UTSA President Ricardo Romo led a contingent of university officials to Washington, D.C., the week of July 13 to discuss critical issues in cyber security and UTSA’s growing capabilities in cyber security and cloud computing.
UTSA has emerged as a national leader in cyber security research. Its cyber security education and outreach program was recently ranked No. 1 in the nation by security professionals in a Ponemon Institute survey conducted for Hewlett-Packard. UTSA is also recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a leader in the field.
The delegation included Mauli Agrawal, vice president for research; Cory Hallam, UTSA chief commercialization officer; Greg White, director of the UTSA Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security; Gerry Sanders, dean of the College of Business; Bob McKinley, associate vice president for economic development; and Paul Rad, director of applied research in cloud computing.
They met with representatives of the Cyber Team of the White House, briefed several members of the Texas Congressional delegation and held discussions with the Department of Commerce, Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Homeland Security. The delegation also met with private-sector industry leaders including Dell, Seagate, Halliburton, Exxon Mobil and Hewlett Packard.
“Collaboration between industry, government and higher education is critical to a strong cyberdefense,” said Romo. “The work UTSA is doing with our partners is helping to keep the United States at the forefront of research and innovation.”
UTSA is at the heart of San Antonio’s expanding cyber security community, working directly with the military and industry including with the 24th Air Force Cyber Command – the largest cyber command outside of Washington, D.C. — the National Security Agency, Rackspace, Raytheon, Microsoft and others.
The UTSA Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) was established in 2001 to meet a need for an academic epicenter for cyber security education in Texas. The center led the first Dark Screen Cyber Security tabletop exercise in 2002, making San Antonio the first city in the nation to conduct a mock cyberterrorism exercise. UTSA is recognized as a leader in cyber security testing, and its experts offer training and preparatory exercises to help organizations across the United States prevent, detect and respond to large-scale cyberattacks.
Researchers at the UTSA Institute for Cyber Security (ICS) have a deep knowledge of cyber security models, architectures, mechanisms and protocols, and technologies. The institute built and operates the ICS FlexCloud, one of the first dedicated academic cloud computing research environments focused on studying security challenges surrounding cloud computing.
The institute is also home to the ICS FlexFarm, an Internet-connected environment providing researchers with a dedicated platform to conduct academic research on malware programs and methods for improving malware detection, faster response times to malware infections and effective malware removal techniques with a special focus on botnets.
One of the largest open clouds in academia resides at UTSA and supports advanced computing and data analytics research. The UTSA Open Cloud is one of just two existing clouds in the Open Compute Project and the only certification center in the United States for new Open Cloud Project working designs and hardware.
“UTSA’s program brings together experts from science, engineering and business to conduct research and educate the next generation of cyber security professionals in digital forensics, cyber behavior, network defense, access control, security policy, data provenance, cyberenergy and malware detection,” said Agrawal.
The three-day trip concluded with a reception hosted by Mexican Ambassador H.E. Eduardo Medina Mora at the Mexican Cultural Institute honoring UTSA for its cyber security ranking and its recognition as the National 2014 Small Business Development Center of the Year.
“These meetings illustrate the interest government and industry has in our cyber programs and the research excellence they find at UTSA,” Romo said.