Episode 330 Steve Stratton Cyber Opportunities for Veterans Transcript

This transcript is from episode 330 with guest Steve Stratton.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Hey, everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. And today, my guest is Steve Stratton. And Steve is a, uh, formerly worked in, uh, U. S. Army, White House, uh, Communications, Secret Service, and is a retired Green Beret. Um, he’s focused now on helping veterans get into tech and in particular, uh, cyber field. Uh, and so many non tech veterans don’t even really give cyber, uh, a thought when they’re getting out of the military. And so he’s here to discuss some of the benefits of getting into the industry and, uh, some of the things that. Uh, you might be able to do to get yourself into that industry, even if it hasn’t been something that was in your, your background or your MROs or, or anything like that. So, uh, before we get into that though, welcome to the show, Steve. I’m really glad to have you here. Steve Stratton: It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me on. Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. Um, for the listeners and the viewers in the audience who are not familiar with you, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?[00:01:00] Steve Stratton: Sure. Uh, a long time ago in a land far, far away, I joined the army and, uh, went to basic at Fort Ord in, in, uh, 73. And, uh, uh, for some reason, the DIs all took us to the theater and these guys show up in, in long hair. Longer than army hair. Of course, we’re all recruits with a buzz job, but, uh, they show up, they’re in suits. Next thing you know, they’re talking about, uh, Being stationed out of D. C. and traveling around the world in support of, uh, different missions. And that’s about all they said. And I was like, on the way to Fort Lewis, probably into the Signal Company, Associated Arrangers, and I started raising my hand and progressively got to know a little bit more about it. Next thing you know, my MOS has changed, and I’m going to Oklahoma, and then Fort Gordon. And, uh, I end up in DC a couple of weeks before, uh, President Nixon resigned. Uh, [00:02:00] funny story. I’m on the way in, uh, my sponsor’s taking me in. He’s like, you know what that is? And it’s like, I think that’s the Watergate. And he’s like, yeah, don’t go there. Yeah. Yeah. That kind of introduction to DC is a 19 year old eyes wide. you know, thinking I’m a hotshot communicator and it’s like all going downhill because now I’m, now I’m in DC, but, uh, it was a great time. Did that for four and a half years, uh, easy switch over to the secret service, having supported them with communications. And then, uh, after a couple of years of that and a campaign year that almost killed me from so much travel, I decided to, uh, leave that, leave the secret service and, uh, eventually found my way in through, um, Alarms and video and things like that into communications and computers and eventually into computer security, which is a field I really loved. It was that, uh, You know, protecting all the [00:03:00] things that people were trying to do with, uh, computers in the day. So it’s been, it’s been a real fun ride. Scott DeLuzio: I got to imagine your background and I’m sure we’re going to get more into your background and everything in a little bit, but I got to imagine your background, uh, with the secret service and, um, that type of stuff probably influenced some of your, your future career, uh, moves as well, because, you know, there’s a lot of. Um, that mindset, uh, I guess you could say, you know, just having that, that security mindset, always, always just thinking, pretty much thinking like a criminal, like how could someone use this to, to affect me and how do I stop them from doing that? Steve Stratton: Right? Exactly. And it’s amazing. Um, I just mentioned, um, on a Twitter post the other day that there’s a, a big connection between that physical security idea. And how the world of cyber security, back then it was called computer security, information security, you know, we weren’t cyber warriors yet, you know, [00:04:00] back in the day. But that mindset of security and defense in depth, all those kind of things actually came from the physical world. So, uh, having that little bit of radio technical background combined with that experience in the physical world of security, uh, really helped me see what. What do you need to be doing in the cyberspace? Scott DeLuzio: Well, you know what? I want to get more into that kind of, uh, the physical versus the, um, the, the cyber security and, uh, more into your background and, and your career and, and the things that kind of led you to where you are now, uh, in just a minute, we’re going to take a quick commercial break though. So stay tuned. Everybody, welcome back to Drive On. Um. Steve, we were talking a little bit earlier in the intro about your career, your background and everything. Certainly was an interesting career, not, not too often that we have people, uh, who served in the, the, uh, the White House or, you know, with, uh, Secret Service or, or things like that on the show. Um, so to me, that, that, that’s, [00:05:00] uh, kind of intriguing. Um, can you tell us a little bit about serving in the, the White House, uh, communications, uh, you know, section and, uh, and, and the Secret Service, um, And the types of work that you did. And how did these experiences shape the perspective on, uh, on the importance of cyber and security in general? Steve Stratton: Yeah. The, um, uh, White House communications, just in general, the unclassified version of this is, you know, they’re, they’re taking care of communications now for the president, the vice president and special assigned dignitaries. Back in my day, it included Kissinger before Department of State. You know, stepped up with their own group, but, um, the idea would be to go on advanced teams, two, three weeks out in advance of a presidential trip to Poland or to London or things like that. Work with the advanced secret service, advanced team. Who’s focused more on [00:06:00] security. And I was on communications then, um, either where it would be just two of us on a VP trip, or maybe some dignitary, it would be a team of 15 or 20 people or more for a presidential visit. Um, this is back in the day when we actually had cords, we still stuck into switchboards and things like that. So we took C 141s full of equipment. overseas and then would set up these radio systems. So wherever the president was going, wherever the motorcade was, there was good, good signal, good communications. Um, when I switched over to the secret service, my primary job was alarms and video around the white house. And that extended into, uh, decommissioning, um, even decommissioning, uh, systems like up at the Eisenhower farm. After Mrs. Eisenhower passed away, or, uh, there was a horse farm down in Virginia where President Kennedy had gone the week before, uh, Dallas, things like that. So [00:07:00] it was a very interesting job, but I also did that advance work, both inside of DC. You know, it’s like the president, the vice president goes to Congress and also around the world, different spots. And I can’t say that, uh, I was disappointed getting assigned to a trip to Bali where I had to especially spend three weeks on Bali by myself with a radio system, you know, for the vice president to come through for 20 minutes. So it was a good time. One of the, one of the things I noticed though, in my time, both active duty and then later as a government contractor working for the likes of SAIC and other people like that, um, was that. Some really smart and good people that I knew who were active duty really weren’t thinking a lot about post retirement You know, I was like, ah, you know, I’ll just put on the goofy clothes and go play golf and things like that But I found a lot of them were just sort of lost and I’m talking about sergeant [00:08:00] majors and you know majors captains lieutenant colonels Whatever and they they were sort of lost you know, they they didn’t know how to dress, so to speak, uh, that you can’t use a knife hand on a civilian. Um, you know, um, and the biggest thing was they all thought they were going to be starting higher up the food chain than where they would be. You know, it’s one thing if you’re a three star and you’ll get put on the board of Raytheon or something like that. But when you’re, you know, when you’re a captain, a major, or even a senior NCO, you’re going to be starting probably a little higher than entry level, but not much. And. Those kinds of things were shock, shocking. So, um, but for all that lack of planning, they did have skills. And so I started focusing on, you know, there, there would be the transition things like at CENTCOM, you know, they would hold on base and, um, speaking about. The skills, you know, yeah, okay, we can help [00:09:00] you, you know, dress in a coordinated way, you know, and, and learn how to speak to civilians, um, and what the differences in leadership are, but really, how do you take your assets? How do you take your skills and talents and apply them into the, the commercial space? Right. And the government had these websites and they would say, well, if you were a telecom operator, you know, or, uh, you know, a radar operator, you could do this or that, but that just gives you an idea of a space, not actually the things to do and how to present yourself, how to present your resume. So that became very important to me as I continue to grow in my cybersecurity. Um, Jobs, Myself. Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and I, I know that, you know, obviously these days, cyber is a much bigger field than probably it was, uh, back when you first got started. Um, you know, there was probably the, the, you know, small segments of, of people who were interested in it, but [00:10:00] we weren’t connected the way we are now. You know, everything’s connected and, um, that, that just means that. The, the bad guys are out there. They’re not, they’re not necessarily, uh, doing a pickpocket move, but they’re doing some, some other kind of move to, uh, you know, steal stuff from miles and miles away. And you’ll never know who this person is. And so there’s, there’s a lot of, um, uh, you know, interest in this field. It’s surprising to me, you know, like, especially like what you were saying, some. even higher ranking members of the militaries are getting out, just assuming that they’re going to land in a position, um, you know, higher up the food chain, but really they’re not much more, uh, higher up than entry level, um, in, in a lot of cases. Um, so thinking about the cyber field in particular tech, cyber, all, all of those, those fields, um, I, I would think that. Having that physical security mindset, which a lot of members of the military [00:11:00] have would probably give them a leg up a little bit higher up the food chain maybe than, than that entry level kind of position. Is that kind of what you’ve experienced? Steve Stratton: Yeah, it is a, um, the, um, cyber, um, is really the application of, of what we see in the physical world into this digital world. Right. Um, I often, I went through the, Band Aid medic course, um, combat medic course, uh, wanted to be a special forces medic. But when they found out I knew something about radios, it was all over and I was stuck in radios. But, um, that a computer has a network, just like our blood system, a computer has a brain, right? A CPU. It has a heartbeat. There’s a clock inside that keeps it on track and things like that. So there’s a lot of, of physical to digital, um, parallels and, Having come from work with Classified, having come from places where, you know, you [00:12:00] may have entered a SCIF or some other secure facility. Having, having that mindset is, is very helpful and the kind of things you can point out on your resume that, you know, you’ve worked in this kind of environment. Maybe you weren’t a cyber intelligence analyst or specialist or that kind of thing, but there’s a whole list and we could talk about this more of, of the skills and capabilities that people are looking for when they’re looking for. Cyber, Cyber Warriors. Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and I think that’s something maybe we can, we can kind of explore there is, um, it, you know, the the correlations between the physical and the the digital world, um, where where you’re saying, you know, like a computer has, has a brain and it has, you know, very similar um, things in the digital world than it, than it does in the, the physical space. Um, uh, you know, but a lot of times people just don’t think about that. Um, you know, how do you How do you [00:13:00] identify like the potential for cyber for a veteran who’s maybe getting out of the military? They’re, they’re out in there, they’re looking for that. Next career. Um, and how do you, how do you figure out, like, you know, is this person even going to be a good fit for this particular career? Um, you know, maybe they’re, um, their MOS doesn’t have anything to do with computers or anything like that, but doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not a good fit. Um, you know, how do you, how do you identify like who might be the right person for this Steve Stratton: type of job? Well, we can go back to some of the real basics, you know, and talk about, Um, you know, one of the things we show by being in the military, since it’s an all volunteer army or military, is commitment number one, right? We show, we show commitment. Um, we also learn leadership. Now, military leadership and commercial leadership have their differences beyond the knife hand. And, uh, you know, those kind of things, but you learn [00:14:00] those leadership principles, right? And what it’s like to get a group of people to focus on a vision, a mission. And, and work towards it. Um, we know how to, in general, we know how to build teams and get things done. Right. In your course of your military career, unless it’s very short, you know, it’s, um, you, you end up in leadership positions, but you also end up in the servant or below leadership position. Right. Um, and so most of us are not programs, but you, we have the skills and traits Many people can fill in the cyber domain because there’s so much more than the hardcore code just runs in their head virtually kind of hacker kind of programmer people that I admire so much. Um, you know, uh, you could be You could, you could be a member in the army band and I could put you in cyber and because of your musicality, you’d fit [00:15:00] because you programming is a different language. Just like music is a language, right? So there’s things that people don’t think about. There’s a massive talent shortage, right? 3. 4 million people worldwide is what the market looks like for the need for cyber talent. Unfilled, right? 750, 000 open positions in the United States. Wow. Yeah, and that’s a 35 percent increase over last year. The thing about cyber is that it’s the unfortunate gift that keeps on giving. The more we get digital, the more the bad guys are trying to take advantage of it. Right. Like, like the SolarWinds attack, the recent, uh, move it progress software attacks, things like that. So leadership, collaboration, team experience. Uh, when you get up into, you know, above sergeant and things like that, even some corporal positions, maybe not so much E4 or Mafia, [00:16:00] but, uh, you get, you get into risk management, right? You’re thinking about, right, I’ve got to do something. Now, how do I de risk this mission or, or supply operation? Um, critical thinking skills. And by that, I mean the kind of discipline thinking that’s clear, rational, open minded. And informed, right, by evidence, because that’s what you’re looking at in cyber. You don’t have to understand the sensors that are picking up all these details, but if you can look at this and start to put pictures together of what might be going on based on those sensors, that’s that sort of all source analysis intel skill that a lot of us have without ever having gone to an intel school. Uh, strong communications, clear, you know. High ethical standards, logical thinking. And, and if you come with a secret or higher clearance, you know, certainly even better, like even the government contractors are like, Yahoo, I don’t have to [00:17:00] pay for that. I can roll that over, so to speak. So lots of interesting things that people don’t think about. That sets you up for, uh, success in this Scott DeLuzio: space. Absolutely. And I want to get, get more into that and, and kind of give people an idea of, um, you know, whether or not the skills and, and, uh, qualities that they have as a veteran, the stuff that they’ve experienced maybe, uh, is the right fit for, for them to, to kind of explore this field, but we’re going to take another quick commercial break here, so stay tuned. So, um, Steve, we were just talking before the break, uh, about some of the talent shortage, uh, going out, you know, throughout the world really with, uh, the, the cyber industry, um, uh, and, uh, particularly in the United States. I mean, we’re, we’re here, you said what, 750, 000 some odd jobs that are, uh, vacant that, that people are looking for people in this field. So there’s clearly, uh, opportunities out there and, uh, Um, just knowing basic economics when there’s a supply and demand issue, um, you know, [00:18:00] the, the, the salaries of those fields, I gotta imagine are probably going to start going up, especially as the, that demand is, uh, is increasing and the supply of, uh, of qualified workers is not there to fill those roles. So, um, so it’s definitely a field I feel like, uh, people should be considering, um, especially if, if they’re. looking for a fresh start. Maybe they were, let’s just say a medic in the military. And they’re like, you know what? I don’t want to do anything medical ever again. I don’t, that’s just not my thing. Um, but they still have, like you were saying before the break, a bunch of different skills and, uh, qualities that are effective for this field. Right. And. And it’s just a matter of getting the right kind of training. Um, what is it that, uh, you know, about the, the veterans in particular, um, versus just, you know, the