Marshall Gaines knows that to be successful in cyber, you need to “change with the times.” After leaving a successful radio/satellite communications career with the US Army, SecureStrux’s Lead Cybersecurity Analyst and Facility Security Officer (FSO) followed his instinct and chose computers over telecommunications. After learning the basics in a commercial environment, Marshall’s military background brought him back to serve as a civilian support provider with US Air Force in network configuration management, and later with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) cyber command.
“You can’t do things the way they have always been done in cyber,” says Marshall. “You are going to be vulnerable and destined to be attacked in the cyber world.” Along the way, Marshall demonstrated an ability to be a self-proclaimed jack of all trades, and found that people are the critical issue in cyber defense. “When you do a job, do it right the first time,” he says of noting gaps in securing critical infrastructure. Marshall has been recognized for his work on projects around the world and developed the Releasable Network (REL) process guide that DISA uses to assist their inspectors in the conducting inspections of REL environments throughout the DOD.
Marshall’s extensive and varied area of cyber expertise gives him an edge in being the Team Lead and technical reviewer for the inspection of a wide array of static local systems and dynamic mobile networks. “I would think that we are prepared for anything but with anything that is done, there is always room for improvement… Now it’s just a matter of adapting to the changes in cybersecurity as they come,” he says.
To build their ranks with greater diversity in cyber and tech, Marshall encourages businesses to take a broader look, “fill your ranks with people from all different areas in the cyber community.” He’s quick to talk up the virtues of a cyber career and even persuaded his brother-in-law, a former tow-truck driver, to leave his fledgling electrician training in fiber optics for a start in information technology and cyber in Birmingham, Alabama. “My father said education and knowledge is the key to any job that you do and when you do a job, do it to the best of your abilities.” He continues, “I talk up cyber to every young person looking for a career.”
This accomplished cyber expert isn’t stopping anytime soon in honing his skills, and reinforces the idea that “cyber is not going away.” He applauds organizations like Cyber Warrior that support military veterans in earning their cyber-related certifications, and credits SecureStrux for providing him with opportunities that he would have never considered. “I love what I do in trying to ensure DOD is secure from the common threats it takes on every day… Cyber is our future, come join us for the ride!”
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