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Western Foreign Fighters: The Threat To Homeland and International Security

Scarcely a day goes by without news of yet another terrorist attack somewhere in the world. While most of these attacks occur in Asia and Africa, Western nations have been rocked as well: think Paris, Brussels, Orlando, Nice, Berlin, and Stockholm. Some of these attacks have been executed by individuals who have returned from fighting abroad with terrorist groups like Islamic State. More incidents are probable as reports indicate that more than 3,000 such individuals have performed jihad in Iraq and Syria alone. How can we stop these attacks from taking place? Who is best placed to do so? What can we do about those who return to our lands battle hardened and perhaps intent on carrying out mayhem? Join us for a frank discussion on these issues with former CSIS strategic analyst Phil Gurski. In his new book, “Western Foreign Fighters: the threat to homeland and international security”, Phil looks at why Canadians and other Westerners join terrorist groups like IS and what threat they pose to our security. Phil will discuss incidents in other countries and the likelihood we will see attacks in Canada, as well as present his latest research findings on how we may be able to manage these threats.

Live Webinar | June 2017 | The Conference Board of Canada

How IoT Turns Security Vulnerabilities into Safety Threats

These days, it seems like nearly everyone is excited about the potential of the Internet of Things. IoT devices have incredible potential to improve our lives, from connected thermostats helping us reduce energy costs to self-driving cars getting us to where we want to go faster and more conveniently than ever before. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – imagine coordinated networks of cars, trucks and buses removing the need for traffic signals and making traffic jams a thing of the past. The technology needed to support these types of futuristic use cases is available today, but there are two key issues standing in the way: safety and security.The Internet of Things fundamentally changes the threat profile of cyberattacks. Cybersecurity is no longer just about protecting against the loss of electronic data, it’s also about protecting against attacks with real-world consequences and potential loss of life. Over the past few years we’ve seen everything from cars to airplanes to even medical devices get hacked, and there’s no signs of the attacks slowing down.So what can be done to mitigate these new types of threats? How can we build a secure Internet of Things to keep us safe?

Live Webinar | May 2017 | The Conference Board of Canada

Ensuring Communications when Disaster Strikes – Lessons Learned by TELUS

The world is now connected in ways that seemed like science fiction only decades ago. And this is true not just of people, but of things as well. People connected to people, people connected to devices and devices connected to devices. Connectivity has become an essential dependency in our day-to-day lives, and an even greater necessity when disaster strikes. Telecommunications is the thread that connects all of us. In the event of an emergency, it is imperative that telecom companies have the capability to withstand adverse conditions and to recover critical services with minimal interruption. If not planned for accordingly, severe weather, flooding, wildfires and seismic activity pose a great risk to the critical infrastructure that connects us all. Well-known as one of Canada’s top telecommunications companies, TELUS provides a wide range of communications products and services, including wireless, data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, television, entertainment and video, and is Canada's largest healthcare IT provider. Join us for this webinar where Michael Galin and Jeff Hortobagyi from TELUS’ Corporate Business Continuity Office will discuss what it takes to keep this essential service operational when disaster strikes. Michael and Jeff will explore lessons learned from the management of multiple major incidents, such as the Fort McMurray wildfire, and a wide variety of other events, including floods, storms, and civil disorder. They will also examine the incident management “ecosystem”, which includes facilities, infrastructure, and teams specifically prepared for emergencies. Although developed in the context of a telecommunications company, these lessons and concepts are applicable to any organization that needs to stay up while others struggle to function. Whether you work in the public or the private sector, you won’t want to miss this important session on how to keep communications up when everything else is down.

Recorded Webinar | March 2017 | The Conference Board of Canada

Fighting Extremism: Counter-radicalization and the “Danish Model”

Extremist Islamist groups such as ISIS have been getting better at reaching and recruiting young Muslims since the Arab Spring. The massive migration of “foreign fighters” from both Western countries and the Middle East to ISIS and other extremist movements, as well as the recent attacks in European cities, are all worrying reflections of this phenomenon. So what can be done to stop it? In order to tackle this issue, we must first understand the drivers and processes of radicalization: why do radicalized youths risk everything to travel to Syria and Iraq? Why do some of the them go one step further and agree to support or participate in terrorism in their own countries? Most importantly, how do we handle these phenomena?

Recorded Webinar | February 2017 | The Conference Board of Canada

Dealing with Insider Threats: Too Close for Comfort

No workplace is immune to Insider Threats. From aviation and defence, to manufacturing and information technology security, headlines in recent years have emphasized the fact that any organization can face insider threats—risks posed by rogue employees who deliberately cause harm, or other employees who may be negligent or make inadvertent mistakes in the workplace. Typically, organizations focus on protecting themselves from external threats, however, outsiders usually lack knowledge about an organization’s vulnerabilities and risk management procedures and resources. Rather, it is people inside or aligned with the organization—employees, contractors, and suppliers—who are better positioned to exploit weaknesses through their organizational knowledge, everyday access to workplace systems and resources, and interactions with co-workers. For this reason, it is true that “while people are an organization’s greatest asset, they are also its most critical vulnerability.” So what can be done to mitigate insider threats? How can you ensure your organization is protecting itself without alienating your team?

