A Student’s Experience at the CSX North America Conference


As a student working to complete a master’s degree in IT Management and working to advance in my career path, I found many advantages to attending CSX 2015 North America. Exchanging ideas and opportunities, networking with professionals in the cybersecurity field, learning more about the industry, and increasing awareness of new trends are some of the greatest benefits of this professional conference.

I had the pleasure and the honor of being among the 50 students who were awarded ISACA’s CSX 2015 North America Student Scholarship to attend day two of this conference at the Marriott Wardham Park in Washington DC. My essay titled “Risk Assessment and Mitigation in Mobile Application Development” offered me the opportunity to address threats to critical infrastructure and set out recommendations for companies for future actions. I was also given the opportunity to attend day one and day three with the help and support of Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, where I am currently employed as a Technical Analyst.

I was very happy and fortunate to attend ISACA’s CSX conference because, as anyone working in the field can attest, cyberattacks are fast becoming recognized in the US and globally as a top threat. I really enjoyed the keynote speakers, especially Mike Rogers, John Sileo and Robert Herjavec, and found their presentations to be extremely valuable in both my professional and academic work. The highlight at the opening session was the keynote address by Former US Congressman and CNN National Security Commentator Mike Rogers, who covered the subject of how defending US security is no longer about securing physical borders and increasingly about cyberspace. His words left a deep impression in my mind, most notably the statement “Data breach mitigation plan discussion should be a top priority in every company.”

Keynote speaker John Sileo covered his personal experience of being a victim of social engineering, which resonated strongly with me. I learned a lot of techniques for engaging people in security awareness so that we can better protect our enterprises and our personal identifiable information, and build effective fraud-fighting techniques against the “bad guys.” Each session I attended was informative and engaging, providing insights that are already benefitting me in my day-to-day work.

As a student scholarship recipient, I was welcomed to attend some great presentations such as the Personal Branding workshop covered by William Arruda. William took us through his proven three-step personal branding process “DITCH, DARE, DO” in order to stand out from the myriad others with similar career ambitions, attract the attention of hiring managers, ace the interview, and land our ideal jobs. I learned so much from this personal branding seminar; I was able to align who I am with what I do and where my ambitions are leading in the future. This was an important session for everyone, but especially students, because Arruda taught about how to market yourself and stand out in a labor market that has never been more competitive.

I also enjoyed observing the live CyberLympics World Finals. Congratulations to the “Hack.ERS” from The Netherlands for winning first place in the highly competitive ethical hacking computer network defense game. Being in the room and watching live as these teams from around the world were hacking the network, I knew immediately that this was an event not to be missed.

Lastly, in the exhibit hall I was able to experience the latest cybersecurity technologies, tools and services from the top companies in the IT audit, cybersecurity and governance industries. From a professional standpoint, the expo hall was the place to discover and learn more about the great tools and technologies a company might be looking for to address their cybersecurity challenges.

The three day trip to Washington, DC was meaningful for me, as it was my first time there—not only experiencing the city, but also attending a cybersecurity conference of such size and depth. The knowledge, connections and perspective I found at this conference continue to inform my thoughts and my work as a cyber defendant. It was wonderful to meet and network with new people promoting new ideas, vendors selling new products and experts teaching new cyber defense methods, and I am proud of being part of ISACA, which is such a great organization. The experience of attending this conference will be an invaluable, treasured memory, and the knowledge I have taken away will be useful throughout my career. For those seeking career advice and professional development in cybersecurity, CSX is the conference to attend. I look forward to meeting you in Las Vegas next year!

Yaro Sadek Tahirou
Technical Analyst, Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union

Registration is now open for CSX 2016 North America in Las Vegas. Visit www.isaca.org/cyber-con and click the CSX 2016 tab to reserve your space.

[ISACA Now Blog]

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