As we remembered the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 this week, I thought it might be appropriate to look at veterans in I.T. and how they’ve applied lessons learned to cybersecurity principles that are becoming more commonplace in the tech world today.
As highlighted by Kelly Sheridan writing for DarkReading, several key takeaways from military service are team-building, tactical and strategic defensive thinking, and clear, direct communication.
For example, former Air Force cybersecurity expert J.J. Guy founded Sevco Security. In his position, he was tasked with both being a member of the red and blue security teams, meaning at various times he tried both to fortify the cyberdefenses as well as break them. This experience allowed him to have a firm handle on what cybercriminals were thinking and avenues which they may seek to exploit; he pivoted from the Air Force to become a successful entrepreneur and “fight the good fight”.
Guy likens the experience of zero compromise that the military faces to that which businesses face in today’s cyberenvironment.
COO and co-founder of Query.AI Andrew Maloney is also a veteran in I.T. He, however, gathered a different set of skills and experiences to push his business venture. As a helpdesk technician with the Air Force administering IT systems, Maloney found that the bond formed by a well-formed team can push through the stresses that come with fighting an ever-evolving set of foes and techniques.
He also likens cybersecurity to being an expert in how components work together rather than focusing on expertise in a singular field. He values the foundational knowledge that he learned on the HelpDesk as the basis for his approach; he also states that this view of technology served him well not only in the Air Force but as well for working with the Missile Defense Agency and in SOCs for Lockheed Martin.
Maloney strives for accomplishment of his goals and attention to detail, which understanding that perfection in this field is unattainable—all philosophies borrowed from his service in the military.
Tom Pace is the CEO of NetRise. A former Marine Corps intelligence specialist, Pace believes that transparency is key to good leadership. He prefers to be direct and thorough, arming his team with the “what” as well as the “why”. As he puts it, “That’s generally the mentality of the military…There’s not a whole lot of room for, ‘I wonder what he actually meant.’ That doesn’t exist a whole lot.”
Mr. Pace was also featured in a 60 Minutes piece on cybersecurity.
As a former service member, I celebrate the accomplishments of these veterans in I.T. By bridging the gap between their philosophies of their service time and the private sector, each of these businesses provides a valuable B2B service.
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