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HPE opens Cyber Defense Center in Houston

Learn more about HPE’s newly opened, state-of-the-art Cyber Defense Center at its Houston headquarters.

by Bobby Ford

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility between HPE and our customers, partners, and team members, as a single weak link can impact all

Cyber criminals are smarter than ever and use increasingly advanced tactics. To combat attacks, we must be prepared to recognize, prevent and remove threats 24/7/365.

This Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we sat down with Bobby Ford, HPE’s Chief Security Officer, to learn about HPE’s newly opened, state-of-the-art Cyber Defense Center at its Houston headquarters, and discuss how the company thinks about cybersecurity.

Q: What does the Cyber Defense Center do?

A: The Cyber Defense Center serves as our global cybersecurity operations headquarters and houses our incident response analysts. 3.5 billion events happen per day at HPE.The team analyzes data using AI, with the most complex cases handled by the team in this room. 

The center also serves as a training ground for new cybersecurity talent to learn and develop their skills alongside experienced analysts and leaders. It’s situated adjacent to our Customer Innovation Center, providing an immersive experience for customers interested in learning how HPE practices cybersecurity.

Q: Where else does HPE have cybersecurity operations?

A: The Houston hub is supported by our Cyber Defense Center in Galway, Ireland, and we’re building out a third center in Bangalore India, forming a 24 hour/ “follow the sun” cybersecurity monitoring and response operation.

Q: How was the space designed?

A: We wanted to design a central command center for our new HQ that would serve as a hub for our incident response coordination. The center’s open-concept workspace promotes collaboration, while the adjacent briefing room provides a more intimate space for small group conversations. Interactive touchscreens and enhanced audio-visual capabilities enable our teams to collaborate effectively and share information seamlessly. A lot of highly confidential information is shared in this room, so privacy is of utmost concern. The glass wall between the main area and the briefing room goes from clear to opaque with the flip of a switch when needed. And perhaps coolest of all, the room’s lighting changes during events, with red indicating a highest severity incident, alerting team members and visitors when something serious is happening.

Q: What kind of training do cybersecurity professionals receive?

A: As any CSO or CISO knows, cybersecurity talent is precious, so we do our best to give our team members ample opportunity to develop their skills and grow their careers. We do that in a variety of ways, from funding advanced degrees and certification boot camps to offering hands-on learning through our “gig” program, where team members sign up for short-term projects and gain new experience. In addition, we’ve put a lot of effort into growing talent from the ground up. Our internship and early career programs have proven incredibly successful for years, and our newer Cybersecurity Career Reboot program, now a year old, has enabled us to recruit and develop new talent from often overlooked candidate pools – people with no college degree or cybersecurity experience whatsoever. The Cyber Defense Center will serve as a critical training ground, where entry-level team members can sit side-by-side with experienced analysts and learn by doing.  

Q: Is the HPE cybersecurity organization engaged in any volunteerism or community involvement initiatives?

A: Cybercrime affects all of us, and our team members are passionate about using their skills as a force for good. For example, our team recently became involved in volunteering for the CyberPeace Institute, an international organization that aids humanitarian NGOs in preparing for and recovering from cyberattacks. In addition, our Women in Security group provides security awareness education for youth groups and charitable organizations. Their work has helped survivors of technology-facilitated domestic abuse, and more recently is being leveraged to teach survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking how to securely set up their devices and online accounts so they aren’t victimized again. On an individual basis, many of our team members volunteer in their local communities, schools, and churches to teach their neighbors how to be cyber safe. 

By Bobby Ford, Chief Cybersecurity Officer HPE

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