general civilian population that, um, kind of helps them out and gives them [00:19:00] that, that leg up. Even if, like I said, even if they were like a medic or, um, uh, you know, a finance clerk or something like that, that doesn’t necessarily focus on, uh, cybersecurity, but they, they have kind of a similar mindset, right? Steve Stratton: Yeah. Um, you know, it take, uh, what advantage I see, you’ve got a college grad who’s come out of school, gone right from high school, come out of college, got a piece of paper. And, and if I, I hope I don’t sound like I’m dissing college grads because I have, it took me 17 years to finish, but I finished. So it, uh, uh, but, um, they’ve not been in the workforce. They’ve not worked with different people from different backgrounds. They’ve not. Been overseas working for an organization who’s state, you know, stationed in Germany or Kuwait or other places like that. Um, and once again, it doesn’t matter if you’re in finance, logistics, drove a tank, you’re solving problems, you’re making things [00:20:00] happen, right? So, so once again, I’ll point to that. No background in tech, no problem really, because it’s the critical thinking skills, strong communication skills, problem solving, um, technical skills. There are, there are some that might be helpful depending on where you want to go. Uh, but there are, are plenty of online courses, plenty of things you can see on, you know, different social media channels and stuff about, about the kind of scripting it takes to bring some of these censored data together. Once again, you don’t have to know a lot about it. You’re just sort of like, grab this data, grab that, put it in a report, things like that. Um, and so, um, The neat thing is you don’t need a lot of technical knowledge, but you can always dive into it later. So, so I came into, um, uh, cyber security, uh, having, uh, done some, uh, just more like [00:21:00] general computing stuff and then saw what was going on and asked a question. They’re like, Oh, you’re interested. Come over here, you know, and that’s the way it is in cyber security. You could be. You could be the guy who’s doing, um, the reports. Uh, we do, we do these scans on systems and they tell us if there’s vulnerabilities. Well, you read that scan and it’ll tell you what the vulnerability is and you write a report and then you’re right. Sort of a program of action. And so it’s sort of a standard management function. You’re getting that input, you’re, you’re, you’re assessing, helping assess that, prioritize it and move it forward. And it doesn’t take a lot of technical skill to do that, but it’s critically important because if you don’t fix those vulnerabilities, those are where the bad guys come, come knock on the door. Right. And so, um, and also these, these employees like self motivated. employees, right? Employers like self motivated employees, right? So if you’re there and you get inside [00:22:00] and then you start to expand and be talking and find something else you’re interested in and can add more value, employers love that all the time, right? When they get additional value out of a, out of a curious. Uh, kind of employee. Scott DeLuzio: Right. And, you know, just looking at like my background. So I have a degree in accounting. Um, and I, along the way, I got interested in, um, web design, web development, that type of thing. Programming. I had no. formal training in doing that, that type of stuff. Um, but there are just so many, um, classes, tutorials, videos, uh, websites, things that you can just teach yourself a lot of stuff. I’m not saying you can, you can necessarily get to. You know, advanced levels, but you can at least get your foot in the door. Like you were saying, there’s so many things out there that you can, you can use to get that first, um, first [00:23:00] foot in the door. I think, um, do you have any particular, uh, places that you can. Uh, think of off the top of your head that, that might help people out. I mean, there’s a lot more probably available now than there was when you first broke into this industry. So it probably makes it a little bit easier for somebody now to learn some of this stuff on, on their own. Um, you know, even nights and weekends and stuff like that while they’re working another job, uh, to get to that point. But do you know of any, uh, resources that you could, you maybe recommend that people can start to take a look at? Steve Stratton: Yeah, I do. Before that, I’d just like to focus once again on this point that cyber security is not all about hacking or breaking into things, but you know, it’s really about learning how to protect people with and how technology and people work together, right? Because if the technology was just locked up and separate from people. We’d never have a problem, right? It’d just be like, you know, you know, the safest computers, the unplugged one kind of idea, but, but, uh, this, [00:24:00] the SANS, there was a SANS and SANS, S A N S is a company and, and we’ll get that in the links and other things around the show, right? The SANS is one of these companies, um, Security Institute. And there was this blog by Lance Spitzner, and he said, Many people think about cyber security is all about hacking and breaking into things. The key to your success is not your technical background, but your willingness and desire to learn how technology works, and to never stop playing. In addition, there’s a number of fields that aren’t about solving technical problems, but human problems, and policy, and security awareness, training, governance. If you’re good at training, there’s a place for you in security, right? Thank you. Communications, Privacy, um, and then all the, the high PhD kind of stuff like encryption and other things, but cyber, cyber law and ethics. So there’s a broad range of places that you can go and bring value to a customer. And so accounting, you know, [00:25:00] if accounting and curious. I, I always, um, won in the hiring pool because I hired, when I was full time, I hired curious people. They didn’t have to know everything. I knew they would find it out, figure