14:10 PM

Cybersecurity’s Dragon Warrior

Cybersecurity’s Dragon Warrior

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

Cybersecurity is important everywhere – from right here on Earth to a galaxy far, far away.

Geoff Termorshuizen, a 2014 graduate of the Bellevue University’s Master of Science in Cybersecurity program, is working hard to ensure that message gets out across the universe. Here on Earth, he does that as a Senior System Support Engineer and Technical Consultant for ACI Worldwide in Atlanta, Georgia. As a Staff Writer for Dragon Con, Inc., he is rubbing elbows with the likes of Captain Jean Luc Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart/Star Trek: The Next Generation), Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion/Firefly) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew/Star Wars) and broadcasting that message throughout the galaxy.

DragonConDragon Con is a multi-genre fan convention held annually in Atlanta since 1987. The event attracts over 60,000 visitors.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month which is designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity and increasing the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident.

Termorshuizen became engaged with Bellevue University and its Cybersecurity program via the school’s partnership with ACI Worldwide, which dates back to 2008.

“I'd been wanting to go back for a formal education for a while. I tried doing self-study, and while somewhat successful, I've always found a more structured, and most importantly, a more interactive, format to be most effective for me,” Termorshuizen said. “I like discussing an issue with others, postulating different viewpoints (regardless of whether I agree with them or not) and seeing what arguments others bring to the table.”

The intersection of man and machine is what attracted Termorshuizen to the Cybersecurity program.

“You need to know a great deal about a large number of areas relating to people and computers to understand cybersecurity. You have to understand both computer borders and physical borders in order to evaluate the effectiveness of any given system,” he said. “Cybersecurity feels far more like a sum of all the components of computer science, with a large dollop of sociology on top, tying it all together.”

Termorshuizen graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average in the Cybersecurity program and enjoyed the experience so much that he is pursuing a second Master’s degree at the University, this one in Management of Information Systems (MIS).

“By picking MIS with a cybersecurity concentration, I found I was only 6 courses short of the MIS requirements. It seemed silly not to wrap that up,” Termorshuizen said.

He plans to continue his education still further, having already applied to the Ph.D. program at Henley-Putnam University, where he plans to pursue a Doctorate in Strategic Security.

In the meantime, Termorshuizen is already making use of his Bellevue education in the workplace.

“The Cybersecurity and MIS had an immediate effect on my work,” he said. “I found myself noticing security-related items I missed before (such as considering not only will work, but how it will affect systems outside of those directly affected). It's helped me draw management attention to a number of areas that have helped both my company and our customers improve their environment, making it not only more efficient, but also more secure.”

With the Earth more secure, Termorshuizen can turn his gaze to the stars. He cites an early interview with Summer Glau, fresh off her stint on Joss Whedon’s Firefly series, as one of his favorite projects with Dragon Con.

“As it was my first interview, I sat in with one of the existing Daily Dragon staff and didn't do much but try not to gibber a lot,” he said. “While it wasn't my first Dragon Con, it was my first one-on-one interaction with a major celebrity, and I remember trying very hard not to fanboy. It was also my first time having something to which I'd contributed be requested for reprint. This was at the height of Firefly-madness, with the DVDs having been released in 2004, so she was insanely popular. The interview can still be found on fan sites.”

In addition to his writing responsibilities, Termorshuizen also helps organize the Dragon Con blood drive.

“I am very proud to say that Dragon Con raises, post processing, a few thousand units of product over the course of Con. As some of those blood products have a shelf-life of about 5 days, we are able to help people throughout the USA with whole blood, platelets, RBC (Red Blood Cells) and plasma,” he said. “I strongly encourage anyone and everyone to find their local blood bank and donate when and as you can. You are quite literally saving lives every time you donate.”