Secretary Tom Ridge to Discuss Cybersecurity in Downtown St. Louis | Webster University

Secretary Tom Ridge to Discuss Cybersecurity in Downtown St. Louis

Tom Ridge Ridge will speak at the Gateway to Information conference on April 29 at Webster’s invitation

ST. LOUIS (MARCH 9, 2015) - Tom Ridge, the first secretary to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a former member of the House of Representatives and the former governor of Pennsylvania, will speak at the upcoming Gateway to Information technology conference in St. Louis on April 29. He is appearing on the invitation of Webster University, which is a diamond-level sponsor of the annual conference.

Besides Secretary Ridge’s speech, Webster also will host a panel discussion addressing the topic cybersecurity and cyber insurance.

“While corporations are increasingly reliant on the internet to increase their business and opportunity for growth; their risk of compromise and breach grows exponentially, simply due to the fact the original architecture of the internet was first built upon trust and not security,” said Tom Johnson, associate vice president and chief of Strategic Initiatives at Webster University and one of the developers of the Cybersecurity program at the University.

“In the past 20 years, we have seen hacking turn into a more sophisticated and highly profitable criminal enterprise, and the primary targets are financial data and information held by businesses,” he said. “As a result, it has been easier to attack businesses than to defend them simply due to the complexity of the internet; the increasing interdependencies among organizations; and the enhanced risks from outsourced contractual partners. Also increasing the risk equation are those new transformational technologies that create disruption in society such as the ‘internet of things’ which, in turn creates more vulnerabilities and risks for those in the ‘Cyber Insurance’ field.”

Secretary Ridge will discuss how critical cybersecurity and cyber insurance are to the future of national and global security. Based on his experience as head of homeland security and as governor of Pennsylvania, along with his post-government experience in the private sector, he will focus attention on the global and national strategic decisions surrounding cyberspace, and the new models where executive decisions surrounding security are based on the whole picture, rather than the focus purely on technology, process, or people.

Secretary Ridge’s speech will be at 9:30 a.m. At 10:45 a.m., Webster University will host a roundtable discussion titled “Cybersecurity and Cyber Insurance – Don’t Miss the Arc of History.” Johnson, Fred Cohen, interim director of the Cybersecurity laboratory at Webster University, Chris Blask, the chair of Industrial Control System, and Dan Blum, the former senior vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, will discuss the history of cybersecurity, the development of cyber insurance, and why corporate and business leadership should be concerned about both topics.

Webster University President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble also will welcome attendees at the conference.

Webster University launched its Cybersecurity program at its Colorado Springs location last year at the invitation of the U.S. Air Force, which said it needed more officers with degrees that focused on how to manage cybersecurity programs. Since then, many businesses have approached Webster University asking that the program be expanded. It is now offered at several of Webster University’s locations across the country, including at its Gateway Campus in downtown St. Louis; Ft. Belvoir; Bolling AFB; Colorado Springs; and Orlando, Florida.  This year, Webster University is also offering a new Certificate in Cybersecurity-Threat Detection.

The Gateway to Innovation Conference will be held at the America’s Center Convention Complex in downtown St. Louis. For more information on the conference, or to register, visit

With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University ( is the only Tier 1, private, non-profit U.S.-based university providing a network of international residential campuses and a robust online learning program. Founded in 1915, Webster University’s campus network today includes metropolitan, military and corporate locations around the world, as well as traditional campuses in Asia, Europe, North America, and Africa. The university is committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.