it out, work it out, something like that, because they were curious. So, um, yeah, to, to talk more about, you know, um, the, where the resources are. And I’ve got a whole list here. Um, one of the things about this is, you know, continuous learning is this must do thing you have to be doing in the cyberspace. Cause the bad guys are always investigating, learning, figuring things out. Right. Um, so, um, you You know, local community colleges, universities all have some level of cyber security courses and or centers of excellence of the nearby community college in Denver has a cyber security center that actually works with the local defense [00:26:00] contractors out here, like Northrop, Lockheed Martin and other people like that, who are big here in Denver and down in the Springs. The National Initiative for Cyber Security Careers and Studies is another great resource. It has. like a workforce framework. There’s seven categories, 33 areas, specialty areas, 52 work roles. And once again, it’s not all hacker kind of stuff. You know, and it actually, this, this initiative actually shows you, you know, what specific knowledge and skills you need to be in these different areas. So that’s a number, a great place. The SANS that I just mentioned is also a great place to go. Um, and then there’s companies, vendors, actual vendors that recognize this is a huge need. So, uh, there’s a company called Fortinet, and they are a maker of a firewall, right? One of these devices that controls communications in and out of your enterprise. We [00:27:00] use firewalls all over the military, both in unclassified and classified networks and things like that. And they’ve got paid internships. Um, so, um, the other thing you can do, they’ve got free training for veterans. And then if you look on, on Deed, Indeed as just one, you know, job search, you can actually type in some keywords around, um, internships. you know, in cybersecurity, like anywhere else, we need project managers or program managers that can run projects. They don’t have to be technical experts, but they’re good at making sure the right resources in the right spot. So sure. Lots of resources like this, and I could keep going on and on. Scott DeLuzio: I’m sure there are. And when you were talking earlier, I, I had another connection to like physical, you know, maybe, uh, the, something that, that. Other veterans or service members might relate to. Uh, when you were [00:28:00] talking about how, um, you know, there’s, there’s this continuous learning, uh, mindset here where you kind of have to keep learning things ’cause the bad guys are evolving and they are doing, uh, things to. kind of circumvent whatever things you might have put into place. Um, but I think about like when we were deployed to Afghanistan, um, the, um, the, the Taliban, the, you know, all the, all the, the bad guys over there, they started off with much smaller bombs that they would hide in the roads. And then they realized, okay, these bombs maybe aren’t. as effective against the vehicles that we have. And so they moved to bigger bombs, but then we moved to bigger trucks with more security and more armor and, and things like that. And we had, so it was like a, this continuous, uh, you know, kind of back and forth where it was like, okay, we evolved. And so they, they would evolve to defeat whatever it was that, uh, we put into place and then we would evolve some more. And then, um, so. Similar, uh, to what you’re talking about there [00:29:00] in the cyber world, um, there’s this evolution of things that have to take place in order for, uh, you know, the, the bad guys that’s just gonna run amok or, or go to the point where you just have to unplug everything and not, not allow any connectivity. And that’s, that’s really not very effective. Um, you know, it wouldn’t. kind of defeat the purpose of having a lot of this computing power. Um, but I want to talk a little bit more about the, um, uh, the, the different challenges maybe that people might face and, and some of the things that, uh, some of the advice that you might have for, uh, veterans who are looking to get into this career field in just a minute. We’re going to take another quick commercial break though, so stay tuned. Hey everybody, welcome back to Drive On, I’m here with Steve Stratton, who is talking about the cyber field for veterans to get into, um, and we were earlier in this episode, we were talking about how, um, Veterans are, are in a great position, no matter what your background is, what your MOS was, um, no matter what you did [00:30:00] in the military, uh, you’re in a great position to look into this field. Um, there’s a lot of different opportunities. Uh, you don’t necessarily need to be a coder or programmer or whatever, uh, to, to be able to work in this industry. There’s a lot of things like, uh. project management and, uh, even some legal, uh, type things. And, and you can, you can get into a whole bunch of different areas, uh, in this, this career field. Um, And like we were saying before, there’s, there’s many, many, there’s thousands and thousands of jobs that are available. Um, and it’s just a matter of getting the right people to the right jobs, um, and getting them trained up. Um, what is some Steve, what are some tips or advice that you might have for, uh, people who are interested in getting into this, uh, this field? Uh, maybe they’ve been listening to this episode and thinking, Hey, you know what? I’m, I’m looking for a change in my career and I kind of want to get into this. So I just. I don’t know, like, what are the first steps? What do I need to do? Um, and, [00:31:00] and how do I put my best foot forward? Steve Stratton: Yeah, I’d, I’d say, um, first off, you know, you need to do a honest self assessment and say, you know, put down what your skills are, you know, what your talent is, what you’re curious, you know, in, it might be that, you know, beyond being, being a cybersecurity. practitioner where you’re at the keyboard or you’re, you know, working in a commercial enterprise, you could go to work for one of the vendors who provides a solution