Lewis University Alumnus Participates in White House Cybersecurity Summit
Published: August 11, 2023.
As students, educators, and families are preparing to go back to school, San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) Chief Information Officer Terry Loftus was at the White House this week to speak at the Back to School Safely: Cybersecurity Summit for K-12 Schools. Loftus earned his Master of Information Security from Lewis University in 2017.
Loftus joined U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, First Lady Jill Biden, and school administrators, educators, and representatives of private sector companies to discuss best practices and resources available to strengthen schools’ cybersecurity, protect students and schools, and prevent cyberattacks from disrupting classrooms.
“We know that our nation's K-12 system makes high-quality education accessible to all and is an institution that is key to the future prosperity of the United States,” said Loftus. “Unfortunately, our K-12 sector is deeply under-resourced and outmatched when it comes to evolving and increasing cybersecurity threats. A ‘better together’ strategy is critical moving forward. K-12 school districts, charter schools, county offices, and state-level agencies must continue to innovate and evolve best practices while concurrently building more robust and purposeful partnerships between K-12 entities, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) and other state and federal partners.”
Loftus is respected as an expert in K-12 cybersecurity. In 2021, he received the California State Information Security Leader of The Year Award, which recognizes an individual who demonstrates outstanding influence across organizational boundaries by developing future IT leaders and creating strategies to promote information sharing and collaboration within their own organization or among government organizations.
Under Loftus’s leadership, SDCOE has been a leader not only locally, but also across the state and nation for fortifying cybersecurity resilience in the K-12 education community. SDCOE was the first county office of education in the state to fully implement multi-factor authentication, which acts as an additional layer of security to prevent unauthorized users from accessing these accounts, even when the password has been stolen. SDCOE is also the creator of the Red Herring phishing awareness, training, and testing platform that enables schools, districts, and county offices of education to simulate phishing attacks and help train staff members to better identify suspicious emails and other security threats.
The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) is inspiring and leading innovation in education so that all students can thrive in a future without boundaries. The County Office helps the county’s school districts operate efficiently and with significant cost savings by leveraging resources to perform personnel tasks and provide staff development and other services. With a focus on equity, innovation, and career technical education, SDCOE directly educates about 1,800 students at 21 sites each year and provides support services to about 480,000 students across 42 school districts. For additional information on how SDCOE is innovating education and working to guarantee all students graduate prepared for college, career, and life, visit www.sdcoe.net.
Lewis University is an innovative Catholic university offering market-relevant undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,500 students. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis University is nationally recognized for preparing intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, and globally-connected graduates who impact the world for the better. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.