As security breaches continue to make headlines, it’s clear that businesses need to rethink their cybersecurity strategies. Security-conscious industries strive to keep abreast of the latest tools and research. At SHARE Pittsburgh, seven attendees earned the organization’s first participation-based digital badge for security. To earn the Security Warrior badge, attendees went to a minimum of 15 sessions out of the more than 30 available in the security track, and registered their attendance via SHARE’s online tracking program. After the event, they correctly answered a series of questions to confirm their attendance and earn the Security Warrior badges.
SHARE caught up with Tom Chicklon, systems programmer at Fifth Third Bank, and Shayan Jaffar, associate software engineer at Broadcom, to talk more about their experiences with the Security Warrior badge.
As a systems programmer, Chicklon’s primary responsibility is security software. He is also responsible for designing the security setup for new functions the bank uses, or for the applications they install. “I work at a bank, so it goes without saying that security importance is ever increasing,” Chicklon explains. “Banking regulations and payment card industry standards are constantly requiring new security measures. I expect constant growth in treating detection and management.”
Jaffar says, “My job is heavily related to security work. My team is branched from the Access Control Facility (ACF2) team, and a lot of the work we do maintains and enhances the security products ACF2 and Top Secret. We also occasionally have to ensure our products are compatible with RACF.” He adds that even in the year and a half he’s worked at Broadcom, he’s seen the importance of security grow. “In the wake of massive security breaches, many companies are looking to better their cybersecurity, creating further demand for security products and enhancements,” he explained.
SHARE Pittsburgh security sessions were available for those working with z/OS, CommServer, TCP/IP, z/VM, Linux, MQ, data security, and more. Both attendees found the process of earning the badge simple enough. Jaffar said, “It was fun trying to get the Security Warrior badge. It was almost like a scavenger hunt, listening for clues to the answer.” He added that the experience gave him a nice sense of how panels are structured at SHARE. “Since there were multiple options in certain time slots, I was free to choose ones more relevant to my work,” said Jaffar.
Jaffar also said that the sessions on certificates were the most helpful, since his team is contacted often by customers for help configuring the certificates of various Broadcom products. “It was very helpful to get a better understanding of certificates so that I could come back and have improved input to give back to consumers of our product,” he added.
Chicklon says, “Because security has always been important to the mainframe sector, even before mainframes were connected to the outside world, there are a whole new set of threats to worry about. No longer can we just concern ourselves with the internal bad actor.” SHARE Pittsburgh’s security sessions offered a lot of useful information, but his favorites were the crypto session presented by Roan Dawkins from the IBM Crypto development team, Pentesting with Mark Wilson, and the sessions on Pervasive Encryption, which Chicklon says “were very timely, relevant, and informative.” Jaffar agreed, “Security is everything in the mainframe industry, with government agencies and banks coming to us to secure the massive amounts of personal information they handle on a daily basis.”
“It was my first SHARE experience, and it was very memorable,” said Jaffar. “Many of the sessions helped me learn more about how security relates to my own job, while other sessions gave me a better overview of what other companies are working with. This provided me with a big picture view of how the mainframe community is working together to better secure their databases, and how I could contribute to that in the future.” He added, “I especially enjoyed being able to show off what I learned at the game show session at the end of the week. Having gone to all the security sessions, I knew most of the answers to the trivia questions, and it was a great time competing with older and newer mainframers alike.”
Security Warrior Badges will continue at SHARE Fort Worth, February 23-28, 2020. Make sure to stay tuned to the events page for more information.