like Fortinet. They have opportunities there for what they call partner managers. They all have partners that they do business with. So if you happen to like people making partnerships, uh, the exciting, you know, Doing business, making things happen is exciting for you. That’s another opportunities, but first you’ve got to do that on a self assessment where you at, and then decide which parts of this cybersecurity [00:32:00] ecosystem are you interested in. And there’s, so there’s a lot of resources online that you can see these different spots because right, we have customers. And the government’s slightly different than the commercial side, but we’ve got customers and outside that we’ve got all the vendors that do the different things. Some are taking care of your endpoints, some are actually managing the Oracle or whatever software it might be your financials run on, different things like that. So it’s a huge, huge, multi billion dollar ecosystem with lots of points of entry. Uh, through a vendor or through one of these, for example, you know, internships, or, uh, I have a, a friend, uh, up in New York, and, you know, he, he was a ranger, he was also with a triple letter agency, uh, active with them, and, you know, he had not had anything to do with information security, cyber security, like that, [00:33:00] and he was able to find a, uh, The company paid him to come train and then hired him on board, and now he’s in the cyber field. So, you know, I joke that, you know, he was a dirt soldier, like I eventually became in Special Forces. But he’s now in the cyber space and enjoying what he’s doing because he doesn’t have to worry about the tech. He worries about the information and analyzing it. Do that self assessment, then look at SANS, like I said, um, the initiative, some of these other resources, especially the initiative where it lays out these different roles and, and different ideas and see if something sparks up. If you want to talk about what. What you could be doing inside of vendors. There’s everything from sales roles to, like I say, partnership roles, uh, where you’re not, you’re, you, you become the customer expert, not the technology [00:34:00] expert. Right. And there are other people that help out. So lots of different ideas. You need to self assess, take a look at those roles, decide which ones are interesting, and then, then come back and then start to do. the search, uh, to see what kind of roles are open, what kind of tech training is available locally, what can you use your veterans benefits for, for training, um, you know, and. They, these things can even include like beyond partner manager, uh, I used to build, uh, software that, that look for insider threat like Snowden’s and people like that. Sure. So the people that are operating that system get alerts and some of those people are investigators. So, you know, you could, you could do that kind of role or, or forensic accounting if you’re an accountant and things like that. So lots of Scott DeLuzio: interesting stuff. And there are, there’s so many different. fields. And as, as you’re talking, it’s, it’s actually turning the wheels of my head of like the other opportunities [00:35:00] that are there. Like you said, like if you’re working for one of these vendors, um, you know, selling this type of product to a company or to whoever you’re selling it to is probably very similar to selling lots of other products. Um, and Any business is going to need, you know, the, the Salesforce, they’re going to need the, um, you know, the, the customer support type people. And they’re going to need, they’re going to need all sorts of different people who are there to, uh, to help support their customers, um, and, and to. Make the products, improve the products. All of those things are going to be crucial components to that. Um, and so that’s something I hadn’t even thought about, uh, when we started this conversation was the, the vendor side of thing. I’m, I’m, I’m thinking more of the, the end user of maybe some of these products and that being the, um, You know, the way to go, but there’s, there’s so many different, uh, opportunities out there. Um, and I, I think, like you [00:36:00] said, checking out some of these resources that you mentioned earlier, and I’ll, I’ll, I’ll try to put some of those links in the show notes for the listeners as well. But, um, looking at some of those resources and just identifying, uh, What you think you’re going to enjoy, what you’re going to be good at. Um, you may not have the training right now, but like you said, there’s potentially opportunities where people pay you to do the training, or you can use your VA benefits or your, you know, whatever benefits that you might have, uh, for education, um, check out local. colleges or, um, you know, either, even, um, you know, other organizations might offer stuff in your local area that maybe we just don’t know about right now, but there may be some, some organizations that have, uh, some classes and training that you might be able to go through as well. And. Use those benefits to get yourself a step up, uh, over somebody who maybe just graduated college, right? [00:37:00] Because not only, uh, would you have gone through very similar training that they went through, but you also have however many years experience in the military, work experience, life experience, and, and also the, that, that mindset that we were talking about before that, that a lot of, uh, military veterans end up having when they get out of the military, right? Steve Stratton: Exactly, exactly. And, you know, it’s all those, those community colleges, those universities, uh, there are several different organizations, uh, focused, like, information sec Information Security Systems, ISSA, I think it’s called. Many of them have these meetings and yeah, it may be a, it may be a bunch of nerds, but that networking is important, right? Because not, once again, not all of them are black hacks and hackers, but you, you get a whole range of people, you know, it’s like, it’s like, Thinking about, you know, a police organization conference in Vegas, it’s