Second Cyber Security Symposium Helps Businesses Prevent Data Theft

Sheridan’s Faculty of Applied Science and Technology hosted its second Cyber Security Symposium on Wednesday May 4th, at the Hazel McCallion Campus in Mississauga. The event brought together approximately 90 local business owners, executives, and technical professionals for a day of presentations, discussion and inquiry about the state of cyber security in 2016, and the most pertinent steps businesses can take to protect their data.  The Symposium was hosted in collaboration with Sheridan Undergraduate Research, with returning presenter sponsor, Scalar Decisions.

In his opening keynote address, Microsoft Canada Chief Technology Officer David Peterson provided an overview of challenges and best practices for cyber security in a mobile, platform-rich and increasingly cloud-based world.  He drew from Microsoft’s extensive experience in helping customers manage cyber attacks.  Peterson described the main stages of cyber security attacks, from the first compromised host to wide-scale breach, and summarized the multi-dimensional approach required for reducing the impact of breach: real-time monitoring, frequent error reporting, and more sensors.

Brad Riddell, Director of Security for Scalar Decisions, then took participants through a review of Scalar’s 2016 Security Study. The study looked at the cyber-security readiness of over 650 Canadian organizations, and highlighted the most common forms of attacks, the impact of those attacks on business, and the key attributes of high-performers. In his address, Riddell emphasised the importance of understanding your data and knowing what needs to be protected, having an effective user identity management process, and acknowledging that cybersecurity is an iterative process.

Following the keynote addresses, participants attended two rounds of concurrent breakout sessions. Topics included managing threat intelligence, operational technology and industry 4.0 cybersecurity, and capstone presentations from students in Sheridan’s award-winning Bachelor of Applied Information Sciences (Information Systems Security). Sessions were led by experts from RSA, I20, Ixia, Microsoft, and Sheridan professors and students.

Following a presentation from Dennis Meharchand, President and CEO of security firm Valt.X, the participants had a chance to ask questions of the experts in a general moderated panel discussion and Q&A session with representatives from RSA, I20, Scalar, Microsoft and Valt.X.

To close the event, Associate Dean for School of Applied Computing, Joseph Varrasso, delivered a list of “Top Ten Cyber Security Tips”, a toolkit of actionable steps to help participants better protect their business data. Some of the key takeaways included practicing least privilege, defining boundaries of responsibility for business partners, conducting regular reviews and establishing a baseline for your network, to help highlight when something isn’t right.


Social Innovation Researchers Connect at Second Community Research Café

Last week, researchers from community agencies across Peel joined Sheridan faculty and students for a morning of knowledge-sharing, networking, and discussing partnership opportunities at the second annual Community Research Café. The event was hosted again this year by the Region of Peel, the Peel Child & Youth Initiative (PCYI), and Sheridan’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences with support from Sheridan Undergraduate Research.

The focus of the day was on forging new connections and exploring partnership opportunities, particularly for research initiatives that impact Peel.

The morning began with a presentation from Gurpreet Malhotra, Executive Director at India Rainbow Community Services, which provides culturally-appropriate community and health services across Peel region. Mr. Malhotra discussed important considerations to weigh when embarking on a partnership with a community organization, such as accounting for opportunity costs, and differences in capacity, pace, and interests. Mr. Malhotra also highlighted many benefits of collaboration among academia and community agencies. He described India Rainbow’s ongoing partnership with the Sheridan Elder Research Centre, as part of a project aimed at better understanding social isolation in elderly immigrants.

In his comments, Mr. Malhotra captured the spirit of partnership and innovation that infused the event: “The willingness to trust one another, to reach across the table and form a partnership, is truly one of our community’s greatest strengths.”

Following Mr. Malhotra’s presentation, Graham Clyne, Executive Director of the Peel Children and Youth Initiative, took guests through several of PCYI’s recent major research initiatives. He highlighted key findings from projects including their Building Healthy Child Development study, and a study that resulted in several new proposed strategies for recreation and after-school programs.

Andrea Dort of the Region of Peel’s Peel Data Centre shared an overview of Peel’s Open Data Portal with attendees, highlighting its potential as a research platform and how facilitating access to data sets can lead to meaningful community solutions.

