What Are We Teaching The Next Generation – What’s Possible Or Just How To Set Up A Firewall?

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By Sean Martin and Selena Templeton

Welcome to a new episode of the The Academy on ITSPmagazine.

In this episode, Sean and Selena are joined by Ken Westin from Elastic (and formerly from Splunk) to talk about all things educational in the field of cybersecurity — including training the next generation, bringing the community together, and speaking at security events to raise awareness.

Ken has a varied background and brings a lot of expertise — and humor! — to the table in this conversation. He’s worked closely with law enforcement and, in fact, likes to say that he “helped put a lot of bad people in jail just by using data”. He took technology that hackers were using to compromise USB hosts and turned it into software for tracking stolen devices — that was a startup called GadgetTrak that he ran.

He also gives talks to kids and teens – for example at NW Cyber Camp – and emphasizes the importance of real-world, hands-on demonstrations to get kids excited and see how online security and privacy is relevant to their own lives. Some of the points we discuss are: how he opens kids’ eyes to the fact that there are ethical hackers, what we’re teaching the next generation, the different types of jobs in cybersecurity, and the importance of girls-only classes in cybersecurity.

And by the way, it’s not just kids who need to get excited about online security or understand that it affects each and every one of us. We all do. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

We thoroughly enjoyed this conversation with Ken and hope you are as inspired by him as we were!


About Ken Westin
Director, ITOA & Security Solutions at Elastic

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I am a technology and security professional with experience in security and product development. I have developed and utilized technology that has put criminals in jail, even unveiled organized crime rings.

I have won awards and honors from MIT, Oregon Tech Awards, CTIA, SXSW and was named in Entrepreneur Magazine's "100 Brilliant Companies" and Portland Business Journal's 2013 "Forty Under 40". My technology and research have been featured in Wired, Forbes, New York Times, The Economist, Good Morning America and Dateline NBC amongst others. I am regularly reached out to as a subject matter expert in the area of security, privacy, and surveillance technologies.

I have trained and assisted law enforcement agencies in the use of various technologies and techniques including social media as an investigative tool. I developed the training curriculum for NLETS ( Nationals Law Enforcement Telecommunications System) covering CJIS (Criminal Justice Information Systems) security policies to be deployed across the country to all law enforcement agencies.

Find Ken on LinkedIn and Twitter