The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Tag: EMC

Mission Accomplished

Gary Smith is a recent graduate of the M.S. in Information Technology Management program at Brandeis GPS. He is currently a Manager Symm Software Customer Service at EMC Corporation.

“Having recently graduatedgary1 from Brandeis GPS with my Master’s in Information Technology Management, I can confidently say that GPS helped me to achieve the goals and objectives I had when beginning this program. I have always enjoyed managing and coaching, and coming into Brandeis GPS I had hoped that a Master of Science in Information Technology Management would help me to progress my IT management career at Egary2MC.

I have learned a great deal about leading and managing in the IT world. My courses at GPS taught me differing perspectives on IT management, operational and organizational strategies, project management methodologies, and managing in a virtual worldwide environment. Classes like “Negotiating and Conflict Resolution” have improved my ability to negotiate with customers, management, and employees, all of gary3which have been very useful to my profession.

The courses I have taken at Brandeis GPS have helped me to communicate technical issues through various mediums both internally at my office  and to our customers and partners. I now have a wider viewpoint of the IT industry outside of my current employer’s perspective. Through Brandeis GPS I have become a more effective, ethical leader and have added valuable skills to my repertoire.”

 

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Adapting Design to the User

Written by: Kelsey Whitaker, A Senior at Brandeis University

The way in which people experience design is a vital factor in the success of any creation. There is currently a growing movement of designers who search to implement technologies that adapt to the user. This is where the newest Master of Science program at Brandeis GPS in User-Centered design comes in. User-centered design covers fields including Human Factors, Human Computer Interaction, and User Experience. Human factors deal with the physical factors of interaction as well as the psychological and social factors of design. Human computer interaction is concerned with the interfaces between humans and computers and how these factors influence user experience. User experience deals with the usability issues of design. In addition to providing students with an advanced understandingUCDGraph of these areas, the program at Brandeis GPS will provide students with the leadership skills necessary to implement and advocate for design thinking.

Currently, the field of User-centered design is in high demand and expected to grow significantly over the next ten years. CNN Money recently voted the profession as the #14 best job in America. It was also featured in Glassdoor’s list of “25 Highest Paying Jobs with the Most Openings Right Now.” “User experience has caught on so much, both as something that people enjoy doing and something that is more and more widely recognized as being valuable to a growing number of companies,” says user experience designer Louisa Armbrust. The applications of user-centered design are broad and specialization can be found in fields such as information architecture, web designing, engineering, interactive media, and technology. Leading organizations that are currently hiring user-centered designers include Amazon, IBM, Disney, Apple, and several more.

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The Brandeis GPS user-centered design degree program is geared towards individuals who are currently working in fields such as information technology, computer science, information architecture, web design, and other related areas, who are looking to extend their expertise in human factors of design. The Brandeis GPS program is unique because there are few online master’s degree programs in this field, none of which are geared towards developing leadership. In addition to a focus on leadership development, the available electives will create possibilities for students to graduate with skills in user interface design. This is an altogether different field than user-centered design, however, employers generally search for individuals with skills in both. The 30 credit program consists of 7 required courses and 3 electives.

Interested in the User-centered design program at Brandeis GPS? Apply now! To learn more about the program, contact 781-736-8787 or  gps@brandeis.edu.

 

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An Educational Journey

Written by: Sivasankar Veerabhadran, May 2015 graduate from Brandeis GPS‘ M.S. in Information Security and Consultant Solutions Engineer at EMC

Twenty-five years ago, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from a university in India. Ever since graduating I wanted to pursue my Master’s degree from a highly regarded university in the United States. My dream finally came true this spring as a result of the commitment to continuing education for working professionals (like myself)from both EMC Corporation & Brandeis University.

