Jerry Geisler, senior vice president and chief information security officer for Walmart and member of the TU Board of Trustees, joined the TU-Team 8 Cyber Fellows on March 24 for a lively discussion on a broad range of topics. Geisler opened the conversation with an overview of operating a large, globally distributed team and touched on cyber operations, intelligence and governance.
“Everything is about reduction of risk, and that requires a multifaceted approach,” he said. “We are ultimately here to enable and support our business and act within a governance role to provide guidance and help to avoid missteps that could disrupt our business or cause harm to our brand or reputation.”
Geisler suggested balancing that perception through being innovative and solution-driven. He also encouraged them to not lose sight of the big picture while focusing on immediate concerns.
“We are always looking at the environment and trying to think through or test how a threat actor may attempt an attack and what, if any, areas we need to further strengthen,” he said. “And we are doing this in real time, but we also have to think long term. You can’t just focus on the here and now. You also have to be thinking about the big challenges that are heading our way.”
“Cybersecurity is one of those spaces that’s never lacking in challenges or new things to think about,” he said.
When asked about how to stay abreast of the latest news or focus on what the future might bring, Geisler said he was fortunate to have an intelligence team to pull information together for review. “But more than that, it’s just having a really good network of people that you know you can call upon that will have an opinion or have a view that you can trust,” he said.
Selected Cyber Fellows then had the opportunity to present their projects:
- Dallas Elleman is a Ph.D. student in cyber studies and works with Professor John Hale, chair of the Tandy School of Computer Science. Elleman presented his research project, “Attack graph formalisms & analysis methods for cyber-physical systems.”
- Eric Peterson is a Ph.D. student in computer science and works with Professor Sandip Sen. Peterson presented his research project, “Human-AI coordination in video games and simulation.”
- Samantha Phillips is a Ph.D. student in cyber studies and works with Professor Tyler Moore, chair of the School of Cyber Studies. Phillips presented her research project, “Measure Information Security Culture.”
- Noah L. Schrick is a Ph.D. student in computer science and works with Professor Peter Hawrylak. Schrick presented his research project, “Attack & compliance graph generation & analysis.”
The Cyber Fellows thanked Geisler for being so generous with his time and for his feedback on their projects as well as partners Bob Blakley from Team8 and Conor Godfrey from Tulsa Innovation Labs, who attended the virtual meeting.
The TU-Team8 Cyber Fellows program is a Ph.D. opportunity for students seeking to accelerate research and development across cyber, data science, and machine learning. This unique initiative brings together TU’s College of Engineering & Natural Sciences and Team8’s company-building experience and ecosystem to identify real-world industry challenges and transfer cutting-edge research into cutting-edge startups.
The weekly Cyber Fellows speaker series is filled with people dedicated to cyber security and entrepreneurship. To learn more about the TU-Team8 Cyber Fellows initiative, visit cyberfellows.utulsa.edu or email email@example.com.