COVID-19 in the Industry: Dr. Greg Gogolin on Information Security and Intelligence

Just last week I talked with an employer that wants to do an internship, but they just pushed it out a ways until they could physically meet with the person.

One of the many industries impacted by COVID-19 is Information Security and Intelligence. To discuss the changes to both cyber security and his classes at Ferris State University, Dr. Greg Gogolin gave his perspective on the virus.

One impact of the pandemic was the need to double down on cyber security. Since the start of COVID-19, the number of cyber threats has rapidly increased. “It introduced another avenue in terms of preying on people,” Dr. Gogolin explained. “there’s misinformation, fake cures, etc.” This can be dangerous, especially as online tools are being used more than ever right now.

The shift to digital in the industry itself, however, has been fairly smooth. One reason for this is that remote work is not a new concept in Information Security and Intelligence. “Since the early 90s, it’s been pretty common to dial in from various locations,” said Dr. Gogolin. He expressed that this created a simpler transition as opposed to fields that relied entirely on face-to-face communication. And while some internships have been eliminated or rescheduled, the majority of industry jobs have remained relatively stable. He also explained that one of the biggest challenges for businesses right now is in training new workers: “Just last week I talked with an employer that wants to do an internship, but they just pushed it out a ways until they could physically meet with the person.”

...there are certain things you can do online very well that you can’t do face to face—and vice versa.

When asked if he expects to see changes in his industry, Dr. Gogolin suggested that COVID-19 may leave an impact that far exceeds the quarantine period. “I think we’d be naïve to say there won’t be changes,” he asserted, explaining that business will look very different a year from now than it was in February.

Dr. Gogolin’s classroom transition has been less extreme, thanks to the many already online course offerings in the Information Security and Intelligence program. Having online options for every course meant that there was already a precedent in place. In the past, some of the major’s courses have only had online options, so most students were fluent in the technology needed for digital course work. Having done his doctoral dissertation on the comparison of remote education and in person courses, Dr. Gogolin expressed that online is an effective way to teach his content, albeit a very different one. “It’s apples and oranges,” he said when comparing the styles of teaching. “In other words, there are certain things you can do online very well that you can’t do face to face—and vice versa.”

We need to see the big picture, be patient, and be reasonable.

In the midst of COVID-19, however, it is becoming clear how much different individuals are doing to support us. Dr. Gogolin emphasized that he has seen numerous people step forward, in particular, the support staff. “You have secretaries that are doing things off hours in their own difficult environment…that’s been the unsung thing,” he said. “You know, registration happened in the middle of all this, and they have had to make adjustments for class offerings. They have just been amazing.”

Looking to the future, Dr. Gogolin suggested that the unprecedented circumstance will have somewhat unprecedented results. “The big question is, what’s going to happen for Fall?” He mused. “I really don’t know what Fall will look like…but I wouldn’t be surprised if it became more online.”

In the middle of the uncertainty, Dr. Gogolin recommends taking a step back and acknowledging that this time is difficult for everyone and everyone is doing the best they can. This includes staff, professors and other students, who may have more going on at home than we realize. It also applies to our leaders—both at our school and in our government. “In times like these, it’s lonely at the top,” he stated. “This is for the most part unprecedented, and there’s no model to say ‘this is what we did last time.’ We need to see the big picture, be patient, and be reasonable.”