Cybersecurity for Small Business Conference set for Nov. 15 at Hazleton campus

Event to be held as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week at Penn State

HAZLETON, Pa. — A conference designed to arm small businesses with the knowledge to defend themselves against potential cyberattacks will be held at Penn State Hazleton on Wednesday, Nov. 15. It is free and open to the public. All attendees must register online

The Cybersecurity for Small Business Conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the Slusser/Bayzick Building. Participants can choose whether to attend in person at Penn State Hazleton, watch from the Hazleton LaunchBox supported by Pasco L. Schiavo, Esq. in downtown Hazleton, or view the conference remotely via Zoom. Those who register to view via Zoom will receive an email with a link and further details. 

Participants will hear from speakers with backgrounds in law enforcement, information security risk, and organizational security, who have extensive experience in cybersecurity. 

Topics covered by speakers will include the expected damage from a potential cyberattack, how cybersecurity affects entrepreneurship, why small businesses are easy victims of cyberattacks, common security risks to small businesses and more. Attendees also will learn about resources that can assist them with preemptive techniques to help combat cyberattacks. 

The keynote address, “Law Enforcement Response to Emergent Cybersecurity Challenges,” will be delivered by Bloomsburg Police Chief Scott Price and discuss the challenges law enforcement faces in cybersecurity as its landscape changes and evolves. Price also will highlight examples of businesses affected by cyberattacks and speak about the development of the Pennsylvania Cybersecurity Threat and Intelligence Communications Unit. 

Ellen Raineri, associate teaching professor of business, who has an extensive background in information assurance and security, cybersecurity, and management, wrote a grant proposal and received funding to organize the conference. She organized a similar event in 2019. 

The Cybersecurity for Small Business Conference is sponsored in part by the Center for Security Research and Education at Penn State, whose mission is to enhance interdisciplinary research, teaching and outreach relevant to the protection and preservation of individuals, infrastructure, institutions and society. Additional sponsors include the Hazleton LaunchBox supported by Pasco L. Schiavo, Esq., Penn State Hazleton and Penn State Schuylkill. 

The conference will take place during Global Entrepreneurship Week at Penn State. Held Nov. 13-19, the weeklong event celebrates the relationship between Penn State and the entrepreneurial community. It features in-person and virtual presentations, workshops and networking opportunities geared specifically to local entrepreneurs, small businesses, startups and innovators. 

For more information on the event, contact Raineri at [email protected], or William Andahazy, Hazleton LaunchBox entrepreneurship education coordinator, at [email protected]

Conference agenda: 

8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. 
Registration, continental breakfast 

9 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. 

Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Elizabeth J. Wright, Penn State Hazleton 

William Andahazy, entrepreneurship education coordinator, Hazleton LaunchBox 

9:15 a.m. – 9:50 a.m. 
Keynote address – Law Enforcement Response to Emergent Cybersecurity Challenges 

Scott Price, chief of police, Bloomsburg Police Department 

  • Development of Pennsylvania Cybersecurity Threat and Intelligence Communications Unit. 

  • Law enforcement challenges in adapting to the changing landscape as it pertains to technology and cybersecurity evolution. 

  • Case study discussing a breach suffered by a local nonprofit.

9:50 a.m. - 10:20 a.m. 
Session I: Achieving Zero Trust Within Retail (Redner’s Markets) 

Jack Senesap, senior information security engineer, and Zakkary Hozella, IT security analyst, Redner’s Markets

  • Case study of cybersecurity efforts within Redner’s Markets. 

10:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.  
Session II: PCI DSS – What is it? Why Should You Care? 

Brendan Smoke, chief executive officer, Backbone Security 

  • What is the PCI DSS? 

  • Who needs to be PCI Compliant? 

  • Why are small businesses easy targets for credit card fraud? 

  • Common attack vectors. 

  • What will it cost my business to clean up after a breach? 

  • What can I do to help to keep my business and my customers’ data secure? 

11 a.m. – 11-30 a.m. 
Session III: Social Engineering – Why Human Weakness May be the Biggest Threat to Your Small Business 

Jeremy Roehrich, chief operating officer, Backbone Security 

  • Why are small businesses vulnerable to social engineering? 

  • What could be the impact to your business, if exploited? 

  • What specific types of attacks should we look out for? 

  • Examples of social engineering attacks and where the victim went wrong. 

  • How is AI changing the game? 

  • How can small businesses/entrepreneurs prepare/protect themselves? 

  • Is there a technical solution to defend against social engineering attacks? 

11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.  
Closing Remarks

  • William Andahazy, entrepreneurship education coordinator, Hazleton LaunchBox 

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.