Meet the CyOC: Rebecca Blair
Cybersecurity is largely a technical field, with battles every day being waged on a field of networks and algorithms. But humans are the real heroes here at IronNet. We're shining the spotlight on one group in particular: the expert analysts and hunters in our Cyber Operations Center (CyOC). These are the men and women who work on the front lines investigating cyber anomalies, advising IronNet customers every day, and driving many of the innovations behind IronNet’s technologies.
Meet Rebecca Blair, IronNet Director of Internal SOC Operations:
Rebecca, what is your background and education?
My professional background is a little bit all over the place. I got my bachelor’s degree in Computer Security and Information Assurance from Norwich University (a college in the middle of nowhere Vermont, so you studied just to have something to do), and my master’s degree in Cybersecurity from University of Maryland University College.
Through the Norwich Alumni Network, I got my first job at Tenable Network Security working in QA and with the development team. From there I worked in a SOC environment, and traveled a lot conducting government audits.
Fun fact, when I decided it was time for a new company, and applied to IronNet, I noticed on the company page that the company (at least from that picture) and I had the same birthday!
What skills help you most in your current role?
Having a mix of different roles for my background has actually helped the most. Prior to IronNet I worked in SOC environments, as an accreditation auditor, in operations management—honestly, all over the place. Having a varied background has really helped in tackling the different challenges that IronNet throws your way. On any given day within the CyOC, I could be tracking down an incident while working on accreditation documentations, and scoping out tool usage/coverage. No two days are ever the same at IronNet, especially in the CyOC, which is why having the ability to adapt to different roles has been one of the most critical skills that I have needed.
When did you figure out you wanted to work in cybersecurity? What motivated you?
I started participating in robotics, first with basics like First Lego League, and building programming cricket boards to compete in a Hasbro toy invention competition, and later I competed in underwater robotics, where we built everything from the robot, from the control boxes to soldering all the wires, and competed in a regional level, so I was always inclined to work in tech, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go more towards computer engineering, computer science or computer security.
To be completely honest, when it came to choosing a major in college, I did not want to attend three semesters of calculus! So I chose computer security. It was one of the best choices that I have ever made, and I fell in love with this field.
What department do you work in?
I work in the CyOC as the Director of Internal SOC Operations. I lead a very talented team of 7 full-time analysts and 1 intern. My job is to make sure that our corporate networks are secure, which is incredibly important as a cybersecurity company. We have to set the standard on security for our customers.
What is your job like? Is there a typical day or is each day different? Can you give us a basic idea of what you do and the kind of projects you work on?
Every single day is different. Some days I am working in an admin capacity for Splunk; other days I’m leading an incident response effort. My number one priority is managing my team — and some of the bigger portions of my week are spent on security engineering (running and managing various security tools for internal purposes and audit purposes), and representing the internal operations team in regard to recommending and analyzing security controls.
Rebecca, with wife Emily and their favorite pastime, Gadget.
What is the biggest challenge in your job?
My biggest challenge is just the fact that cybersecurity threats continue to become more and more advanced. As the team in charge of protecting our company, we have to stay up-to-date on emerging threats and ensure that we are monitoring and alerting properly.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I think just about everyone at this company knows that I may be a little obsessed with my dog, a 2-year-old golden lab named Gadget. So, I am either hanging out with my wife and dog, or doing something that is sports-related, especially hockey.
What’s your favorite new technology or app?
I love my new Bluetooth thermometer for grilling! Like my coworker, Billy Trobbiani, I also love to cook. And during this quarantine, I’ve rediscovered video games that were released a few years ago.