Pat Spadafora, Director of Sheridan’s Centre for Elder Research, gave attendees tips on how community organizations can best partner with academic institutions, drawing on the Centre’s extensive experience conducting applied research projects with external partners. Like Mr. Malhotra, she emphasized the importance of recognizing the different rhythm of research at an academic institution, being mindful of semester-based timelines, and described how academic/community partnerships can open doors to significant research funding opportunities. Sheridan’s Centre for Elder Research is currently working with a variety of community partners on projects aimed at enhancing the quality of life for older adults and their families.

Ample networking time was provided for attendees to view research posters from both community organizations and Sheridan faculty and students, and identify potential avenues for partnership. Information Exchange Hubs around the room also allowed participants to have more in depth conversations with community and academic experts on a variety of topics: ethics and community-based research; evidence-informed decision making and evaluation; hearing the client voice and qualitative research; and open data in Peel.

Following networking, participants were guided through an interactive exercise by Dr. Kirsten Madsen, professor at Sheridan’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and Chair of the Sheridan Research Ethics Board. Dr. Madsen encouraged attendees at each table to discuss their views on partnership, their research goals and questions, and what each of their organizations could bring to a potential partnership. Answers were collected via automatic polling, revealing the top insights for research and partnership goals among attendees. These findings will be used to help inform next year’s Community Research Café.


Additional coverage of the event in the Brampton Guardian


Pictured above: Faculty, students, and community researchers attend the 2nd Annual Community Research Café at Sheridan’s Davis Campus on April 15th. 

A Day in the Light: Media Fundamentals Students visit SIRT

Sheridan’s Screen Industries Research and Training (SIRT) Centre welcomes visits from Sheridan faculty and students! Read on for an account of a recent visit by a class of Sheridan Media Fundamentals students…


The Media ‘Fundies’ students’ fourth annual SIRT visit was the most stunning to date. SIRT has moved into a new expanded home: Soundstage 10 at Pinewood Toronto Studios. We walked into the 10,000-square-foot, soundproof building to see a 24-camera green screen motion capture stage, a house set open on one side for camera access, and a theatre for our 100+ guest students to watch a video of James Cameron explaining, with demonstrations, the frame rates and shutter speeds that are available for High Frame Rate filming and digital motion picture projectors today. SIRT also has a state of the art digital projector.

Several student volunteers were asked to help demonstrate the motion capture sound stage and technology. The students put on black motion capture suits and had their joints velcroed with light sensor markers by Spencer Idenouye, SIRT’s motion capture lead and PJ (Philip Tremblay), a third year student in Sheridan’s Bachelor of Game Design. Once suited up, they were turned into a gargoyle and a storm trooper on screen and put into various fantastical locations. Bert Dunk, SIRT’s Technology Supervisor, who has deep roots and experience in motion picture production, as a most gracious host welcomed us warmly, and after his lecture and Q & A on the history and current state of filming technology, left us enlightened and ready for more professional insight into our movie going experience. I had to break into the Q & A because the buses were waiting outside to take us back to reality. See you next year!

Jack Urowitz
Professor and Program Coordinator – Media Fundamentals

Access to postsecondary education will be strengthened by the 2016 Ontario Budget investments

New Colleges Ontario Ad Showcases Sheridan’s SIRT Centre

Sheridan’s Screen Industries Research and Training Centre is featured in a new TV ad campaign by Colleges Ontario that emphasizes the leading role that colleges play in preparing students for rewarding careers. The Centre’s motion capture facility and staff are shown in the ad, and SIRT team members assisted Colleges Ontario with the design of the 3D logo featured at the end.

Called Higher Education for a New World, the ad has started airing provincewide this week in both English and French. The ad will run for one month and will run again in the fall. The ad depicts how graduates are entering diverse fields such as business, health care and digital animation. Click here to learn more about the ad.

Sheridan’s Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT) is an applied research centre established by Sheridan in 2010 at Pinewood Toronto Studios in the east end of Toronto. It’s dedicated to fostering collaborative innovation in Ontario’s film, gaming and television industries. SIRT works with industry, academic, and government partners to conduct collaborative research and provide Ontario’s professionals the training needed to build the province’s competitive advantage in the screen-based entertainment industries.