First Appalachia Cyber Summit slated for March 30

Published 1:35 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2020

PRESTONSBURG — Cybersecurity is not a global or national problem, it is a local problem.

To help small and mid-size businesses, local governments, school districts, and non-profit and civic groups become aware and act on such events, a consortium of organizations are hosting the first-ever Appalachia Cyber Summit on Monday, March 30, 2020 at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg, Ky.

The event is being sponsored by Amazon Web Services and presented by Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR), the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP), the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Eastern Telephone and Technologies, and FOUR18 Intelligence.

Email newsletter signup

“As we work to build a thriving digital economy, it is imperative that we provide events that not only promote awareness and education, but also solutions that are available from companies who are leveraging local talent to provide such a valuable service,” said Jared Arnett, executive director of SOAR.

EKCEP recognized the vulnerabilities of many Eastern Kentucky networks as well as the unmet hiring demand for trained and certified networking and cybersecurity professionals. To address these concerns, EKCEP launched a pilot training program in September 2019 to build a cyber defense workforce here in Eastern Kentucky in partnership with FOUR18 Intelligence Corporation (a Virginia-based corporation broadly engaged in developing unique cybersecurity skills, intelligence and analysis solutions, and challenging insufficiencies and inefficiencies in the digital economy) and Cover6 Solutions (a Virginia-based Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) that delivers information security solutions and cybersecurity training).

Throughout the pilot, trainees in the first networking and cybersecurity cohort have received expert-led instruction and earned industry-recognized certifications (CompTIA Network+ and Security+) as well as gained hands-on experience with a professional-grade analyst toolkit, simulation projects and case studies during an immersive work-study experience.

“We are very proud of our trainees and how they have demonstrated their aptitude and ability in a very rigorous training program,” said Michael Cornett, EKCEP director of agency expansion and Teleworks USA. “More than a dozen trainees in our current cohort have already obtained certifications in networking and cybersecurity that are recognized nationally and at all levels of the cybersecurity industry.

“These certifications,” Cornett continued, “put our trainees on the path to becoming a solution for cyber defense in roles such as entry-level network and cybersecurity analysts, security administrators, and junior penetration testers — both in remote-work jobs for companies located in other states, or at local businesses, organizations, or municipalities in need of cyber threat detection.”

The agenda will be split into two sessions – The Challenges Facing Us and the Opportunity to Leverage Local Resources to Combat CyberSecurity. Speakers and topics include:

— CyberSecurity 101 | Mark Jaster, Founder and CEO of FOUR18 Intelligence Corporation

— Case Studies | CyberSecurity Breaches Don’t Discriminate | They Are Happening Here and Everywhere

— CyberSecurity Breach | A Local Perspective | Pike County Deputy Judge- Executive Reggie Hickman and Attorney Glenn Martin Hammond

— Panel Discussion Highlighting a Local Training Collaborative with EKCEP and FOUR18 Intelligence Corporation

— Introduction to Amazon Web Services | Melissa Rowe

— Kentucky’s Approach to CyberSecurity Threats and Awareness Efforts | Kentucky Chief Information Security Officer David Carter

— Panel Discussion on Local Solutions to Global CyberSecurity Challenges | Dr. Hermano De Queiroz, assistant professor of computer information sciences at the University of the Cumberlands; Darrell Maynard, CEO of Eastern Telephone and Technologies; Tyrone Wilson, Founder and CEO of Cover6 Solutions; and Mark Jaster, founder and CEO of FOUR18 Intelligence Corporation

“Today’s technology makes it easy to operate your business and reach your customers, but it has also created a number of new risks that need to be avoided. Through this seminar we hope to provide a basic understanding of cybersecurity and the resources available, as well as the need to protect your business and your customers,” said Jordan Gibson, president and CEO of the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

The event is free, but pre-registration is required.

To register, visit

For more information, contact Joshua Ball, associate executive director of SOAR, at or by phone at (606) 766-1160.