The Montgomery County Department of Economic Development and the Federal Business Council are hosting the second annual CyberMontgomery Forum on Thursday at the Universities at Shady Grove Conference Center.
The all-day event will include sessions, networking, and various speakers from multiple organizations.
Ira Hoffman, co-Chair of CyberMontgomery, said that CyberMontgomery was modeled after CyberMaryland, a two-day conference that is devoted to cyber around the state. CyberMaryland focuses more on the federal government and state government cyber.
“CyberMontgomery was intended to complement CyberMaryland but on a smaller scale and with a greater focus on civilian and commercial cyber,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman said that event will focus on three major categories, including educating people and companies about the latest news in cybersecurity, networking for small businesses, and educating people about the cyber workforce.
Joseph Roundy, cybersecurity program manager at Montgomery College, said the forum is a way to educate people about cybersecurity.
The CyberMontgomery Forum is “a forum for cybersecurity educators and companies and businesses that provide that service to come together and talk about, among other things, meeting the challenges and meeting the need of cybersecurity professionals as well as cybersecurity in general,” according to Roundy.
Bernadette Goovaerts, Montgomery County Department of Economic Developmentsenior business development specialist, said the purpose of CyberMontgomery is to bring the businesses together to learn and network.
“We started CyberMontgomery last year at the first conference to bring together the community here. The community consists of a very solid private sector of companies that are growing a lot,” said Goovaerts.
Roundy said cybersecurity affects everyone.
“It affects everybody in that you can lose personally identifiable information, which can lead to identity theft, not to mention loss of money in the bank account,” said Roundy.
Roundy said one goal is to inform the public about cybersecurity after the breaches many companies have faced, such as the Target and Sony incidents.
“What we are hoping to do is teach, train people so they can defend against such things,” said Roundy.
This portion of the event will include both how such risks can occur and how to businesses can prevent them.
“The CEO and the rest of the board have to understand that protecting the company requires the application of cybersecurity measures. So it’s gone from sort of a niche issue that was merely enabling the business to becoming a key component for protecting the business,” said Hoffman.
According to Goovaerts, the forum also includes a session in which speakers will discuss how to protect small businesses with limited resources against cyber risk.
“Large companies have bigger budgets and usually very highly professional people who understand the landscape. But what is a small company going to do? Somebody can come and hack and ruin their reputation, and it’s very hard,” said Goovaerts.
Goovaerts said part of the forum will focus on debunking cybersecurity myths as well as ways to prepare those in college for the workforce, how to solve the big challenges in cybersecurity, and how to be successful in the commercial market with cyber products.
Hoffman said that he sees CyberMontgomery as an event that will continue to grow throughout the years.
“We see this as a conference that is going to be a mainstay on the calendar for anybody involved in cyber in Montgomery County and the region, not just Montgomery County,” said Hoffman.
CyberMaryland will take place on Oct. 28 and 29 at the Baltimore Convention Center.