Working in Information Technology, it is extremely important to keep up-to-date with the technology and skills needed to excel in the current global market. I strongly felt that I should not invest my time and effort on education at this stage of my life just to get another degree. Instead, my education should guide me and give me the confidence to take my career to the next level. In addition, if it is SankarBlog2in one of the relevant technical fields like Information Security from a highly regarded university like Brandeis, it is a huge plus.

Some of the following courses offered as  part of my Master’s degree program are my favorite ones. In addition to learning from the professors, text books, and related materials, I learned a lot from fellow students and their real world working experiences, who all are professionals with extensive knowledge in their respective fields.

I have to say this, while looking for the options to continue my education at various universities, the integration of Brandeis GPS courses with our internal Educational Services portal at EMC, and the related approval work flow model was one of the reasons I have decided to start and continue my professional studies with Brandeis University. The process was as easy as signing up for any internal training courses.

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Sankar & his student advisor, Janice

I really would like to express my thanks and appreciation to our student advisor Janice Steinberg for all the advice provided to me during the entire program. I really thought that after all these years getting the “Education Credential Evaluation” done for all my old school diplomas and college degrees completed in India must be a huge process.  Janice helped me with the whole process and made it so simple  that I could apply for the actual program after a long break with 4 courses.

Along with my wife, kids, family, and parents, my manager Charlie Dellacona also motivated me a lot to complete this degree. He always insisted on the importance of education along with experience for professionals like us to advance our career to the next level. A bit of his advice, “Sankar, education is the best investment you can make for yourself and also for your family, which is always  yours no matter where life takes you,” this was the greatest motivational factor.

As per my professor’s advice, I am currently working on  getting “Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) “ & Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certifications. I am looking forward to contribute a lot to Cloud security based initiatives.

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Brandeis GPS Commencement Wrap-Up

Written by: Kelsey Whitaker, A Senior at Brandeis University

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Amyntrah Maxwell & Rabb VP Karen Muncaster

On May 17th, to the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance”, the Rabb School of Graduate Professional Studies‘ class of 2015 donned their caps and gowns and received their diplomas. The ceremony awarded Master’s degrees in various fields  including: Bioinformatics, Health and Medical Informatics, Information SecurityIT ManagementProject & Program Management and Software Engineering. Students sat proudly and  enjoyed the student and main commencement speaker’s words of wisdom for their future.   As working professionals in their respective fields, each degree recipient juggled work, school, and personal  matters in order to earn their master’s degree.

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Student speaker, Louis Rosa III

The student speaker for the day was Louis Rosa III, who earned his Doctor of Medicine from Georgetown University’s School of Medicine and has over 30 years of experience in the fields of neurosurgery and radiation therapy. However, the day of commencement Rosa walked out with a newly earned diploma in Health and Medical Informatics. After all of his experience, why did Rosa pursue his degree from Brandeis GPS? “No matter how many patients I saw, I couldn’t have enough of an impact,” Rosa explained. Rosa went on to explain the impact his new degree would have on his career and his life.

The main Commencement speaker, Curtis H. Tearte, is a 1973 Brandeis graduate and also a  current Board of Trustees member. Tearte has vast experience in technology and business as former director, vice president and general manager of IBM “My experience at Brandeis exponentially changed the arc of my life,” he explained to the graduates. Tearte is also the founder of Tearte Associates, a firm dedicated to seeking out students with academic potential to become Tearte Scholars through his Family Foundation. His advice to the graduates was, “Keep putting out good and it will come back to us tenfold in unexpected ways.”

Commencement speaker, Curtis H. Tearte

In addition to the speakers, the Outstanding Teacher Award Recipient was presented to Leanne Bateman. Teaching at Brandeis since 2007, Bateman serves as Academic Program Chair and a faculty member for Project and Program Management and Strategic Analytics. Congrats, Leanne!

Congratulations to the 2015 graduates! You did it! Good luck in all your future plans and endeavors.

Want to see the live stream of commencement? You’re in luck! Watch it here.

