Understanding Cyber Threats: Lessons for the Boardroom and the Server Room


Cyber risk is an underrated but all too real threat to organizations of every size, industry, and sector. From the boardroom to the server room, employees and board members, as well as product and software developers, must view cybersecurity as an enterprise-wide risk issue and play an active role in the overall security posture of any organization operating in the digital age.


Senior leaders can no longer treat cybersecurity as an isolated ‘IT problem’ best left to their IT department and must instead consider it one of the most important aspects of managing their organization, with duties and responsibilities extending through every level of the workforce. This requires them to have a deep understanding of the cyber context in which they operate, the ability to make informed decisions based on cyber risk metrics and reliable benchmarks, the determination to integrate cybersecurity into the overall business process, and the willingness to ask tough questions when necessary.  At the same time, hardware and software engineers, coders, and programmers can no longer operate under the presumption that poorly-engineered products and vulnerable software can be “fielded fast and fixed later,” and must instead consider the legal and ethical responsibilities that they also bear when developing new innovative technologies and products.


This seminar will provide an overview of cybersecurity policies at the state and national levels in the US, and of additional existing frameworks, toolkits, and other resources that senior leaders and decision-makers can consult to stay abreast of emerging cyber threats, develop and update comprehensive cyber risk management strategies, ensure minimum standards of security, and implement effective mechanisms to combat cyber threats. The material presented is based on one of Spidalieri’s many White Papers on the subject titled, “Understanding Cyber Threats: Lessons from the Boardroom,” part of the ongoing Cyber Leadership Project at the Pell Center, and follows previous reports that investigate critical issues in cyber leadership development across the United States.


  Date and Time




  • One Old Ferry Road
  • Bristol, Rhode Island
  • United States 02809
  • Building: Engineering
  • Room Number: 201
  • Click here for Map

Staticmap?size=250x200&sensor=false&zoom=14&markers=41.6506922%2c 71
  • Anthony - aruocco@rwu.edu

    Loretta - lor.reiss@gmail.com

    Ted - Ted.Dawson@acm.org


Francesca Spidalieri


Understanding Cyber Threats: Lessons for the Boardroom and the Server Room


Francesca Spidalieri is the Senior Fellow for Cyber Leadership at the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University, where she leads the Cyber Leadership research project and the Rhode Island Corporate Cybersecurity Initiative (RICCI). Francesca serves also as Co-Principal Investigator for the Cyber Readiness Index project at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, as Transatlantic Digital Debates (TDD) Fellow at New America and at the Global Public Policy Institute, and as a Distinguished Fellow at the Ponemon Institute. Her academic research and publications have focused on cyber leadership development, cyber risk management, comparative organization analysis, and national cyber preparedness and resilience. She lectures regularly at cyber-related events nationwide and contributes to journal articles and other publications on cybersecurity matters affecting countries and organizations worldwide.
She holds an M.A. in International Affairs and Security Studies from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Milan, and has completed additional cybersecurity coursework at the U.S. Naval War College's Center for Cyber Conflict Studies.


Address:Senior Fellow for Cyber Leadership, Pell Center, Salve Regina University