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Alumni News

Cyber Security

Digital Defenders: Sheridan grads have what it takes to tackle cybercrime

April 17, 2015

This May, Sheridan will host a Cyber Security Symposium in partnership with leading Canadian IT services company Scalar Decisions. The half-day event will focus on the growing threat of cybercrime and what companies can do to protect themselves against it.

What makes Sheridan an ideal partner? Our graduates, for one reason. “Sheridan has an excellent alumni network who are well-connected with industry,” says Aoife McMonagle, Director of Marketing & Communications at Scalar Decisions.

Denny Sousa is one of those alumni. With Scalar since 2011, he graduated from Sheridan with a diploma in Telecommunications Technology in 2000. As Solutions Architect, Sousa’s job is to ensure that customers have the services and technologies most suitable to their needs.

“You need to stay on top of the various technologies. It’s the day-to-day workload and diverse technology base that makes the work so great for me,” says Sousa.

The Official Supplier for IT security to the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, Scalar was recently named one of Canada’s top small and medium employers.

Sousa explains that security is a multi-layered concept. “Security measures have to be deployed at various levels of a company. There are ways of making a company secure; encryption, perimeter security, firewalls and user authentication and intrusion detection are just some methods.”

User education is also a crucial factor in safeguarding systems, he says. “Believe it or not, there are still easy-to-break passwords being set, passwords being sent via email or saved on a public computer.”

Never disclose passwords or password-related information and don't keep passwords written down or on spreadsheets, adds McMonagle. “Companies need to focus on a three-pronged approach of people, process, and technology to ensure that they can adequately prepare, defend, and respond to cyber security threats.”

In his time at Scalar, Sousa has had the opportunity to work with Sheridan graduates who have been brought into the company. “From a technical stand point, the college’s telecommunications program is top notch,” he says.

Ryan Wilson, Chief Security Advisor at Scalar and an impressive grad success story in his own right, says he is constantly impressed by the quality of Sheridan alumni. The 2002 Telecommunications Technology grad credits those who designed the program using “a unique blend of business-focused individuals, who understand the governance and compliance part of the industry, and those who have a deep understanding of the technical aspects.”

Adds Scalar’s Manager, Cyber Security Operations, Enzo Sacco: “Sheridan’s Information Systems Security Co-Op program has the reputation of providing a large pool of high-quality graduates who are very capable.”

When talking about the core skills needed to succeed at a Scalar job interview, Sacco says that, aside from the essential technical knowledge, “We’re looking at a strong sense of curiosity, people who are looking for what caused a security breach or incident.”

Sousa, who has also been a part of the hiring process, adds that “Good communication is crucial. There are a lot of people who are technical but can’t communicate in a meaningful way.” 

Denny SousaPictured above: Denny Sousa, Solutions Architect

Read Ryan Wilson’s grad success story here

Read more about Scalar

Learn more about Sheridan’s Applied Computing programs.

By Mehreen Shahid, Journalism – Print, 2015