The Charger Blog

Connecticut’s Chief Information Security Officer Inspires University Community

Jeff Brown, an IT risk and information security expert with more than two decades of experience in the field, recently visited campus virtually as part of the University’s Connecticut Institute of Technology’s Cyber Legends web series.

March 26, 2021

By Sarah Kispert '22

Image from Cybersecurity Legends zoom from March.
Jeff Brown, chief information security officer of the State of Connecticut, recently shared his story and advice with the University community.

The University of New Haven’s Connecticut Institute of Technology’s Cyber Legends Series continued earlier this month with a wide-ranging talk by Jeff Brown, chief information security officer for the State of Connecticut.

An IT risk and information security expert who has more than 20 years of experience implementing cost-effective controls for global Fortune 500 financial institutions, he began his current role last year. As part of his lecture, he discussed his career and offered students advice on how to navigate the ins and outs all levels of the cybersecurity field.

Brown began the webcast by addressing what has been the biggest challenge to him and his team being part of a fully remote workforce.

“A lot of communication happens in person when you’re building relationships,” he said. “A lot of how you will succeed is based on your business relationships.”

'We need to be stronger together'

Brown explained how security is a field made up of many different disciplines, and that building relationships and developing skills encompassing each of these fields is essential to being successful.

Hailey Johnson ’22 M.S., a candidate in the University’s graduate program in cybersecurity and networks, asked how important soft skills are when one also has strong technical abilities.

“There are very few people working alone anymore,” responded Brown. “How you act and operate on a team will be very important.”

He emphasized how critical it is to be approachable and a team player in an adapting to a virtual world. With the world becoming more technology based and as virtual threats become more common, he said having strong communication skills are essential in keeping a team functioning to prevent cyber threats from ever developing.

“We need to be stronger together,” said Brown. “To do that, we need to raise awareness. Bills in the Connecticut General Assembly are now pending to create programs that are designed to make individuals more cyber literate, however, there still needs to be more work done to bring awareness to the field and create available resources for individuals to educate themselves.”

Brown’s final note to students interested in pursuing careers in cybersecurity was to be prepared for lifelong learning. He encouraged them to learn to adapt to ever-changing technologies and threats, as well as to develop both soft and hard skills, and to continue to grow as individuals who are prepared to face both old and new challenges in the field of cybersecurity.

Brown’s latest publication, The Security Leader’s Communication Playbook, is scheduled to be published in Fall 2021 by CRC Press.

Sarah Kispert '22 is a forensic science major at the University of New Haven and a cybersecurity marketing intern. She is the daughter of Karl Kispert, host of the Cyber Legends Series.