Cybersecurity experts converge on Knoxville, Offer valuable takeaways at EDGE2017

National cybersecurity conference expands in second year with more than 450 attendees from 21 different states

KNOXVILLE, TN (October 30, 2017) — The EDGE Security Conference, a first-class cybersecurity conference which took place last week, Oct. 17-18, at the Knoxville Convention Center, brought experts from 21 different states to discuss real-world business security problems and their solutions.

The EDGE Security Conference started last year with the goal of offering a more personal conference experience. EDGE is designed to educate business and technology professionals about the impact cybercrime can create, and to encourage information security professionals to openly discuss these issues, both with company decision makers and each other to foster a community of creative problem solvers.

“The first year’s event was a real success, so trying to build on that was a fun challenge,” said John McNeely, president and CEO of Sword & Shield Enterprise Security, the company hosting EDGE2017. “This year, we were able to expand the speaker tracks and that was a big success. Moving to the Convention Center allowed us to do that. We also saw the number of attendees growing this year to almost double what we had last year, which was great.”

With more than 30 speakers from both the private and public sectors, topics discussed at EDGE2017 ranged from automobile computer system hacking and ransomware to blockchain technology and cyber warfare.

Here are the top three takeaways from the conference:

  1. Cybersecurity should be viewed as a necessity, not a hassle.

If cybersecurity’s weakest link (humans) commit to stronger security, a majority of cybercrime can be thwarted. Consider this:

“Ninety percent of what I deal with on a regular basis could have been prevented,” said Scott Augembaum, special agent for the FBI. “And what the bad guys are doing right now is stealing email. They’re stealing the username and password, because when the bad guy gets your username and password, he gets the keys to your crown jewels. And unfortunately, since 60 to 70 percent of the population is using the same password for multiple platforms, the bad guy steals one email, such as in the Yahoo breach where the bad guys stole 3 billion Yahoo usernames and passwords. And if 60 and 70 percent of those users are using those same passwords for multiple platforms, now they’re logging in to corporate email accounts, cloud accounts, Dropbox accounts, payroll files, accounting … the list goes on. So, in my opinion, keeping email safe with two-factor authentication would solve a number of these common problems.”

  1. A proactive mindset is key to keeping critical data secure.

Diligence, patch management, training, and planning ahead to be resilient are essential. Consider this:

“When companies are hit by something like ransomware and their critical data is compromised, being able to recover that data because they have a resilient backup strategy is everything,” said Tony Rucci, director of information security and threat intelligence for Information International Associates, Inc. “Most importantly, companies need to practice recovering their data to instill confidence that they are prepared in the event they become compromised.”

  1. A top-down cultural shift needs to happen.

A recurring theme was the promotion of C-suite executives becoming part of information security decision making. Consider this:

“If you think about a large company of 100,000 employees, you maybe have 100 security employees,” said Ben Johnson, co-founder of Carbon Black and co-founder and CTO of Obsidian Security. “That’s a 1,000 to 1 ratio. So, for every 1,000 people adding risk by being human, there’s one security person trying to remove risk. The more the actual employees and management get involved, the better. I do think with some of these major breaches we’ve seen recently, there have been discussions by people who are not technical at all or haven’t cared at all about security in a corporate environment, and who are now saying ‘what can I do?’ Not to say that those breaches are positive in any way, other than the silver lining might be more awareness.”

With cybersecurity topping headlines, Knoxville City Mayor, Madeline Rogero, was in attendance.

“Cybersecurity is one of the biggest concerns that we all have,” Mayor Rogero said. “So, bringing together people from all across the country to join with the talent that we have here in Knoxville to explore and create ways to understand how to address cybersecurity I think is huge for the industry.”

To find out more about EDGE2017, and to get updates on EDGE2018, visit

About EDGE2017

EDGE2017 Security Conference is the second annual EDGE Security Conference presented by Sword & Shield Enterprise Security, Inc. EDGE2017 is focused on exploring real-world solutions to today’s toughest cybersecurity challenges. Dedicated to advancing the security industry through comprehensive world-class sessions, EDGE2017 is designed to educate business and technology professionals, and encourage information security professionals to openly discuss the issues that are facing their industry to foster a community of creative problem solvers. To learn more about EDGE2017, visit


Knoxville Convention Center
Knoxville, TN

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