Doug Bryant, Jr. is somewhat of a professional rarity—he’s a cybersecurity IT professional and he’s African American.
Bryant weighed in on the Apple/FBI battle and other matters of cybersecurity of which the black community should be aware. This is part one of a two-part interview with Bryant.
According to The International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP), African Americans make up only 6% of the STEM workforce, despite comprising 11% of the total U.S. workforce.
The number of minorities in cybersecurity is even lower. A shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals in the United States is predicted to grow to 1.5 million by 2019, said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee at a recent ICMCP event.
In addition to a B.A.Sc (bachelor of applied science, computer systems networking and telecommunications), Bryant holds several top cybersecurity certifications, including CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker), CHFI (Certified Hacking Forensic Investigator), SSCP (Systems Security Certified Practitioner), and Security +.
BlackEnterprise.com: What are some of your day-to-day duties as a cybersecurity professional?
Bryant: I work at Black Knight Financial Services. I am 3rd level for security [support], I serve as a mentor and we handle more complex security issues. I can do server investigations; if a user gets malware—look into logs forensically, and see what’s going on; I do firewall reviews. Currently, I am looking at all the traffic coming from our network to see if any of the traffic is going to malicious sites, and I monitor ports.
How long have you been in cybersecurity?
I’ve been in it since 2009. I started in the military; I used to be in the National Guard. I’ve been in IT for 10 years.
What is your take, and other cybersecurity professionals’ take, on the Apple/FBI fight?
It seems as though [the FBI] wants to get into the phone to get whatever info the terrorists had. It’s kind of like Mom in the middle of two siblings—Apple wants to protect [its] reputation and it is still possible to start a mandate: ‘Now we can do this phone, then this one…and so on….’
Is it possible to crack open the phone on a non-connected, closed network and then reduce the fear of anyone obtaining Apple’s code to unlock other iPhones?
Yes, it’s possible to crack it open, take it off the network; do forensics on it…but Tim Cook and Apple are more worried about their reputation.
What are some of the biggest cybersecurity mistakes businesses make?
The technology. [If you] have a certain IDS (Intrusion Detection System) that isn’t performing as well as it should—you may not be using it to its full potential. Not having the efficient technology to catch things. Also, a lack of training. I’m a person who likes to keep learning. If you have a manager who does not have [that] same value, that can really stunt your growth.
Catch Part 2 of the interview tomorrow and also follow Doug Bryant, Jr.’s blog on technology and security: Should Computer Science Education Cover More Than Coding?
Stay tuned for Part 2 coming this weekend.