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Cybersecurity Higher Education Contest 2019

October 19, 2019 @ 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

Cyber Tech & Risk Cybersecurity Higher Education Contest 2019

Cyber Tech & Risk Cybersecurity Higher Education Contest 2019

Cybersecurity Higher Education Contest 2019

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which is an internationally recognized campaign to advocate the significance of cybersecurity to the public. Cyber Tech & Risk organizes a full day People in Cyber Conference in RBC WaterPark Place Auditorium on Saturday, Oct 19, 2019. A talent contest is one of the highlights of this event. It provides a unique opportunity for students in higher education to compete to provide the solution to the industry challenge – “Cybersecurity Dilemma for Small Business”.

The competition is open to current university/college students in Canada. They will compete in teams of four and are expected to submit their concept documents during the pre-qualification round. The selected teams will pitch to a judging panel at the People in Cyber Conference on Oct 19, 2019. The contest result will be announced at the end of the conference followed by an awards presentation.

Rewards and Benefits

Cash Prizes

Cash prizes (the “Prize”) will be awarded to:

  • First place team receives $3,000
  • Second place team receives $1,200
  • Third place team receives $800

The cash prize awarded to a team will be divided equally among registered team members. Each team member will receive a payment for their portion of the total prize. All cash prizes are in Canadian dollars.

The prize must be accepted as described in these rules and cannot be transferred to another person or substituted for another prize. Any substitution of a prize, in whole or in part, is at the sole discretion of the organizing committee.

Additional Opportunities

  • Potential career opportunities with hiring companies
  • Participation certificates
  • Exposure and connections with event sponsors
  • Potential mentoring opportunities with industry leaders/experts
  • Access to Cyber Career Centre job board and discounts for career events and training programs

Contest Challenge Question

Cybersecurity Dilemma for Small Business!

Small business is not small in our economy! Statistics Canada reports that 97.9% Canadian businesses are small businesses (1-99 employees). Furthermore, 76.2% have fewer than 10 employees. Small businesses today are facing some big cybersecurity challenges, for example:

  • More and more cyber criminals are targeting small businesses as the low-hanging fruit to steal confidential information, disrupt business operation, and launch 3rd party attacks to other organizations.
  • More and more small businesses (e.g. Tech Start-ups, Professional Services) are relying Internet, Cloud, and Mobile to run their business. Their sensitive data (e.g. Employee, Customer, Financial, Payment, IP) are vulnerable to various cyber attacks.
  • Cybersecurity is an afterthought for most of small business owners. Their focus is primarily on the business development and day-to-day operations.
  • Small businesses are running on the very limited budget. They can not afford to hire a cybersecurity staff, buy sophisticated security tools, and get professional services from consulting firms.
  • Small businesses are lack of expertise and resources to design, implement, and maintain their cybersecurity controls.
  • Small businesses are lack of basic cybersecurity awareness and training. Their employees are vulnerable to all kinds of social engineering attacks, e.g. Phishing Emails, Spam Calls, Identity Spoofing, etc.
  • Many small businesses have almost zero cybersecurity protections: their sensitive data are spreading everywhere; their applications are not patched on time; their accounts and passwords are poorly managed; their network not protected by firewall, and their devices are not protected by anti-malware…
  • Many cybersecurity industry best practices, solutions, processes are originally designed for large organizations with sufficient money, knowledge, and resources. It is difficult for small businesses to understand and apply them.
  • Many small businesses do not have manpower to look after essential cybersecurity policies, procedures, and controls.
  • Most of small businesses do not know how to handle a cyber incident. They do not know what steps to follow, who to be involved, and where to find help.
  • The impact of a cyber breach is often a disaster to small businesses in terms of money lost, business interruption, legal consequence, compliance responsibility, and customer trust. Some of them may be out of business due to the low resistance to cyber risks.

In short, the cybersecurity for small business has become a big gap in the industry!

What do you think is the best way to ultimately solve the “Cybersecurity Dilemma for Small Business”?

Contest Requirements

The competing teams will submit the following concept documents to address the contest challenge:

  • A PDF document summarizing their solution (Max 500 words)
  • A PowerPoint presentation file showcasing their solution (Max 15 slides)

Team members are encouraged to attach their resumes with the submission. These resumes will be accessible to our event organizer and sponsors for the purpose of potential career opportunities.

Submissions must be made in English.

After the pre-qualification round, the selected teams will pitch to a judging panel at the People in Cyber Conference on October 19, 2019. The contest result will be announced at the end of the conference followed by an awards presentation.

Deadlines and Milestones

  • Sunday, September 22, 2019 – The last day of team registration
  • Friday, September 27, 2019 – The last day to submit concept documents
  • Monday, October 7, 2019 – The announcement of contest finalists
  • Thursday, October 17, 2019 – The last day for finalists to submit their presentation slides
  • Saturday, October 19, 2019 – The final contest at the People in Cyber Conference

Who Can Enter the Contest

  • This contest is open only to current undergraduate or graduate students attending a recognized university or college in Canada
  • Teams must consist of max four (4) participants. Only one submission per team will be accepted. EACH PERSON CAN ONLY BE A MEMBER OF ONE TEAM. If it is discovered that a student is a member of more than one team, all team entries for all teams on which that person participates may be disqualified.
  • All members of a team should be from the same university or college.

How to Register the Contest

  • Form a team with max four (4) eligible members of your university or college.
  • Register your contest team on Eventbrite. Each team is responsible to pay an administration fee of CAD $99 (plus HST) at the time of registration. Please note, this fee is non-refundable, regardless of whether your team will enter the final contest at the conference or not.
  • After the Eventbrite registration, the team contact will receive an email with the instructions on how to submit the concept documents.
  • The deadline for the team registration is Sunday, September 22, 2019.
  • The deadline for submitting the concept documents is Friday, September 27, 2019.

The Contest Stages

1. Pre-Qualification

  • All registered teams must submit the required concept documents to address the contest challenge by September 27, 2019.
  • All concept documents will be evaluated by a judging panel. The selected teams will be announced for the final contest by October 7, 2019.

2. Final Contest

  • The finalists will compete at the People in Cyber Conference on Saturday, October 19, 2019, at RBC WaterPark Place Auditorium, 88 Queens Quay West, Toronto, ON.
  • Each team will have 10 minutes of stage time to present their solution to the judging panel and in the presence of live audience. After each presentation, there will be a 3 minutes Q&A period between the judging panel and the contestants.
  • The contest result will be announced at the end of the People in Cyber Conference followed by an awards presentation.

The Contest Rules


RBC WaterPark Place Auditorium
88 Queens Quay West
Toronto, Ontario M5J 0B8 Canada
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