Artem’s on the right track with his summer internship at MTA, New York

Atem Karapetyan | Seidenberg1. Who are you working with this summer? (…and what do they do?)

I am working with Robert Prophet. He’s in charge of maintaining power and cooling in all data centers, as well as building new ones. I also work with Aneudy Lake, he is the head IT professional and he is a system analyst, he sets up workstations, fixes network issues and does installation of new machines. The last person I work with is John Rubino, he is the Sr.Project Manager for Security in the MTA, he is updating the security protocols of the MTA, whilst maintaining existing ones.

2. Can you tell us a little about what you are doing? (We might not understand the technicalities, but we’d love details!)

I go to different locations, whether it is Hennery Hudson or Verrazano Bridge Narrows or East New York; I go and inspect their data centers with my team. I install machines for new (permanent) employees. I get to deal with everyone from electricians to contractors to Sr. level project coordinators and get to see how each one of them affects the process of controlling a data center.

3. Is there a particular class or professor at Seidenberg that has helped you prepare specifically for your current internship? (Clearly, we’re all about shout outs this summer!)

Sadly I have not taken any IT or networking courses as of yet, so no teachers helped me get my experience when it comes to this particular job, but Kline, Freddy, Olga, and Hill have always supported me.

4. Does your new office have a favorite restaurant/hangout they go to after work? (No! we’re not going to show up like proud parents!)

We interns go where it is cheap, good, and filling. So, we go to Yips, 18 Beaver St New York, NY 10004.

Artem Karapetyan is an undergrad student at the Seidenberg School, majoring in computer science. He’s known to give quite the bear hug!

5 Things Grad Students Need To Keep In Mind For Fall 2014

Vaibhav_Seidenberg

Hi, my name is Vaibhav Dubey. I’m a second-semester graduate student at theSeidenberg School of CSIS, specializing in Information Systems. With a little bit of perseverance – and some great guidance by the faculty here – over the last semester I have worked as a student consultant for the Pace Computer Resource Center, a proctor at the Student Advising Center, and most recently, as a Student Assistant for the Seidenberg School’s social media team.

Of late, I have been getting a lot of questions, via Facebook, from incoming international graduate students inquiring about their experience ahead. These inquiries include and revolve around which specialization/major is the best, which subjects to take, where to stay, which scholarships are available, visa requirements, and the most urgent question – “Will I get a job soon?”  In attempts to relieve some stress I thought this would be this best way to reach out to everyone – with the top 5 things you need to keep in mind once you have arrived.

1. Picking the right program for you: A few months ago, I was just as overwhelmed as you probably are right now! But the surprising news is – it really doesn’t matter which subjects you start out with! One of the nice things about the Seidenberg School is that you can take any combination of IT/CS /IS subjects you want. Even if you get a little confused along the way, you’ve got some really helpful academic advisers waiting to help: Kimberly Brazaitis (kbrazaitis@pace.edu) and Stephanie (selson@pace.edu.) Thanks to their help and guidance I was able to take a few introductory classes last semester and was able to figure out what I was interested in, but more importantly, what I was good at!

2. Getting a job: According to the law the United States, international students are not legally allowed to work off-campus until they complete two full semesters of study (Fall & Spring). But you can start working on-campus from the day you arrive! Bookmark Pace University’s eRecruiting Site and check it frequently. I found all three of my on campus jobs there. Note: To set up your eRecruiting account just call your local Career Services office (New York City: 212-346-1950/ Pleasantville & White Plains: (914-773-3361). As for getting a full-time job after you graduate – well, with a Pace Seidenberg degree, you are sure likely to stand out in the IT industry.

3. Keep on your speed dial: The Office of Student Assistance (OSA) and the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) are where you go for any and all you paperwork. Visa stamping, ID’s, official letters, social security forms, health insurance, tuition bills – EVERYTHING! Do not worry if you cannot find them, they will come to you. Expect at least 2 emails every day.

4. Scholarships: The Seidenberg School offers only merit-based scholarships to international students, and they are granted at the time of admission itself. What you should look out for is Graduate Assistantships (GA). A full G.A. can result in up to $12,000 worth of tuition!

5. Get socially involved on campus: Here at Pace University there are many opportunities to get involved and get connected with others. The Pace Indian Students Association, for example, is all about networking! PISA is a professional group of Indian students studying at Pace University. As an international student, I believe it is one of the best ways to make friends, interact with alumni, get leads on internships and find the only other people on campus willing to play cricket!

I hope this helps. In case you have any other questions, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll try to answer them.

See you all in September!

– Vaibhav Dubey

 

Are You Protecting Your Bank and Your Customers?

For the average banking customer, little attention is paid to the security aspect of public wireless networks at banks. Today’s users are so accustomed to attaching to free, public Wi-Fi services that they inherently trust that financial institutions are protecting their data and confidential information.

