(Feb. 7, 2018) -- Nicole Beebe is the director of the UTSA Cyber Center for Security and Analytics. She specializes in digital forensics, a branch of cybersecurity that involves the recovery and investigation of material found in digital devices.
This month, Beebe was named by Texas Monthly as one of “15 Innovators Reshaping Texas.” As one of the leaders of the cybersecurity revolution in San Antonio, Beebe is engaged in several research projects, including one for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that is aimed at strengthening insider threat detection. She also oversees the UTSA Cyber Center for Security and Analytics, part of one of most highly-regarded cybersecurity programs in the country.
We sat down with Dr. Beebe to learn about new developments in cybersecurity.
What is the most important thing happening in your field that no one is talking about but should be?
I’m not suggesting no one is talking about this, but surely not enough people are talking about the impending disaster of a teacher shortage in cybersecurity. The field is frequently highlighting the roughly two million workforce shortage in cybersecurity that we will all be feeling the effects of in two to three years. And, we are doing a good job at getting students interested in cybersecurity, as evidenced by the exploding enrollments in cybersecurity at UTSA and other universities.
But what people aren’t talking about enough, and what we are already experiencing, is a shortage of quality folks at all levels to train and educate students in cybersecurity. It’s a real issue, and with negative unemployment in cybersecurity and folks earning very high wages outside of education, it is hard to recruit folks to teach.
How does interdisciplinary work help research efforts in your field?
Interdisciplinary work doesn’t just help research efforts in cybersecurity, it’s a flat-out necessity. Cybersecurity is an extremely diverse field from highly technical sub-domains like cryptography, access control and digital forensics to non-tech domains such as law, policy, behavior and risk.
Not only is the field wide, both the threats and our defenses are multi-dimensional – solutions brought to bear from the perspective of only one discipline leave gaping holes in security. You can’t truly solve cybersecurity challenges without interdisciplinary collaboration and solutions.
Have you had any mentors? How does their guidance inform what you do now?
I have had the great fortune of many mentors over the years. Some have been specifically cybersecurity-oriented. Other have been professional or personal mentors. Mentors are very important – whether formal or simply successful people you identify to “study” and emulate. When you pay attention to successful people and take the time to really understand why they’re successful, you can learn a great deal.
What advice do you have for this generation of students?
Get involved and make cybersecurity an intellectual hobby and social club. There are so many opportunities for students to engage in cybersecurity with others outside the classroom, from competitions and challenges, to clubs, meet-ups, blogs and boards.
What makes The Cyber Center for Security & Analytics unique?
We pride ourselves on our strong relationship with researchers across a wide variety of disciplines both internal and external to UTSA. This allows us to leverage the gamut of cyber and analytics subject matter expertise as we tackle real-world problems. Our multi-disciplinary approach to developing high-impact, applied research brings together great minds from fields such as business, cybersecurity, information systems, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, statistics, management science, criminal justice, psychology and others. These partnerships really help us affect change for industry and government partners and enhance UTSA’s educational programs in cyber and analytics.
Learn more about Nicole Beebe.
Explore cybersecurity at UTSA.
Learn more about The Cyber Center for Security and Analytics.
All UTSA faculty, staff and students are invited to attend open forums featuring finalist candidates for the dean of the UTSA College of Sciences.Various Locations, Main Campus
UTSA is an early voting site for the statewide General Election.H-E-B Student Union Bexar Room (HSU 1.102), Main Campus
More than 75 local, state and national graduate and professional schools will showcase their programs at the Main Campus. It's free and open to the public. Interested attendees are encouraged to register for the event in advance.Sombrilla Plaza, Main Campus
UTSA Associate Professor of Anthropology Jill Fleuriet will moderate a neutral dialogue on what is and what is not protected as free speech, what constitutes hate speech and a university's role in supporting free speech on their respective campus.Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
Hosted by the UTSA Office of Information Technology Student Innovation Coalition, Tech Talk is a forum for students to share thoughts about technology on campus with IT professionals and learn about products and services available to help them succeed.Student Union Denman Room (SU 2.01.28), Main Campus
UTSA Libraries will host Claudia García-Louis, assistant professor, at the Downtown Library for her presentation AfroLatinxs: Navigating Blackness and Latinidad in the Age of Trump, as part of the popular Pizza and Research series.Buena Vista Street Building Downtown Library (BVB 2.314), Downtown Campus
UTSA faculty, staff and students are invited to hear preliminary findings from the UTSA Campus Master Plan Discovery Survey and to offer students, faculty and staff another opportunity to provide input and ask questions about the initiative.Buena Vista Street Building Theater (BVB 1.326), Downtown Campus
UTSA faculty, staff and students are invited to hear preliminary findings from the UTSA Campus Master Plan Discovery Survey. The faculty and staff forum is from 11am-noon in the Harris Room and the forum for students is from noon-1pm in the Travis Room.H-E-B Student Union (HSU 2.212 and HSU 2.202), Main Campus