other people who are going for jobs in IT and cybersecurity,” said student Magen Pyers.