Prof_Gabberty_Seidenberg

However, that is not always true. Often times, financial institutions do not regularly monitor and update their routers which put their wireless networks at risk. As routers are the devices that handle network connectivity, they are susceptible to many of the same anomalies as tablets and personal computers, such as performing sluggishly, occasionally locking up, and much worse, becoming infected with malware. Just like their computer counterparts, routers are usually shipped with an operating system that has been installed by the manufacturer which needs to be occasionally refreshed with an updated version, begging the questions: “how often do banks actually perform this upgrade?” The answer, simply put, is that while some do, others don’t. Why is this so?

Professor James W. Gabberty

One of the primary reasons that financial institutions are loathe to update their routers’ operating systems has to do with the sheer number of routers deployed by mid- and large-sized banks and the common sense notion that when one router is updated, all the rest must likewise be updated, which requires substantial planning and attention to detail (not to mention significant time and money).  While upgrading routers periodically is certainly a nuisance, not performing them en masse would be akin to individual users running disparate versions of the Microsoft operating system and office suites within a company – a seriously problematic proposition since the number of security vulnerabilities would skyrocket.

Many banks also simply don’t have an accurate, updated list of all the routers in their organization, not to mention each router’s individual IOS level and almost certainly, its configuration. Asset management has long been a problem for all companies and banks are no exception. Corporate policy is frequently bypassed and end-users often connect their own devices (USBs, smartphones, and even routers) into the corporate backbone. While there are security awareness techniques designed to stem the rush of employees connecting non-corporate devices to the company’s IT infrastructure, insider activity is still the number one vector of information security breaches within all corporations. Moreover, since keeping track of all infrastructure equipment is a monumental task – especially since proper change management policies are often by-passed, many firms don’t perform as good a measure of due diligence in terms of patching routers as they should.

Still another reason why router upgrades are problematic for financial institutions is tied to the configuration that many routers have been specifically tuned, or set at. Internet-facing ports are a time-tested invitation for exploitation from outside the firm and significant time and effort must be expended to ensure that these ports are all closed while simultaneously enabling only those ports that are critical for the firm to operate. Each time a router is updated, the configuration is lost and must be set again to match corporate policy guidelines; failure to reset the proper configuration causes vulnerabilities inside the firm to reappear.

Understanding some reasons why financial institutions do not invest the proper time needed for router software updates, here are some simple questions for IT security management to simplify the process and ensure protection for wireless networks: (1) Do you have a list of all routers in your organization, the IOS level and the configuration? (2) Have you validated the authenticity of the vendor you purchased your routers from? (3) When was the last time you checked your routers’ configuration and does it match policy? (4) Have you checked that it hasn’t been modified on a daily or weekly basis? (5) Are you logging improper events and staying vigilant? (6) Are you continuously making sure that there are no open ports facing the internet?

Due diligence on the part of maintaining your bank’s many routers can go a long way in ensuring that your customers – and their trust – remain loyal.

Gabberty is a professor of information systems at Pace University in New York City. An alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University Polytechnic Institute, he has served as an expert witness in telecommunication and information security at the federal and state levels and holds numerous certifications from SANS & ISACA.

Note: This article first appeared on Banking.com on June 26th, 2014.

India gets a new prime minister …aaand a NEW PRESIDENT?

Not to take anything away from Mr. Modi, but this celebration’s a little closer to the heart!

Congratulations to our very own Seidenberg grad student – Arbaaz Sayyed, on being elected the new President of the Pace Indian Students Association (PISA).

We were lucky enough to spend some time with him before he headed off to India for the summer – one heck of a victory lap and some serious planning for PISA! Here’s what we found out.

Arbaaz Sayyed, President, PISA
Arbaaz Sayyed, President, PISA

Q. Pick 5 words that describe you the best.

A. Leader. Perfectionist. Experienced. Sociable. Um, modest? (…he said with a wide grin)

Q. What makes you qualified for this role?

A. Within the last 8 years, I’ve been a Committee Member, an Organizational Secretary, and a Chairperson. I’ve even coordinated activities for the IEEE in India .It becomes a-lot more fun when you love what you do. My first job at Pace was with SDACA. We did some great work for the student body.

Q. Tell us about PISA.

A. PISA is a cultural, professional and social association made up primarily of Indian students at Pace. Up until last year it was purely for Lubin students, but now it’s open to everyone. One of our main focuses this year will be to better connect with all the incoming international students so that we can offer them a better experience at Pace. I’d also like to slowly grow the work PISA does and collaborate with other existing associations & clubs at the university, so as to provide a more holistic member experience.

Q. What will your first move be?

A. Right now, our agenda is to plan and execute events for humanitarian causes, professional development workshops and networking opportunities for students.

Q. How can one join PISA?
A. Just walk into one of our meetings. It’s that simple! You can even email me at as07113n@pace.edu or call me on 646-492-8590. 

“It’s a proud moment,” says Dean Amar Gupta of The Seidenberg School of Computer Science & Information Systems.

Dean Amar Gupta

“The Pace Indian Students Association (PISA) originally started as the PISA Graduate Student Organization at the Lubin School. During recent months, its scope was widened to include Seidenberg, and we are honored that Arbaaz Sayyed from our school has been elected as its President. With his interest in Leadership activities and his diverse background, Arbaaz is ideally suited to lead this organization. My hope is that the scope of the activities and the membership will continue to grow under his leadership.”