just not, you know, beat [00:38:00] cops. There’s detectives. There’s the CSI people. There’s all that. And that’s, that’s sort of very similar to the cyber world, right? Um, that you have this wide range of people that it takes to fight this, um, you know, escalating, ever escalating war between, You know, us and the bad guys, uh, you know, whether, whether you’re a, you know, a 50 person company or, you know, you, you’re the U. S. Army, right? Right. Um, it’s, it’s, it’s that, it’s that same. So, yeah, lots of opportunities. Don’t be afraid to get out. Networking, of course. Networking is a great way to find out about opportunities, training, and then also, uh, have somebody at, at over time that might. give you a reference right on a resume and they’re a practitioner, right? And that is always very helpful if you’ve got somebody who’s a current practitioner giving you a reference as you’re trying to get into a Scott DeLuzio: position. So, [00:39:00] yeah, that’s right. Um, and, and having that network, um, exposing you to opportunities, like we were just talking about how some of the things that you had mentioned are things that I hadn’t even considered. Um, prior to this conversation, right? But when you get involved in networking events and you, you start talking to people who are in the industry, they’re involved in it, they may expose you to other opportunities that you’re like, Oh my gosh, I didn’t even, I didn’t even think that this would be a thing that, uh, even exists, but here we are, we’re talking about it. And, and now, um, you know, I have this, uh, great idea of, of. a career path for me. And, um, you know, had you not gotten involved with that networking, maybe you never would have been aware of that type of work. And, um, you know, I think networking just in general is a good thing to do regardless of what field you’re going into, um, for very similar reasons. Um, but also, uh, in addition to career development, it’s also, um, you know, just. [00:40:00] Getting to know different people. And when, you know, other opportunities arise, maybe, maybe there’s an opportunity where you can partner with somebody else and you know those people already and you just have those opportunities. Um, so, so getting out there and networking with people, uh, I think is, is just a. really, it’s a smart idea. Um, you know, so I’m glad you brought that up. Um, and it’s more than just social networking, you know, like, uh, you know, LinkedIn or, you know, whatever, although that’s probably important too. Um, but it’s that in person, you know, getting to know the people and making those connections and having that, um, you know, maybe even a physical conference that you might go to and learn more about certain things. Right. And I’m sure there’s plenty of those types of things available too. Right. Steve Stratton: Right. And, and join an organization and you may not know a whole lot, but volunteer. What is a better way, no better way to learn more than, than to volunteer, help at a conference, you know, that way you get access to the materials without. Maybe all the cost and stuff like that. So, yeah, um, you [00:41:00] know, the, um, the interesting thing is you never hear, you hear of layoffs at companies, but you never hear of the cyber security team getting laid off. Right, right. Um, just doesn’t happen. Nobody talks about it. Um, you know, um, like say that this, this ability to get training. Uh, low cost or free using your benefits or other benefits that you might get from the state, you know, uh, through the National Guard or Reserves, whatever. Yeah. You know, it’s really a good opportunity here. Um, the progress you can make, um, I think actually comes quicker when you network, right? That’s right. Cause I, you know, it’s just like, it’s just like teamwork. Yeah. I can be on a solo mission and I can do things, but I can’t do nearly as much as I can do with a team. Right. And, and so creating your tribe and, or team around this space you’d like to get in, I, I offer up [00:42:00] that if you’re still on active duty. It’s not too early to start. Yeah, you might be have two years left before you’re you’re a short timer, right? It doesn’t hurt to start if you’re gonna be in that area You like that area and want to stay in that area start working it now Right. And people will end up be waiting for you to get out. That’s right. And that’s not a bad place to be. Right. Is having somebody wanting you to get off active duty so they can, they can bring you in and start working Scott DeLuzio: with you. So. Yeah. You can basically just hit the ground running when you. Take that uniform off. You’re, you’re right back into it. And, and, you know, um, you know that there, there’s going to be that opportunity there for you. If you don’t start thinking about this until, Oh yeah, I’m getting out next month. Well, you’re not going to have the time to cultivate those relationships and, and get to that point. But, um, you know, I think you, you did also say something, uh, that, um, I wanted to touch on a little bit here is that, you know, if you like [00:43:00] the area that you’re in and you, you want to, you know, Kind of stay in that area. Um, that’s a good place to go. But even if you’re like, you know, I, I don’t like this area. I want to go back to, you know, where I grew up, my hometown, or, you know, I want to go someplace else. A lot of these, uh, careers, they, they’re nationwide. They may be worldwide. They, they have located like a lot of remote. type jobs are probably available as well. Um, you know, maybe not for maybe some of the more physical, like I need to be at a certain location, but a lot of the jobs, um, can be done from just about anywhere these days, especially the way technology has, has advanced. And a lot of these tech firms are, um, you know, staying up with that kind of technology. So, um, you know, really. Get started no matter where you are and make those connections. Even if you do move, you still have the connections and you can still reach out to those people and they’ll still know who you are. Right? Steve Stratton: Absolutely. And like