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Creating the Total Package

Below is a post written by M.S. in Information Security graduate, Megan Olvera. She is an EMC employee who is continuing her quest for life-long learning. Below are her thoughts on her experience with Brandeis GPS.

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“I am admittedly a lifelong learner. I have always loved school, and although I had just wrapped up my first Master’s Degree in 2010, by 2011, I was already missing the classroom. Unfortunately, I couldn’t justify the time and expense required to earn another degree “just because.”  What to do, what to do?  My career had taken a turn from a more liberal arts focus into the world of IT, and although my daily responsibilities didn’t require an IT background, having that level of knowledge certainly wouldn’t hurt.  When my employer (EMC) sent out information about their partnership with Brandeis, jumping into the Master of Science in Information Security program seemed a perfect next step.

My previous formal education was focused on the Humanities side of the house, so I worried that I’d struggle with the more technical concepts I knew would come with this program; working in IT and learning IT in theory are often two very different things.  I was happy to discover that the Brandeis instructors were not only patient in clarifying issues for me, but they seemed to appreciate the human-experience slant that my own background naturally brought to our class discussions.  More than once, professors offered feedback that they valued the perspectives I added to the conversations.

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The online learning format of Brandeis GPS was ideal for me, as I lead a busy life between family, work, and all-consuming hobbies.  If I had a vacation planned or needed to travel for work, there were no worries about missing class, as class came with me!  I’d be sure to message my professors of any planned time away, just in case I ran into connectivity issues, and most professors were accommodating if I asked for a weekly assignment to be made available early, so that I could work ahead when needed.

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As I progressed through the curriculum at Brandeis, my new found knowledge was noticed and appreciated at work. At times, it even caused exclamations of surprise from my manager at my ability to clearly understand and troubleshoot technical issues that had stumped other members of our team.  In addition to learning technical concepts, I also learned how to efficiently communicate with management; presenting the need-to-know information in a way that enables them to quickly grasp issues and impacts and then make decisions.  In my current role, I interact with clients who expect a certain level of technical expertise combined with graceful communication skills, and now, thanks to my experience at Brandeis, I can confidently step forward and claim that competence.  If any readers are on the fence about committing to (in my case, yet another) degree program, hesitate no longer – Brandeis is the way to go!”

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What you missed at the Analytics 360 Symposium

By Ariel Garber

Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies hosted the Analytics 360 Symposium on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at Brandeis University. The symposium took a look at using analytics to guide strategic, operational and tactical decisions specifically in the areas of education, healthcare and business.

The sessions covered a wide range perspectives within the analytics field, from The Open Data Analytics Initiative, to 10 Steps to Tracking Engagement and Influence Online, to A Holistic Approach to Being Data Science Driven.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Robert Carver, award-winning Professor of Business Administration at Stonehill College as well as Adjunct Professor at the International
Business School at Brandeis University.Dr. Rob CarverOther sessions included The Application of Analytics in the Student’s Academic Lifecycle session led by Leanne Bateman, Faculty Chair for Strategic Analytics at Brandeis University and Principal Consultant for Beacon Strategy Group, a Boston-based management firm specializing in project management services.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 2.25.35 PMOther speakers, including professors, leading executives, and researchers, focused on topics such as publicity, e-learning, and big data. Alan Girelli spoke on The Open Data Analytics Initiative, with a comparative discussion of Learning Analytics (a link to his presentation is available here). Girelli is the Director of the Center for Innovation and Excellence in eLearning (CIEE) and has taught online, on-ground, and blended writing and instructional design courses at the graduate and undergraduate level for UMass Boston, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and ITT Technologies.

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We want to extend a big thank you to our panelists, Rob Carver, Leanne Bateman, David Dietrich, Shlomi Dinoor, Alan Girelli, Haijing Hao, and John McDougall. The event was sponsored by Basho, Soft10, Brandeis International Business School, EMC and E-Learning Innovation.

