“The Impact of Cybersecurity on Western Hemisphere Security” Panel Wraps Up Day One of FIU’s Hemispheric Security Conference

By Andres Davila / Contributing Writer

As day one of the Seventh annual Hemispheric Security Conference came to a close on Tuesday, May 17th, it ended with the final panel, “The Impact of Cybersecurity on Western Hemisphere Security”. This panel was crucial to understanding how information protection is pivotal to advancing Latin America’s technology infrastructure.

The panel was hosted by the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy and moderated by the institute’s assistant director, Randy Pestana. Panelists included Arturo Cabañas, security assurance leader at Amazon Web Services, Robert Gordon, executive director of the Canadian Cyber Threat Exchange, and Kerry-Ann Barrett, cybersecurity program manager at the Organization of American States. 

In the panel, panelists discussed cybersecurity in Latin America and what needs to improve for the region in order for cyberattacks to be prevented.

When Pestana asked about the vulnerabilities of Latin American partnerships, particularly the national and regional entities on policy and technical issues, there were a variety of answers. 

Barrett outlined a cyberattack that occurred in April in Trinidad and Tobago and Costa Rica, which cost the protection of information for businesses. 

Cabañas and Gordon discussed how small businesses can play a pivotal role in Latin American economies, elaborating on ways to enhance information protection on the internet.

Cabañas mentioned how Amazon is providing services to enhance professional training throughout Latin America, which can be accelerated for protecting the internet in the region. 

“By accelerated training, it will help us protect those nations,” Cabañas said.

When Pestana inquired about solutions to alleviate those vulnerabilities, Gordon reiterated  the importance of small businesses. 

“99% of all [small] businesses are the strongest helpers in economic development in the nation,” Gordon said, emphasizing as well the awareness about cybersecurity within the small business economy.

Cabañas elaborated on why cybersecurity awareness is important to understand across Latin America. 

“We can become more proactive in creating an organization overseas with the government for information sharing,” said Cabañas about reporting daily cyber attacks happening around the region.

In addition, cybersecurity services were mentioned throughout the panel, with all three panelists discussing the method of promoting products and services to increase cybersecurity awareness in Latin America.

Toward the end of the panel, Barrett discussed how government involvement is crucial to increasing cybersecurity infrastructure around the region.

“Cybersecurity is one of the things that fails without government,” said Barret. 

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