say there’s some of these organizations, most of these cyber organizations are, or are nationwide, [00:44:00] if not worldwide. And, um, you know, there, there are different paths to different certifications that are, that are, some of them are more technical like the A plus and other things that have to do really with. The computer itself, but like I said, lots of other organizations that have certifications that are worldwide. There are many, you know, if you’re really interested in in the broader spectrum, there are many places where you can go, you know, as as an army veteran and foreign companies will pick you up to work different assets in different places. Sure. Like You know, like, and it just depending on what you want to do, it could be as, you know, remote as a Saudi Aramco facility, you know, but you’re on a team that’s going and doing physical and, you know, audits or things like that, or, you know, digital cybersecurity audits and stuff. So you’re right that don’t, don’t let, don’t let my comments, you know, confine you to one [00:45:00] space because there is national and worldwide, uh, Need, need for Scott DeLuzio: cybersecurity. Absolutely. Absolutely. We’re going to take another quick commercial break here. So stay tuned. So Steve, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today, learning about the cyber industry and all the different opportunities that are available out there. I’m sure some people out there in the audience are going to be interested in, uh, you know, what you do and maybe even getting into the industry themselves. Um, where can people go to get in touch with you, find out more about everything that you do and, uh, and things like that. Steve Stratton: Sure, and thanks for having me again. This has been a lot of fun. The, uh, my email is Steve, S T E V E, at Steven, S T E V E N, Stratton, S T R A T T O N, I’m a, I’m also an author and my second book just published, uh, on August 30th. Uh, and, uh, but I’m happy to help anybody, uh, get pointed in the right direction. [00:46:00] I’m on, I’m on, I guess we call it X now. I’m at Stratton books. I’m on Facebook and Instagram at Steve Stratton USA. So any way you want to reach me and get in contact, I’m available. Love talking with veterans, helping people get started in the right way. And, uh, you know, like say we’ll share some links and other things. So for the show notes, so people can. Could start to do some, uh, investigation on their own. Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. And I’ll have, uh, all the links that you, you mentioned here in the show notes, all your social media and, uh, the other, uh, organizations that you mentioned as well. I’ll, I’ll put those links in the show notes too so people can find ’em all in one easy to find the location and, and, uh, hopefully start their search and, and get their career moving in the, the right direction. Um, so. Lately, I’ve been doing a segment, especially when I have a, uh, another veteran on the, the show as a guest, um, segments called, is it service connected? And the, the segment is, uh, basically for [00:47:00] the, the listeners who are the viewers who haven’t, um, seen this segment before it’s, uh, I like to describe it as America’s funniest home videos, military edition, uh, we, we watch a video, something, Uh, inevitably is going to happen where someone does something stupid or, or whatever. And some, someone gets injured or whatever. And, and, uh, we’re gonna, we’re gonna just watch the video, have a good laugh. And, and then we’ll, we’ll talk about whether or not that would be a service connected injury that we saw in some cases. It is some cases it isn’t, um, either way, the video is going to be pretty funny. So, um, so we’ll get that, uh, that video up here. I just want to make sure our guest here, Steve, we can see the video. Um, is that showing up on your screen on your end? Yes, it is. All right. So, um, so right now it looks like we got, uh, looks like some air airmen here. They got, um, uh, this is for the, the podcast listeners, just for the benefit here, uh, for them. Uh, so they know what we’re watching. Got a couple of airmen holding the arms, linked arms with another, [00:48:00] uh, airmen in the middle here. Um, looks like they’re about to do, uh, the taser, uh, drill and, um, Uh, I can only imagine how this can go wrong, uh, at this point. So let’s, let’s take a quick look and see how this, this video ends up. Oh, she got tased and then the guy on the, on the left looks like, uh, she needed something to grab onto and, uh, she grabbed, grabbed a little bit below the belt and, um, so initially I was thinking to myself, okay, um, the taser, maybe the taser is going to be the, the injury. Um, but no, I’m thinking, I’m thinking the, uh, the guy on the left there. He’s the one who’s going to end up with the disability. If he ever, ever tries to have kids, let’s put it that way. In a PG kind of way. Steve Stratton: Oh, that was great. That was good. Scott DeLuzio: So man, [00:49:00] I would not want to be that guy. Um, but. Hey, you know what? He’s got it on video. So if he ever does have a claim, at least he can prove it was service connected. Steve Stratton: You know, I’ve been tased before, um, but I’ve never, I’ve never grabbed anybody. And it’s a pretty interesting Scott DeLuzio: video. Yeah. I mean, and I know like sometimes you just have that involuntary, you know, movement with your arms. I wonder if that was, you know, voluntary or involuntary where she was just like. I gotta grab onto something, but you know, this is just the nearest Steve Stratton: thing. Either that or he was the one who talked her into it in the first place. Yeah, right. And Scott DeLuzio: that was, that was not involuntary. She was like, okay, I’m getting you for this. Oh my God, what a great video. Thanks again for taking the time to join us, um, and sharing all this information. Again, we’ll have all the links in the show notes for everyone to, to check out, uh, everything that you do. So thanks again. Steve Stratton: Thank you. Take care.

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