“Do something today that your future self will thank you for” - Sean Patrick Flanery
I got into cyber – through my high school computer science classes. Short version of a pivotal moment: Did you know that a well-placed semicolon can cause an infinite loop, which crashes a network? I was fascinated at how small changes can make a big impact so quickly. Through my studies and career, I build solutions to identify and handle adverse events in the systems we rely upon.
For me, a positive cyber mindset is – one of curiosity. Tech environments and our cyber defenses change a lot and fast – as have the ways for adversaries to take advantage of them. By staying curious, you ask questions (what happened? what didn’t? what are we missing? what don’t we know? how do we find more?) from data, tools, colleagues, and partners to figure out the best next step. Working in this field is about making fast choices based on the data in front of you, the team and tools you have, and the knowledge you’ve gained. Curiosity helps you refresh that knowledge to make better decisions when needed.
The skill that set me up for success is – problem solving; more specifically, breaking down a big challenge into achievable steps. I am a process-thinker and a visual-learner, so I love having a good whiteboard session to understand a problem, work through concerns and nuances, talk about desired outcomes, and come up with a way ahead as a team.
My recommended read is – The Cuckoo’s Egg by Cliff Stoll. It is a captivating story of a 1980s investigative effort that emphasizes being curious about the details to uncover how cyberspace enables bigger plots and schemes.
A quote I live by is – “Do something today that your future self will thank you for” ~ Sean Patrick Flanery. Whether that is one more email, one more conversation, a workout, a text, or a deep breath, it helps me be more intentional about what I do every day.