Name: George McPherson
Title: Information Security Analyst
Employer: Duke Energy
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Degree: Currently working towards Associates Degree in "Cyber Security"
Years in IT: 4 Years
Years in information security: 3 Years
Cybersecurity certifications: SSCP, Security+, MTA Security
How did you decide upon a career in cybersecurity?
When I first entered IT and started sitting for IT certifications I noticed that when I received my score report, I would always score the highest on security-related questions. When reflecting on this revelation, I realized that I also got excited about security and investigating security-related issues.
Why did you get your SSCP®?
I sat for the SSCP to gain a deeper understanding of information security, as well as bring more expertise to my role as an information security engineer at a large healthcare organization where I was employed. I also wanted to be more marketable as a security professional.
What is a typical day like for you?
In my current role, I am a cyber security analyst working in a cyber security operations center (CSOC) for one of the largest energy utilities in the United States. A typical day consists of a lot of hunting, looking at logs, and analyzing suspicious activities on the network. It's a lot of cat and mouse games, chasing the potential hackers - or better yet staying one or two steps ahead of them.
Can you tell us about a personal career highlight?
One day I will never forget was particularly stressful, but also rewarding. We had some security appliances go down, causing slow to no traffic on our email system. I was running point as the junior engineer on our team, and we had the vendor on the phone walking me through some CLI commands to re-mediate the issue. Our CISO was hovering nervously, but I kept cool and rolled up my sleeves (figuratively speaking of course). After the smoke cleared, and all was well, I received an email from my CISO copying my manager saying “Job well done.”
How has the SSCP certification helped you in your career?
The SSCP certification has helped my career tremendously. When I apply for different security roles, recruiters always tell me how impressed they are with my credentials - mainly my SSCP. My resume seems to be put at the top of the stack, when before it was kind of tough to even get a phone call.
What is the most useful advice you have for other information security professionals?
Keep a positive attitude, and continue learning! Crave knowledge, and seek it as often as possible. Embrace collaboration with other information security professionals, as it can be a wonderful way to challenge your security skills and elevate to a higher level. Give back as often as possible, teach, mentor, or donate to information security. With the lack of information security professionals, mentoring is crucial to the progression of our field.
For more information on the Systems Security Certified Practitioner certification, download our Ultimate Guide to the SSCP.