I found my passion for technology early in life. As a kid, I was always fascinated by computers and their varied applications, from creating art to writing Star Wars fan fiction, as my best friend’s Mom did. It was the late 90s, and computer viruses were a relatively new concept.
A non-linear path to cybersecurity
At 20, I took a break from college and entered the workforce as a customer support technician for Symantec. At the time, I knew little about the company except that they produced antivirus software and their office was local. However, working there re-ignited my interest in computers and taught me much about myself. I learned that I was pretty good at backing people off the primordial cliff while explaining what a computer virus was in layman’s terms. I ended up working for Symantec for 13 of the next 14 years.
During this time, I became increasingly interested in cybersecurity and decided to pursue it as a career. I wasn’t ready to return to school, so I tried to learn as much as possible about new technologies. I formed a study group and created content to help prepare for the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) exam. I met many knowledgeable people, created new friendships, and learned a lot from them by sharing stories.
As an adult learner, I believe in the “learn as you teach” approach, and having a community of people you can rely on is essential. It’s particularly true in cybersecurity and cloud computing, where people come from diverse backgrounds. Some of us have non-technical backgrounds, while others are seasoned veterans. We all have different perspectives, so sharing knowledge is critical.
That’s why I attend security conferences—to share knowledge. Let’s consider the big annual conferences, whose names we all know, as the hits—what we’d consider the A-sides of a music record. I also enjoy the smaller conferences, like. Security BSides.
For those new to cybersecurity, Security BSides provides an opportunity to learn from veterans in the field. It started with rejected Blackhat submissions, as the Blackhat conference receives thousands of submissions every year. Some of these presentations are high quality, so a group of individuals created an alternative platform to promote these B-Sides tracks. These types of events happen all over the world, spanning 62 countries.
Universities also provide cybersecurity events that bring together experts from the community, and government agencies. One such event is the annual Oregon Cyber Resilience Summit at the University of Oregon. Representatives from the FBI, CISA, and DHS have delivered talks and shared their experiences when dealing with security breaches. This is where I learned about the free cyber hygiene services organizations can use to improve security posture.
Free cybersecurity resources
Many free online resources are also available for individuals who want to delve deeper into security or stay up-to-date with changes in the threat landscape. Resources include:
And for my fellow Redditors, the /r/cybersecurity community is another great resource!
Learn more security best practices with Cohesity Academy
If you are a Cohesity customer, you have access to Cohesity Academy, which provides training, education, and certification resources to help you follow security best practices and make the most out of Cohesity’s solutions. Cohesity Academy offers self-paced training, virtual and in-person instructor-led classes, and certifications to demonstrate your experience in multi-cloud data management concepts.
Moreover, Cohesity offers Ransomware Resilience Workshops to help you identify potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities and learn from industry experts. These workshops simulate a ransomware attack on your company data and only take two hours to complete.
If you want to connect with a wider community of Cohesity users, we recommend joining the Cohesity User Group. This growing network consists of data security and management professionals. By becoming a member of the Cohesity User Group, you will gain exclusive access to networking opportunities and Cohesity resources to help you reach your full potential.
Keep learning with these additional resources
One of the many things I love about cybersecurity is that there is no standard learning path, and it takes a community effort to ensure a secure environment.