Cyber technology topic of North Augusta Chamber event

October 3, 2018

Cyber has no boundaries: it’s one of the sentiments Gen. Les Eisner with the Cyber SC Foundation left with the audience at the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce’s Cyber Ecosystem talk Tuesday evening.

The North Augusta Chamber brought local government, education and cyber industry leaders to speak on the state and importance of cyber activity.

“Cyber, the challenge with cyber is that it means so many things to so many people, it means nothing to anyone,” Eisner said. “You know whenever you pick up a smart device … it’s a cyber device. It’s a software defined ecosystem, software defined society, and so in that society there’s an element of efficiency, economic growth, but there’s also an element of protection, so the purpose of this gathering today is to have that dialogue between our industry partners, our government partners and our academic partners on how do we leverage the goodness out of cyber and how do we protect ourselves from people who either want to steal our data, or breach our infrastructure, or undermine the world that we all live in.”

Cyber related news and activity continues to build around the CSRA. The U.S. Army is building its main cyberspace operations at Fort Gordon in Augusta, which is already home to a cyber training facility, the Cyber Center of Excellence.

Charles Johnson, founder and CEO of EDTS Cyber echoed Eisner’s thought about the word “cyber,” saying it was an interesting word.

“For years it had a negative connotation: cyber bullying, cyber stalking, cyber warfare, and now it means a lot of things to a lot of people. It means protecting the network, protecting our nation’s networks and with the Cyber Command and the NSA’s new presence here in Augusta, it’s like you can’t be in a conversation at lunch or anything else without someone saying the word ‘cyber,’” Johnson said.

Eisner said during the event that in Webster’s, cyber is defined as a culture of computers, and that it “permeates everything we do today” because today is a software defined world.

Fran Altringer, virtual learning coordinator for Aiken County Public School District, talked about some of the recent cyber-based initiatives, including partnerships with local businesses and Fort Gordon. University of South Carolina Aiken chancellor Dr. Sandra Jordan also talked about how cyber is being used at the university, and their recently created cyber curriculum.

Robert Smith with EDTS talked about the importance of safety with cyber, as well as the increasing seriousness in cyber threats, saying someone going to rob a bank doesn’t need to take a gun to the bank, they just need a computer, patience, time, effort and energy to get the same result.

“A contributing factor to this is that we as a society as it’s been said, have grown in the number of devices that we’re entrusting with our information, with our livelihood, with our kids’ information, with our education systems. Smart dryers, television, phones, everything, watches. By 2025 we will have 80 billion devices connected to the internet,” he said.

Other speakers at Tuesday’s event included North Augusta Mayor Bob Pettit, North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover, Tom Scott with Cyber SC, Raymond Strawbridge with Circadence, Sean Fay with South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and Earl Johnson with AECOM.

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