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UIS will host conference on preparing for cyber defense and pandemics

February 20, 2007

Contact: Janis Rose, 217/206-8246, jrose2@uis.edu

SPRINGFIELD – "Cyber Defense and Disaster Recovery: Preparing for a Pandemic" is the subject of a daylong conference to be held Friday, March 9, in conference room C/D, located on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The conference is hosted by UIS' Computer Science program, in conjunction with InfraGard and the Center for Systems Security & Information Assurance. Advance registration is required.

In the event of a catastrophic emergency, studies project that absenteeism in the workforce could reach as high as 80 percent. Conference chair Janis Rose, instructor of Computer Science at UIS, noted, "Everyone needs to be involved in thinking through these issues now. This conference will address the impact of high absenteeism in the event of a cross-sector pandemic crisis and will offer professionals and others a chance to prepare for keeping society’s infrastructure intact and functioning."

Rose added that those who have already undergone preparedness training can take advantage of the opportunity to evaluate how effective their plans are, to compare their plans to those of other groups, and to practice in a realistic unfolding scenario.

Breakout sessions will be led by facilitators from the FBI and Homeland Security, as well as professionals from health care, emergency services, telecommunication, utilities, law enforcement, cyber security, insurance, public school administration, data networks, bank/finance, state agencies, and other related fields.

Participants will also take part in a tabletop exercise preparing for and handling a pandemic disaster in Illinois. The scenario will unfold throughout the day, affecting different critical infrastructures; the exercise will include the identification and mobilization of key roles and resources.

Conference speakers will include three nationally known experts -- Leonard Bailey, senior counsel, Computer Crime Section, U.S. Department of Justice; Scott McPherson, chief information officer for the Florida House of Representatives; and Kyle Belz, director of corporate health and safety for the American Red Cross.

Bailey will deliver the keynote address on "The Challenging Landscape of Critical Information Infrastructure Protection: Are We Ready?"

McPherson will speak on "Critical Infrastructure Preparations for Pandemic Influenza"; Belz' topic will be "Human Resources and Business Continuity in a Pandemic Crisis."

The deadline to register is Wednesday, February 28. The $30 registration fee includes lunch. CISSP credit and CPDUs will be available to those who request them.

InfraGard is a partnership between the FBI and leaders in business, education, and government. CSSIA is funded by the National Science Foundation and serves a five-state area of the Midwest, addressing issues critical to homeland security. Partial funding for this conference has been provided by the National Science Foundation ATE Program.

For more information, contact Rose by phone at 217/206-8246, or go to http://csc.uis.edu/materials/brochure.pdf. Information and a registration form can also be found online at www.cssia.org and at www.infragard-illinois.org.

Credit card registrations will be accepted over the telephone during regular business hours at 217/206-6073.



The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs: 21 bachelorís, 20 masterís, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.

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