What to love about your IT security job

Security execs reveal their romance with the IT security industry.

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My heart belongs to IT

Security practices may not top the “what I love about my job” list for the everyday employee, but for those working in the InfoSec industry, it’s a different story. Between the thrill of building systems to protect data and keeping up with an ever-changing landscape, IT security professionals face new challenges daily and are never finished with their to-do lists. Whether it’s building new technologies or advancing security skill sets, these InfoSec professionals share what they love most about their jobs. 

Molding cyber warriors
thecynja.com

Molding cyber warriors

Dr. Chase Cunningham, director of cyber threat research and innovation, Armor, and, co-creator and Chief of Technology Operations for The Cynja, a comic book to teach kids about cybersecurity

"My favorite thing about working in IT security is the fact that I get to help mold the real next generation of cyber warriors. Thanks to the work we do at The Cynja we are literally helping to train and educate the next 20 years worth of youngsters that will inherit the world of IT.  It is so thrilling to know that the material that we are providing is actually teaching kids, parents, and now schools on how they can leverage technology to not only make things easier but to be safer and more secure. We have kids as young as 4 learning what encryption and botnets are, all while becoming actively engaged in an industry where they have the potential to make a positive change and start a career with no boundaries. Most information security professionals are working to fix the problems we have now, at The Cynja we are truly working to help our future generation be ready to fight the good fight in cyberspace."

Protect and serve

Protect and serve

Jeff Schilling, CSO, Armor

"I love working in IT security because it truly is a meaningful job, protecting our customers from threat actors who want to take their data.  Waking up everyday and coming to work with a team that has this selfless service mission, to protect something, reminds me of the camaraderie and shared values I had with my teams I served with in the military.”

Never bored

Never bored

Morey Haber, Vice President of Technology, BeyondTrust

“Every day is different, every client is different, and the evolution of the hack changes every week. While we are dealing with the same premise of protecting assets and data, the threats are evolving, adapting to defenses, and can be innovative to meet the objectives of the hacker. It constantly requires learning skills, technologies, and methods of mitigation based on the evolving threat landscape. You are never bored, performing the same repetitive task, and always challenged to handle the last threat.

If you are the type of individual that gets bored easily, embraces their ADHD versus letting it be a handicap, and enjoys a fast pace career that is always challenging, IT Security may be for you. I can tell you from over 20 years of experience, I love my job and it constantly surprises me with new challenges and rewards to make every day exciting and never mundane.”

Never-ending puzzle

Never-ending puzzle

Robert Hansen, CEO, Outside Intel

"What I love about IT security is that it is a never ending puzzle. There is no point where I can sit back and twiddle my thumbs and honestly say that there is nothing left to do. There’s an ever evolving threat landscape, evolving technologies, and new innovations that attempt to protect assets. It’s like a game that never has an end, where the challenge of playing it is the goal. 

Paid for breaking the law

Paid for breaking the law

Johnathan Kuskos, Manager, EU Threat Research Center, WhiteHat Security 

“I absolutely love that I have free reign to do very illegal things and instead of going to jail, I get paid for it. It’s a hilarious conversation when we’re talking with colleagues about ‘Yeah, you broke into this (client) bank using X. That’s cool, but Y is easier and more damaging.’ Very few people in the world can have casual conversations like this over coffee and not think anything of it. Happy Valentine’s Day, hack somebody you love and show them how to fix it.”

Fending off bad guys
Thinkstock

Fending off bad guys

Ryan O’Leary, Senior Director, Threat Research Center, WhiteHat Security 

“What I love about the job is that I get to help protect people from bad guys. By helping companies secure their Web applications, I'm helping my mom when she goes and signs up for a site, or buy something online. We're helping users around the world stay secure online and helping companies say the same thing. Every vulnerability we find is one less avenue for attackers to victimize users and businesses.”

Can’t sleep?

Can’t sleep?

Michael Angelo, Chief Security Architect at Micro Focus

“I love working in computer security because it gives me a valid use for insomnia. Phrased a different way it and could even be considered a job requirement. Insomnia and not being able to sleep enables me to be online when the hackers are attacking (even in the middle of the night/day/morning/evening).”

cybersecurity
REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Cool

Rick Howard, CSO, Palo Alto Networks

“What I love about cyber security, especially today, is that I work in a profession that the popular media thinks is cool. Just in the last couple of years, hackers and the good guys that use hacking to save the world are the heroes in many of the popular titles produced by Hollywood. Just this last year, three mainstream movies came out that celebrated the hacker as a hero: “Blackhat", "The Imitation Game" and yes, "Star Wars – the Force Awakens." OK, Blackhat was a bust, but the guy that plays Thor in the Avengers movies played the leading-man-white-hat hacker. In "The Imitation Game," Benedict Cumberbatch got an Oscar nomination. In Star Wars, C3PO hacked  every computer on that death-star-planet-thingy. How cool is that? And don’t get me started about TV: “Mr. Robot,” “Cyber CSI,” “Scorpion,” and “The Blacklist” all feature white hat hackers of some sort. All of these things give me ‘cool points’ with friends and family members who mostly think computers are magical and I can use all of the cool points I can get!”

Understanding family

Understanding family

Mike Patterson, Vice President of Strategy, Rook Security:

“What I love about working in IT security is seeing the evolution in my family and friends' understanding of what we do. Conversation about my job around Thanksgiving and Christmas has evolved from "uh-huh, yeah" to "what do you think about that attack?" and "what do I need to do to avoid that from happening to me?"