On June 19th - June 23rd, 2019, we welcomed six international visitors from the Philippines for an IVLP single country program entitled “Sustaining Cybersecurity." This program was planned to provide participants with insights, strategies, and tools to improve interagency coordination on cybersecurity, to strengthen cyber policies and legislation and encourage adoption of multi-stakeholder approach to regulation.
On Thursday morning, our visitors had a great tour of the Rackspace premises, a leading company in San Antonio. The guests learnt about the company’s work to ensure the safety of data across hundreds of thousands of clients. The representatives discussed their experience in public-private collaboration, as well as strengthening cyber policies and legislation.
This conversation continued in a meeting with the District Representative and Deputy District Director from the Office of Congressman Will Hurd. The dialogue was mostly around the work of the House Information Technology Subcommittee when the passage of Federal CIO Authorization Act of 2018 reformed executive branch information security. The guests also learned about the DHS Data Framework Act which helps provide resources to the Department of Homeland Security to fight cyber threats.
After lunch, they met with a wonderful group of academic representatives at the Texas A&M University San Antonio (TAMUSA), Center for Information Technology and Cyber Security. The group professors welcomed the guests and shared about the development of a comprehensive IT and cybersecurity education and research program that prepares TAMUSA students for cyber careers.
On Friday morning, the visitors had a great discussion time with representatives of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s Cybersecurity Industry Council. Acting Vise President for Cybersecurity and Director of Cybersecurity San Antonio presented a detailed overview of the collaboration that is done in private, private-public and public sectors, federal government, academic and entrepreneurial levels where dedicated people comply to connect and grow San Antonio’s cybersecurity industry. The presentation also covered the industry-driven programs that accelerate the growth and national reputation of San Antonio’s cybersecurity sector by fostering a collaborative environment for innovation, job-producing investments and public-private partnerships.
The next meeting was with Digital Defense, Inc. which was founded in 1999 and aims at managing security risk assessments that help organizations across the globe defend data and keep brands and reputation secure. The ILVP guests learned about the organization’s experience in driving out risk with a unique combination of high automation, inclusive of leading-edge patented technology, complemented by high touch from a dedicated team of security analysts, researchers ad client advocates. The conversation was a great exchange of expertise and experience.
After lunch, our delegation headed for the meeting with representatives of the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Department of Information Systems and Cyber Security. This meeting was helpful due to the academic perspective of the matter. The participants learned about programs, including a Cyber Center for Security and Analytics, which specializes in high-impact research as well as the Critical Technology Studies Program and is designed to prepare students for work in the national security apparatus.
The visit to San Antonio was especially bright for our visitors as they had a chance to experience the hospitality of SACIV’s members on Saturday evening, when each IVLP participant enjoyed face-to-face conversations with the local members, experiencing the example of local family traditions and Texan home hospitality.
Through these varied and impactful meetings, the delegation from the Philippines was able to explore San Antonio’s successful collaboration in public-private sector to strengthen cyber policies and legislation, to learn from US academic resources about their programs that help produce modern generation of cyber security professionals. Each one of the participants admitted what a great value every meeting was, as they were able to exchange experience and expertise that had been collected, tested and gained over decades.