One month after dedicating the TSYS Center for Cybersecurity, Columbus State University announced the facility’s first director Monday.
Michael Barker is an Atlanta-based technology expert and state-licensed private detective specializing in digital forensics, according to CSU’s news release. Barker is the CEO and owner of C4 Group, Inc., a consulting and contract services firm that works in the areas of information technology, security, incident response, digital forensics, assurance, audit, compliance and governance across a spectrum of industries.
Barker has 35 years of experience in a range of industries and technologies. He earned a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from Georgia Tech and a master’s degree in information security management from the University of Fairfax, the news release says.
“We are delighted we were able hire someone with Barker’s background and qualifications,” Linda Hadley, dean of CSU’s Turner College of Business, which houses the TSYS School of Computer Science and the TSYS Center for Cybersecurity, said in the news release. “He will be a great complement to the outstanding computer science and cybersecurity faculty we already have in place.”
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Barker is certified by the National Security Agency as an Information Systems Security Professional and a Senior Systems Manager. He also is certified by the Georgia Police Officer Standards Training (POST) as an instructor in cyber forensics investigations, according to the news release.
“Part of the gift from Columbus, Ga.-based TSYS, a leading global payments provider, was designed to prepare students for careers in cybersecurity both in Georgia and throughout the nation,” the news release says. “Lack of qualified cyber security practitioners has been highlighted as a major challenge facing both industry and government.”
Through its partnership with CSU, TSYS has designated $2.5 million to establish the center. Hadley said there are two primary goals with the TSYS Center for Cybersecurity:
- Prepare a strong cybersecurity workforce, particularly for the financial services industry
- Produce applied research and promote technological innovation that will influence cybersecurity practice in the financial services sector.
“TSYS has a long-standing partnership with Columbus State University, dating back over 30 years, and we are proud to continue that relationship by helping create the TSYS Center for Cybersecurity,” Patty Watson, senior executive vice president and chief information officer at TSYS, said in the news release. “We welcome Michael Barker as the new director of the TSYS Center and believe that he is the right leader to enable CSU to meet the demands for cybersecurity education within the Valley and across the world.”
CSU president Chris Markwood added in the news release, “With the center built, the funding secured and a director now hired, the TSYS Center for Cybersecurity is well positioned to both serve our local business community while also making another mark for CSU in the Southeast. I look forward to seeing us expand our research capabilities and technical expertise.”