Ford Motor Company comes to Oakland to discuss IT security, recruitment


Bill Traster, Manager of IT Security Services at Ford

The Ford Motor Company made an appearance on campus Thursday, March 27, to talk about the importance of IT security, and also to foster employment recruitment among students. The event was hosted by the Cyber Security Club of Oakland University.

The main speaker during the event was Bill Traster, Manager of IT Security Services at Ford. He told how the intellectual property of companies has become highly valuable, and that some people are willing to pay large amounts of money to get their hands on that information. This makes stealing that information an attractive option.

Traster pointed out that virtually all victims of company security breaches last year had been equipped with security software on their computers, yet it failed against the intelligence of hackers. Most security attacks are performed by outsiders, he said, or parties outside of the company. And they are constant.

“We know people are trying to get into our network,” Traster said of Ford, which detects large amounts of suspicious activity on a monthly basis. This is no different for other large companies, either.

It is here that Traster and his IT security team step in to help.

“The main thing that we’re trying to do is prevent, protect and prepare,” he said.

Traster outlined the many cyber security measures in place at Ford, such as tooling systems that are able to locate potential threats and make them visible to the company.

However, Traster said that most situations stem back to the employees themselves.

“Security is everyone’s business,” Traster said, emphasizing that all employees that deal with a company’s sensitive information should be taught how to handle it. He said that IT Security is often called “the group that stops people from doing things that are fun” since they are always seen inhibiting productivity and the use of new technology in order to evaluate and put the proper safeguards in place.

“People will always be the weakest link,” Traster said, adding that there are always those few who will compromise everything. For these, he constantly employed the saying, “You can’t fix stupid.”

Which is why, Traster said, his team at Ford is always learning new things and preparing for the worst.

Traster’s talk was followed by a discussion about overall employment opportunities at Ford, led by Brandon Henderson and Mary Sirianni, both of whom are Ford employees and OU alumni. They emphasized the company’s attitude towards personal development and the programs that support it.

“IT is huge at Ford,” said Sirianni, who joined the company last year. “I still have no idea how big it is at Ford. I’m still learning.”

Trpko Blazevski, Vice President of the Cyber Security Club, described his organization as one that does both hands-on work and also reaches out to local companies.

“We reached out to Ford … and they were more than willing to come out,” he said.

For more information about the Cyber Security Club at OU, visit their website at

Contact Staff Reporter Andrew Wernette at [email protected].