This month, we chose to recognize a new member of our community, @cyberdojoninja. He just joined last week, so what better time to give him the spotlight so y’all can get to know him? His years of experience as an expert in cybersecurity are sure to come in handy when helping out others in the forum. Let’s give him a warm Meraki welcome!
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I’m a cybersecurity subject matter expert. I have almost 15 years of experience working in public private sector, small business, medium business, enterprise environments… basically consulting on cybersecurity, infrastructure, defense, offense, implementation and integrations. That’s pretty much me in a nutshell! Yes, there are constant changes in the security industry. I tell people there’s great job security if you’re good at what you do.
What motivated you to join the Meraki Community and what are you hoping to get out of your experience here?
I’ve been around Cisco for years, since back in the ‘90s when the Cisco Networking Academy came around. I kind of ventured away from it for a bit. I joined the military and served there, and then once I got out, I came back into IT. That’s when I found out about Cisco Meraki. I liked the ease of use and how easy it was to implement, regardless of how big or how small your environment is. That’s the great performance and the great product line that Cisco offers. Joining the Meraki Community allows me to tap into those resources and tap into those subject matter experts who have already either been doing it, looking forward to doing it, and just are in it to just share knowledge and gain knowledge.
Any Meraki product / feature that you’re particularly fond of or couldn’t live without?
The cloud features, so how to monitor your network, getting alerts on the go so you don’t have to necessarily be right there. That feature alone allows us to work remotely, implement things remotely, see system outages, schedule system upgrades or anything like that remotely. That cloud offering and capability allows people like myself to be able to manage multiple sites at the same time. I came from [a competitor], so that was one of the things I implemented at a lot of customer sites in the beginning. I don’t know if you’re familiar with them, but they’re not really as reliable as they can be. When they work, they work great. When they don’t work, all hell breaks loose. You’re in there pulling up the backup, hopefully that backup restores, and then if it doesn’t you have to mess around and basically reinstall those devices all over again. It’s fine if you’re at somebody’s house and there’s four or five devices. It really sucks if you're in an environment that has 200 devices and you have to redo everything. When I looked at Cisco Meraki, specifically Meraki Go, for some of my small clients, it was like a perfect solution. It’s around about the same price, and backed with that Cisco reputation that they have as great networking equipment, security and industry standards that a lot of people follow.
What’s your advice to folks looking to move to the next level in their Meraki / networking knowledge?
I would say anybody just trying to get into that or take their skills to the next level just have a willingness to learn, a willingness to be tenacious when it comes to training and finding out different knowledge and those things. Basically, being an open person that is willing to talk and network. The good thing about the IT community nowadays versus when I came in, it was like a nascent kept secret to even break into the IT field whereas now there are so many different resources that allow you to learn, to implement, and even if you have issues or troubles, you can find answers at the palm of your hand.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m an avid motorcycle rider. It gives me that freedom. I love riding bikes. I love the outdoors. I also am a competitive shooter as well. Other things that I like to do are build things, fix things, , work on things. Pretty much if it’s outside, I’m there. I haven’t built anything in a long time. The last thing I wanna say I built was my granddaughter’s trampoline.
Anything else you’d like to share? What about the state of cybersecurity today?
In my opinion, cybersecurity is definitely a must have no matter how big, how small, if you think something may happen, if you don’t think something may happen… A good cybersecurity posture is much needed. I don’t care if you’ve been in business for 40 years or for 40 minutes, if you don't have a good cybersecurity posture implemented, you won’t last. Especially with all of the new policies coming out that you have to adhere to, and especially if you take any sort of payments. Implementing those PCI standards, learning how to do audits, even getting audits, you have to make sure you build on that because those sorts of compliances are the first things businesses are going to look at to say, “Hey, let me make sure these people are SOC1 or SOC2 compliant, do they have ISO standards in place?” Those things like that are going to be very important. If you’re a business or a consumer, or even just a regular individual who is thinking about securing your data, you have to make sure that those things are at the forefront of any decisions you’re making in this digital age.
Be aware of your surroundings. Practice good cyber hygiene. If you’re going on Facebook, YouTube, or just checking your email, understand where you’re at and what you're connecting to. Know the signs of something bad. If there’s free WiFi, using it may come with a risk. Understand how to implement and use VPNs, two-factor authentication, and change your passwords regularly. Develop a good cyber hygiene. Nothing is 100% sure, but at least it gives you an extra layer of protection. No one wants their information out there, no one wants to mess around and end up getting in a breach. It’s embarrassing, and sometimes nowadays it costs a lot of money to clear your name, especially if something happens like that. Just practice and get you a good cyber hygiene, a good posture, and follow it to the letter.