While cybersecurity is widely seen as essential for all organizations, the public sector higher education environment presents unique challenges: Academic environments have a tradition of openness and sharing; research projects have unique IT requirements; a shortage of professionals drives salaries beyond the realm of the public sector; and the nature of the work often makes it feel as if we’re pitted against our own colleagues. Our adversaries are well-funded and even at low success rates, their attacks become our catastrophic failures. Seemingly every month a new “worst ever” zero-day vulnerability is announced. These conditions can cause security practitioners to feel as if our efforts are not effective, leading to prolonged anxiety and burnout. This session features a panel of security practitioners who will tell our stories, not only the challenges that we face, but also our strategies for coping with and combatting the sense that cybersecurity is like fighting constantly losing battle. Audience members are encouraged to join in by sharing their own experiences, and together we can at the very least make it clear that none of us is alone in this.


Dave Kubert
Chief Information Security Officer | University of Northern British Columbia

Dave is the chief information security Officer at the University of Northern British Columbia. He’s spent his career in academia working in Unix systems administration, network engineering, and software development before finally surrendering the last vestiges of his soul and moving into information security. Dave’s professional interests include redefining the role of information security in organizational structures, risk governance, walking a fine line, and being in over his head.

Karly Bilsky
Information Systems Security Analyst | Emily Carr University of Art & Design

Karly has over 8 years of experience in the Higher Education sector, with over 5 years of dedicated to information security. She is currently leading the cybersecurity program at Emily Carr University as an Information Systems Security Analyst.

Marc Snelling
Director of IT Services | Coast Mountain College

Session Recording