Chris Fennell, Walmart

In this presentation, I will be speaking about the challenges I’ve encountered between cybersecurity researchers and practitioners. I will speak how both academics and practitioners are focused on the common goal of cybersecurity but have fundamentally different approaches and incentives. Having completed a PhD in academia and taking a research job in industry, I found myself out of place sometimes in both places.

I plan to present how academics tend to focus on theoretical ideas of new technology for security with some of the better projects grounding the research in an applied way while conversely, practitioners have the applied approach of needing to solve a problem in the real world. They also attempt to create new theories or perspectives from their work. However, learning from each other seems to be challenging. Academics contribute new knowledge with papers that can be inaccessible because of infrastructure means of finding related articles to their own work or because of the esoteric language in which we write academic literature. Security practitioners on the other hand, focus on the structure and organization of running security operations. These business practices tend to be largely unknown at academic institutions. Graduate programs focusing on security might be aware of technological problems facing cybersecurity platforms but can be unaware of how cybersecurity teams and divisions have been evolving. I hope to present these perspectives and offer some potential solutions from creating newly created practitioner focused journals to creating large public datasets from real world data.

Speaker's Biography
Chris Fennell is a Human and Computer Interaction (HCI) researcher who works in cybersecurity and his research focuses on how individuals interact with security technologies. His interests have led him to publish research on a variety of different cybersecurity topics such as understanding how individuals self-report security technology to designing a blockchain system for the poultry industry using participatory design workshops. He currently works with the threat hunting team on a myriad of different projects from participating in focused hunts to developing machine learning models for analysis. He is actively involved with the academic and practitioner research communities and was privileged to have worked in academia, industry and government. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Grace College and a PhD in Information from Michigan State University

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