Marist Opens Security Operations Center

Julia Fishman

Marist College formally opened its Security Operations Center (SOC) today in a next step to deliver cutting-edge cybersecurity education to students. Marist is one of just a few colleges in the northeast to offer a cybersecurity major.

Marist College Cybersecurity Map

A centralized unit that deals with security issues on an organizational and technical level, SOCs are now a common facet in most large companies. The Marist SOC is located in the Hancock Center and will be a hub for hands-on activities for students studying cybersecurity. The SOC features a number of IBM’s cybersecurity technologies, including the IBM QRadar Security Intelligence Platform, which applies advanced analytics to detect and prioritize threats across the IT environment, as well as IBM Security AppScan, which helps identify and remediate application security vulnerabilities. The SOC also includes security gateways that prevent and log unauthorized access of network resources, allowing the SOC to control and adjust trust levels for anyone using the data center. 

“In our program we teach students how threats and attacks work and how to counteract them,” said Casimer DeCusatis, Director of the Cybersecurity Program and Assistant Professor of Computer Science. “In the SOC, students have an opportunity to practice their skills in a safe, isolated cloud environment that replicates real world scenarios such as the widely publicized security breaches at Equifax, Target, and Sony.”

The Marist/IBM Joint Study Program, Marist’s longstanding collaboration with IBM, has played an integral role in the development of the SOC, including providing expert advising and software obtained through the IBM Academic Initiative.

The launch of the SOC follows closely on the heels of approval of a new undergraduate degree program at the College—a bachelor of science (B.S.) in cybersecurity. This program, which is housed within the School of Computer Science and Mathematics, received approval from the New York State Education Department in June, and its first cohort of students began class this fall. The Marist SOC will be utilized by students studying in the new major, the cybersecurity minor, the Institute for Data Center Professionals (IDCP) Cybersecurity Certificate, and the Cybersecurity Summer Institute for high school juniors and seniors.

“This high-tech classroom is absolutely essential for students studying cybersecurity,” said Roger Norton, Dean of the School of Computer Science and Mathematics. “The SOC at Marist is an important component of preparing tomorrow’s cybersecurity experts for the real world professional challenges that await them.”

The Marist curriculum includes studying attacks against electric power plants, hacking airplanes from the in-flight wifi, securing wireless medical devices such as insulin pumps, and controlling the Internet of Things (smart cars, drones, GPS navigators, and home assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and Cortana).

According to recent studies cited in the Chronicle of Higher Education, cybersecurity job postings grew 114% in a recent five-year period, with 86% of these positions requiring at least a B.S. degree. Currently, four-year colleges are meeting only about 24% of this demand, which contributes to an expected shortage of between 1.5 and 2 million trained cybersecurity professionals by the year 2020. Further, venture capital investments in cybersecurity startups have been increasing, and topped $4 billion in 2017.

Learn more about Marist’s Cybersecurity Program here.

Dean Roger Norton is interviewed about the Security Operations Center

Dr. Roger Norton, Dean of the School of Computer Science and Mathematics

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