                            

– Interviewed by Suhail Bhandari

A Lesson in Managing Distributed Teams

by Suhail Bhandari

AgileNYC-Seidenberg

When it comes to agile methodology and managing distributed teams, there’s only one master.

          “I gotta girl in Paris, I gotta girl in Rome
          I even gotta girl in Vatican Dome
          I gotta girl right here, I gotta girl right there
          And I gotta girlfriend everywhere…”

                                             – Lou Bega

The last AglieNYC meeting, held at Pace University’s Seidenberg School, was a real eye opener.

With the world becoming smaller and businesses embracing buzzwords like multi-team, multi-location, multiple business area and even multi-time zone, it’s surprising how many people still use ‘distributed teams’ to defend moments of unproductivity.

“Distributed teams are inevitable, so they can’t be excuses!” began Ian White and Andrew Borrows, the presenters that night. “Lets start out by listing the biggest problems faced by POs and distributed teams.” The problems were:

  • Inefficient communication
  • Poor prioritization of tasks
  • Inconsistent technology and connectivity
  • Different work cultures and languages
  • Ineffective decisions and delegation
  • Distrust between teams
  • Time zone irregularities
  • Duplication of efforts

There’s a common feeling that the main issue is all about ‘lack of communication’. However, the problem is actually poor project structure and teamwork.

“Now we can find solutions by asking ‘why,’ at each step…”

  •  It’s a PO’s job to point out problems a team’s having when they can’t see it for themselves. Some ways to do this are one on one chats, setting weekly goals and holding teams accountable, timely interaction, periodic reviews, and reports to measure team effort vs. client happiness.
  •  Remove cultural limitations and distrust. It’s a widely held perception that Indian software professionals will always say ‘yes’ to everything when asked a question such as ‘are you on schedule?’ or ‘Do you think you will hit the deadline?’ By discussing this very point with offshore teams and explaining that a problem shared is a problem halved, it can start to build a safe environment for employees, whereby a dishonest ‘yes’ at least turns to an honest ‘not sure’.
  •  Incorporate Skype and WebEx into daily routines. Frequent simulated face-to-face discussions provide valuable feedback – instantly.
  • Share the risk, don’t just outsource projects. This encourages teams to ping-pong ideas back and forth, reducing scope creep to make room for ad hoc requests.
  • Follow the first principle of the agile manifesto – Thou shall make our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. This helps POs control the project pipeline and not overload their team.
  • There is no excuse for starting a project with incomplete or inaccurate high-level requirements. This almost always causes time and resource wastage.

Management is a crucial aspect of ensuring any team operates efficiently – especially if that team happens to be dispersed around the globe. As always, good planning and communication really helps keep things running smoothly. A distributed team is not a limitation; it’s an opportunity – and it’s time we take advantage!

 

Term Ending for Faculty Fellow Namchul Shin

As you all have most certainly realized, the 2013-2014 school year has come to close. We’d like to wish a hearty congratulations to all our graduates; well done, each and every one of you. We couldn’t be prouder of all the things you have accomplished in your time at Seidenberg. While we celebrate the newest group of alumni, we must also celebrate another cause: the end of Dr. Namchul Shin’s term as  Provost Faculty Fellow for NYC. Faculty fellows bring an important faculty perspective to university-wide planning and implementation processes; Dr. Shin has been Fellow for the current term, running from September 2012 to June 2014.

Namchul Shin Pace News
Professor Namchul Shin

During his time as Faculty Fellow, Dr. Shin has worked closely with the Provost, Professor Uday Sukhatme, constructing and launching the Augmented Pace Action Plan, which has been improving Pace’s academic programs, cultural community, and the visibility of Pace’s future, as well as creating a more efficient infrastructure of the university. The APAP has been rooted in Pace’s current 5-year plan, running from 2010-2015.

Concerning different areas of Pace, from research to scholarly activities, from retention to campus identities — a number of different initiatives have begun during this past term with Dr. Shin. The changes needed to keep adding to Pace’s continual improvement are difficult to initiate, but with Dr. Shin’s hard work and enthusiasm added to that of the Provost’s, many of these changes are thriving, and will continue to grow throughout the upcoming term.

Provost Sukhatme

Dr. Shin offers a few closing words in retrospect on this term as it comes to an end,

I have seen changes occurring in the university for the past two years under the leadership and guidance of the Provost. I believe these changes can make Pace University a better place for all of us in the near future. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Provost for giving me a chance to work for the advancement of the university.”

The new term begins in September and will run until June 2016. When the time comes, we are excited to welcome Dr. Brian R. Evans as the new Provost Faculty Fellow for NYC. Dr. Evans is an associate professor in mathematics and the department chairperson in the School of Education in New York. We look forward to the new ideas he will offer for current, continuing initiatives as well as those put in place by Faculty Fellows before him.