About Securing Our eCity®
In the fast-paced world we live in where “digital” exchanges dominate our daily interactions, the Securing Our eCity organization provides awareness of potential issues and offers free cybersecurity information and education. We assist businesses, families, our aging population and youths better prepare for a safer cyber experience in rapidly changing technology driven environments.
In mid-2008, ESET North America an internet security company with their North American headquarters in San Diego, CA, began to see a pattern that gave their CEO pause. As a former professor of physics, Anton Zajac saw the pattern that individuals were continuing to put themselves into scenarios which put them at risk in cyberspace. Even with the best hardware and software, the individual actions could defeat protection.
Out of this realization, Securing Our eCity was born and what turned out to be a movement to educate San Diego’s digital citizens became a reality. The program was announced by Ruben Barrales at the Mayor’s Fireside Chat in September of 2008. Over nearly the next year, the ESET team reached out to local business to educate their staff. It was a slow go. Most of the business did not realize the potential threats they faced.
Flanked by the San Diego Business Journal, UCSD and SDSU, engagements included the U.S. Chamber event with a cast of leading experts in cybersecurity like Matt Bettenhausen, now Secretary California Emergency Management; Chief Lansdowne, SDPD; Mark Culp, FBI; Dr. Stephen Weber, SDSU President; and a host of others.
In early fall of 2009, Darin Andersen, COO at ESET North America was at a meeting with the Unified Messaging Convention which is focused on the “Smokey the Bear” or “Woodsy Owl” campaign for cybersecurity was being discussed. The group included companies and organizations like: Costco, Wal-Mart, Google, PayPal, CISCO, FTC, DHS, APWG, NCSA and many others. One of the hosts suggested what we could use is a model city! Darin stated, “We can do that! San Diego is the perfect place! We have a history of collaboration, a diverse community and can do attitude.”
Darin went back to ESET and tapped a veteran marketer, Liz Fraumann. By, mid-December they had held 17 different meetings with 29 organizations. The National Cyber Security Alliance and ESET were on to something great.
January 27, 2010, marks the day when 136 stakeholders joined at the SDSU Alumni center and agreed that making San Diego a cyber safe city was important to do and that they would help in making it so.
Securing Our eCity has now reached hundreds of businesses and thousands of staff who through the SOeC Foundational Cybersecurity Workshop now realize that whether they are at home or work, their immediate actions can help to keep their business and personal computing safer.
In July of 2010, Securing Our eCity was awarded the Best Local/Community Cyber Security Challenge award from The Department of Homeland Security and Secretaries Janet Napolitano and Gary Locke of the Department of Commerce.
We realize that we may never be able to completely protect San Diego, California, America or the world from cybercrime or terrorism. However, San Diego and it’s citizenry have taken a giant step forward to make San Diego a place where we can live, work and play in a cyber-safe environment and serve as a beacon for the rest of the world.