MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Northern Michigan University is hosting a gathering of data security experts this week to collaborate on how to battle against cyber-attacks at the 2023 Upper Peninsula Cybersecurity Symposium.

With more and more people working from home, the proliferation of artificial intelligence, and increased off-site, cloud-based data storage, Cybersecurity is more critical than ever.

The symposium is a chance for cyber industry professionals as well as businesses and nonprofits to come together and share ideas and strategies to combat this ever-growing threat. Attendees like health care cybersecurity professional, Doug Copley see the collaboration of all the attendees as a unified front in the fight against cyber-attacks.

“This symposium was a great opportunity to meet with people in your same industry, meet with people from other industries, and interact with those federal and state resources that you may or may not know are available to you when it comes to cybersecurity and best practices,” said Copley.

With advancements in technology progressing at a record pace, the Director of the Upper Peninsula Cybersecurity Institute, Michael Sauer sees the emergence of A.I. as a new and potentially devastating threat.

“But with generative A.I. coming on the scene. It will really, I think, shift the needle back towards the threat actors again,” said Sauer.

Most people are aware of threats to personal data and information, but the threat to corporate America is far more costly and often unseen.

“Corporate cyber security is not just protecting the individuals but the information of your customers of your employees,” said Copley. “I’m in health care so if the information of all of our patients in addition to you know protecting yourself from these nation-state actors from you know, these attacks that you wouldn’t see personally.”

Sauer says that awareness of, and the ability to identify threats is something that starts as far back as elementary school.

“That technology is ever-present. teenage kids are on it day in and day out and we really need to kind of focus on being cyber smart,” said Sauer.

Bottom line, stay informed and make cyber health a priority.

For more information on the Upper Peninsula Cybersecurity Institute, click here.