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Watch Your Language: How Security Professionals Miscommunicate About Risk

Author: Derek Brink

Original Post: https://blogs.rsa.com/watch-language-security-professionals-miscommunicate-risk/

What a joy it is to be understood! Yet many security professionals find it difficult to be understood by the business decision-makers they are trying to advise.

“They just don’t get it,” we say. And we grumble that our committed, faithful, and honorable efforts to protect the company and its assets are under-recognized, under-appreciated . . . and under-funded.

riskWe could try speaking louder, and more slowly—the comedic memes for how we instinctively try to communicate with someone who speaks a different language.

Of course, we could start trying to speak the same language. That would probably yield better results.

The way we talk about risk is a prime example of how we habitually miscommunicate. Security professionals mistakenly think they are talking about risk, when they are, in fact, talking about threats, vulnerabilities, and exploits. Some examples include

  • Phishing attacks: This is not a risk. It’s an exploit of a very common vulnerability (humans).
  • OWASP Top 10: These are mistakenly described as “The 10 Most Critical Web Application Security Risks,” but they are not risks. They’re vulnerabilities and exploits.
  • Advanced persistent threats: This isn’t a risk. It’s a threat. (Even when we get the name right, we get it wrong.)
  • Rootkits: This is not a risk. It’s a type of exploit.

As security professionals, we tend to go on and on, talking about threats, vulnerabilities, exploits, and the technologies that help to defend against them, and we think we’re talking about risk. Meanwhile, the business decision-makers we’re trying to advise are confused and frustrated.

So, what is the right language? What is risk?

Shon Harris, author of the popular CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide, defines risk as “the likelihood of a threat agent exploiting a vulnerability, and the corresponding business impact.” Douglas Hubbard, author of The Failure of Risk Management: Why It’s Broken, and How to Fix It, defines risk as “the probability and magnitude of a loss, disaster, or other undesirable event.” (And in an even simpler version: “something bad could happen.”)

To be very clear, it’s not that there are multiple definitions of risk, or that the definition of risk is unclear. It’s that we as security professionals aren’t speaking the right language. When we speak about security risks, we should be speaking about the probability of successful exploits, and the magnitude of the corresponding business impact.

Imagine yourself in the role of the business decision-maker, and imagine that your subject matter experts presented you with the following assessment of risks related to endpoint security:

  • Cleverly engineered stealth malware, rootkits, is designed to evade detection, and persists on endpoints for prolonged periods of time. And new strains of malware are targeting an area of endpoints that performs critical start-up operations, the master boot record, which can provide attackers with a wide variety of capabilities for penetration, persistence, and control. In both cases, we may already be infected, but not even aware.
  • There is a 15 percent probability that an endpoint security exploit will result in business disruption and productivity losses that may exceed $5M.

internet-security1Which of these would be more helpful to you in terms of informing a decision about endpoint security? (It should go without saying that this point could just as easily apply to managing identities and access, or data protection, or application security, or mobility initiatives, and so on. Endpoint security is just an illustrative example.)

Clearly, the second option is more helpful. And the second option is properly framed in terms of risk.

In no way does this guarantee what the actual decision will be. One decision-maker might conclude, “I approve your request to invest in additional endpoint security controls to reduce this risk,” while another decision-maker might conclude, “that’s a risk I’m willing to live with.” But that’s okay—as security professionals, we will have done our job.

By better understanding how to communicate about security risks, we will also enjoy the benefits of being better understood.

About the Author:

BA8D94F2924E634831C8CA3D8E7179C7477BBC1Derek E. Brink, CISSP is a Vice President and Research Fellow covering topics in IT Security and IT GRC for Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company. He is also a adjunct faculty with Brandeis University, Graduate Professional Studies teaching courses in our Information Security Program. For more blog posts by Derek, please see http://blogs.aberdeen.com/category/it-security/  and http://aberdeen.com/_aberdeen/it-security/ITSA/practice.aspx

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