Shaping IT Professionals for the 21st Century: NYU-Poly takes lead at UN conference, announces CIO Academy

Polytechnic Institute of NYU’s expertise in information technology management and cyber security went global at the 20th Annual Information and Communications Technology for Sustainable Economic, Business and Social Development Conference held at the United Nations July 10 - 11.

Think T
President Jerry M. Hultin gave the keynote address at the conference, which was organized by AIT Global Inc., an international association of management and IT professionals. (Watch the video of the address above or read the transcript.)

“The 21st century is a very different time,” President Hultin told the audience. “It’s not the same game; it’s not the same approach. And information is at the heart of this. You’re at the heart of this.”

President Hultin said that to compete in today’s global economy, successful Chief Information Officers need to have “T-shaped” skill sets, meaning that they need to have deep knowledge of IT (the vertical axis of the T) as well as a broad perspective (the horizontal axis) of their company’s business mission and the society in which the company operates.

He pointed to the way that companies such as Google, Microsoft and Cisco have forever-changed the way society access information. “The global economy wouldn’t exist without the information, communications and technology infrastructure we have [from these companies],” President Hultin said.

Bleeding edge or leading edge?
Determining when to adopt a new technology is a difficult — and highly critical — task for CIOs. If the technology is too new (bleeding edge), it may be unstable; if it’s too old (trailing edge), it may soon be obsolete and costly to maintain.

Andres Fortino, Associate Provost and Dean of NYU-Poly’s Westchester campus, delivered a conference talk in which he said that CIOs should invest in leading-edge technologies.

But how do you know when something has moved from bleeding edge to leading edge? Associate Provost Fortino used Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) as a case study to illustrate his point that CIOs should survey their colleagues to decide.

In his own surveying, which he did through, itself a leading-edge Web 2.0 technology, Associate Provost Fortino found that 75% of his colleagues think that SOA is leading edge, 20% think its bleeding edge and 5% are undecided.

Combating stealthy cyber attacks
Nasir Memon, Professor of Computer and Information Science and Director of NYU-Poly’s Information Systems and Internet Security (ISIS) Laboratory, is at the frontlines of the war on cybercrime.

His talk at the conference, “Detecting Stealthy Cyber Attacks: Beyond Anomalies and Signatures,” showcased the research ISIS is conducting to combat the stealthiest of cyber criminals who infect hosts, i.e., computers, and wreak havoc on a network. Stealthy cyber crime is often financial and goes undetected until the damage has been done.

Professor Memon’s team has devised a security architecture that includes a layer of infection detection and containment to fortify the typical layers of protection, e.g., firewalls and anti-spam-ware software, most Chief Information Security Officers use to protect their networks.

The team’s methods focus on monitoring network traffic and looking at patterns of behavior in hosts to detect symptoms that indicate an infection. Frequent rebooting and changes in the amount of data being downloaded or uploaded are just a couple of signs that a host may be under the control of a cyber criminal.

The Discussion Continues: NYU-Poly launches the CIO Academy
President Hultin announced during his keynote address that NYU-Poly has created the Global CIO Academy to help IT professionals become T-shaped thinkers.

The Academy will offer graduate-level courses and seminars for CIOs that will focus on cutting-edge topics of cyber security, information systems, the changing role of the CIO, and emerging technologies. Courses may lead to a graduate degree in Information Management.

Biometrics, The Green Data Center, Managing Technological Change and Innovation, and Service Oriented Architecture are the first courses slated for this fall.

The CIO Academy is the academic arm of the Global CIO Forum, a recent partnership between NYU-Poly and AIT Global.