Recorded Webinar | December 2016 | Satyamoorthy Kabilan | The Conference Board of Canada

When Seconds Matter: Critical Decisions in Crisis Response

Facts are hard to come by in the early hours of a crisis When a crisis hits, people turn to social media for the latest information. Minutes wasted are minutes lost, and organizations must be faster than ever in responding when a crisis hits home. However, as we have seen with incidents such as the Boston Marathon bombing, this immediate access to information and public opinion can cause misinformation and confusion, wasting time when it matters the most. What’s more, public trust can be quickly eroded when key stakeholders are misled, and critical mistakes are made as an organization struggles both to respond to the situation and to engage with interested parties. So how can an organization supposed to make critical decisions rapidly when the problem is not yet clearly understood? How can an organization engage in public communications when the key information is unclear or completely unavailable?

Recorded Webinar | November 2016 | The Conference Board of Canada

Building Emotional Intelligence into Crisis Leadership

The National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI), a joint program of the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, has been studying as well as teaching preparedness and response to leaders for more than a decade. Faculty have been on the ground during, or in the immediate aftermath of, events such as Hurricane Katrina, the H1N1 pandemic, Deepwater Horizon oil spill, super storm Sandy, the Boston Marathon bombings, and the recent Ebola outbreak. The focus of the NPLI is on pragmatic lessons, ones that can be distilled and useful to those in leadership positions during high-stakes, high-pressure situations. So how could these lessons apply to you? Join the NPLI’s Director of Research, Eric J. McNulty, as he presents the latest research into how to integrate insights on behavior—good and bad—to improve performance in the supposedly rational setting of a highly structured Incident Command System (ICS). McNulty will draw upon a wide range of scholarship in psychology, neuroscience, and organizational behavior present pragmatic tools for applying these findings in real-world settings.

Recorded Webinar | October 2016 | The Conference Board of Canada

The Privacy Dilemma: Is Technology Bad For Privacy?

Is privacy a risk for your organization? The Internet of Things, Big Data, Smart Grid, health IT – new technologies promising to bring great advancements to society and individual quality of life. Notwithstanding their benefits, public awareness about these technologies’ potential impact on individual privacy and related societal values continues to grow. As high-profile data breaches continue to make the news, privacy engineering and risk management are concepts being used more and more commonly. And although risk management in cyber security is well understood, what does cyber risk management mean for privacy protection? In this webinar, Naomi Lefkovitz, senior privacy policy advisor at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will discuss efforts to develop a privacy risk model and assessment methodology to better manage privacy in information systems.

Recorded Webinar | September 2016 | The Conference Board of Canada

A Private Matter: Regulating Privacy in Canada, the European Union and the United States

The Ground is Shifting The EU, U.S., and Canada are in the middle of a truly unprecedented period of change in privacy protection and regulation. After nearly a decade of stability, the ground is shifting on an almost daily basis, with regulators and industry struggling to keep up with the pace of technological development, as well as the public’s complex and sometimes contradictory expectation of privacy. In our always-connected world, privacy protection should be a concern for all Canadians. While large privacy breaches like the Ashley Madison hack make for cringe-inducing headlines, smaller privacy breaches plague Canada nearly every day. Whether it’s unauthorized access to the electronic medical records of Canadian veterans or the accidental breach of potential homebuyers in Saskatchewan, many privacy breaches are the result of poorly designed policies and privacy practices. What should Canadian firms be doing to protect their customers and keep up with the pace of change?

Recorded Webinar | August 2016 | Micah Clark | The Conference Board of Canada

Cyber Security for Small and Medium-sized Businesses: Never Too Small to Fail

In the last five years, organizations such as JP Morgan, Target, Home Depot, and Sony have all fallen victim to expensive and devastating cyber-attacks. Yet despite these high profile cyber-breaches, and increasing awareness of the importance of cyber security, many Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) assume that their businesses are too insignificant to be of interest to hackers. Cyber security firm FireEye has reported that 77% of SMEs believe that their company is safe from cyber-attacks; however, one-third of those same SMEs were not aware that they had suffered a cyber-attack in the past year. Senior level staff are less likely to know about cybersecurity risks, and 58% of SME management teams feel cyber security is not a significant risk to their organization. The truth is that cyber-attacks can have many negative consequences for SMEs, including significant costs associated with loss of business or in extreme cases,shutting down operations altogether. Additionally, the theft of employee or customer information can be crippling for SMEs, causing irreparable harm to the reputation of the company and a total loss of customer confidence, trust, and loyalty. FireEye found 60% of small firms go out of business within 6 months of a data breach. Because of this, it is essential for SMEs to ensure that they include adequate cybersecurity measures into their business plans and budget accordingly. So where to start?

Recorded Webinar | July 2016 | The Conference Board of Canada

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For more information on how you can participate in one of our security-related initiatives, or to request a guest invitation to a network meeting, contact:


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Satyamoorthy Kabilan
Director, National Security and Strategic Foresight
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Ruben Vroegop
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