EDGE2016 Puts Knoxville, Tenn. on the Map for CyberSecurity

Inaugural national cybersecurity conference in Knoxville, Tennessee hosts more than 350 cybersecurity professionals and business leaders to discover real-world solutions to the growing threat of cyberattacks


Former White House CIO and Identity Theft Expert Theresa Payton speaks to EDGE2016 attendees.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. Oct. 26, 2016 – EDGE2016 Security Conference, the inaugural world-class cybersecurity conference where complex business security problems meet real-world solutions, concluded last week after providing information security professionals and business leadership valuable cybersecurity insights and actionable information from a variety of experts for two days at the Crowne Plaza in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Bringing in more than 350 attendees, EDGE2016 featured experts in the fields of healthcare, retail, legal, banking and finance, manufacturing, and government information security to have an open dialogue about the cybersecurity challenges every industry is facing.

“Information is everything, and in the business world it’s nearly all accessed through some form of technology,” said John McNeely, president of Sword & Shield Enterprise Security, the company hosting EDGE2016. “You may not think your business is at risk, but think about how much of your day-to-day operations rely on computers, servers, smartphones, etc., and how much of your information is stored and delivered on those devices. It’s easy to see the impact a security breach can have if your technology is negatively impacted or your information becomes compromised. Our goal for this conference was to bring experts from a variety of industries together to meet with business leaders and security professionals to learn how they can focus on managing and mitigating the growing risk of cyberattacks, and I think we not only accomplished that, but also put Knoxville on the map as a growing hub for cybersecurity.”

Keynote speakers at the conference included Theresa Payton, former White House CIO, cybersecurity authority and expert on identity theft and the Internet of Things (IoT); and Kevin Poulsen, a former hacker once wanted by the FBI turned cybersecurity expert and current editor at Wired magazine.

“I think it’s always a great day when business leaders get together and talk about the challenges we’re all facing,” said Payton during an interview after her keynote speech on day one of the conference. “One, you realize you’re not alone, but two, you can hear from each other how somebody else has solved this. Cybercrime attacks everybody – and so we’ve got to put our competitive guard down and be able to just talk openly about what to do to prevent you being the next victim. A forum like this, where people can come and talk openly and ask questions of the experts, is always great and a positive step forward for cybersecurity.”

In addition to the keynote speakers, Tim Flowers, a trial attorney in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the United States Department of Justice, spoke about the relevant provisions of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) and how companies can work with law enforcement after experiencing a suspected intrusion; while Graham Holmes, director of Advanced Security Initiatives Group at Cisco, discussed rising concerns about security integrity of critical, open source software components and how development teams and the industry can mitigate and manage risk.

Sword & Shield President and CEO John McNeely addresses the EDGE2016 crowd.

Sword & Shield President and CEO John McNeely addresses the EDGE2016 crowd.

Local and regional speakers at the event included Justin Bornhoeft, information technology business manager at Cellular Sales; Karen Clark, chief information officer at OrthoTennessee; Fred Cobb, vice president of services at Sword & Shield Enterprise Security; Bill Dean, senior manager of Information Services Division at LBMC; Joshua Eldridge, director, data science, Scripps Networks Interactive; Shaun Gleason, division director, Computational Sciences and Engineering Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Chris McCarty, IP attorney and shareholder, Lewis Thomason; Chris Meystrik, chief technology officer at Jewelry Television; David Parker, supervisor, security architecture at Eastman Chemical; Tony Rucci, director of information security and threat intelligence programs, Information International Associates, Inc.; Adrian Sanabria, senior security analyst at 451 Research; and Bob Wilson, information security officer, Covenant Health.

“Sometimes [business leaders] don’t see how [cyberattacks] affects the bottom line of their business,” said Parker, speaking after his session. “It might not just be a money thing. It can be a reputation hit, or a denial of service type of attack that all of the sudden they’re not able to deliver products anymore. There’s so many different vectors that they need to think about from an aspect of how to react to it, and they get so much in the media today that it becomes noise. So I think they need help from the professionals in their IT and security departments to sit down and say, ‘Okay, here are the things that are important to us as a company, here’s what makes us valuable and differentiates us in the market,’ and protect those things so they have specific goals to reach toward.”

Multiple track sessions were held at the event, giving attendees a chance to participate and share their own experiences on security. “It’s not just one person talking, it’s a conversation,” said McNeely. “That level of engagement and deep dive into the topic at hand typically gives a lot of takeaway value for everyone at the table.”

Plans are underway for EDGE2017, which will be at the Knoxville Convention Center on October 17-18, 2017, and early registration is now open.

“EDGE2016 was such a huge success, we’re already working to expand the conference in 2017 to make it even bigger and better,” said McNeely. “We will be adding more track sessions and plan to cover more topics, we’ll be including executive briefings, and we want to increase and enhance the networking opportunities for everyone who attends. We also want to dive deeper into technical tracks on topics such as cybersecurity frontiers to review current and needed innovations. There’s a lot more to come and this is just the beginning, so we encourage everyone to go ahead to mark your calendars and sign up now for EDGE2017 next October.”

To register for EDGE2017, visit https://edgesecurityconference.com/edge2017.

About EDGE2016

EDGE2016 Security Conference is the inaugural offering of the annual EDGE Security Conferences presented by Sword & Shield Enterprise Security, Inc. EDGE2016 is focused on exploring real-world solutions to today’s toughest cybersecurity challenges. Dedicated to advancing the security industry through comprehensive world-class sessions, EDGE2016 is designed to educate business professionals and encourage information security professionals to openly discuss the issues that are facing their industry to foster a community of creative problem solvers.



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