24 May Blackstone CISO On Coffee, Technology, And The Future Of Cybersecurity
How to recruit and retain the next generation of cyber fighters
Northport, N.Y. – May 24, 2019
If a BISO is a cross between a Barista and a CISO, then that’s Adam Fletcher. He has about 10 different ways to make coffee.
“I’m always trying to get a better cup than the previous one,” says Fletcher, managing director and CISO at The Blackstone Group. “It’s kind of a passion of mine.”
This passion —always seeking for the perfect solution — carries over into his professional career, whether that’s through his role as a CISO, solving the employment gap, or giving back to the community.
“I was always involved in technology,” says Fletcher. “My dad always had a computer, even when they were essentially suitcases that you had to lug around with a handle and a keyboard that fit into the giant box.”
From these early days, experimenting with technology, to working at a Mac help desk in college, Fletcher transitioned into cybersecurity through a friend’s suggestion to work with him at a new company. He jumped into the position, even though he knew nothing about the field, and climbed his way to the top.
That initial move provided a slew of opportunities. He spent some time in Rio de Janeiro, building a SOC for Internet Security Systems, which was one of the early and very successful intrusion detection companies and Incident Response.
Fletcher is a founding member of Security Advisor Alliance, which was created in 2013 as a way for the cybersecurity community to come together and solve some of the key issues in the field. Since then, the organization has moved toward educating the next generation of cybersecurity leaders and providing its services to municipalities and nonprofit organizations that may not have the funds to invest in prevention.
“My team at Blackstone partnered with the Security Adviser Alliance a couple of months ago to host about a hundred students from a Brooklyn school at Microsoft’s headquarters in New York,” says Fletcher. “We ran through a capture the flag program to show them some interesting security techniques and we talked to them about careers in cybersecurity and how they might be able to follow those.”
The cybersecurity field is expected to have a shortfall of 3.5 million positions by 2021, according to research from Cybersecurity Ventures. Fletcher has some thoughts about recruiting, training, and retaining top talent in the field through the increase of cloud technologies.
“I started my career when people didn’t have firewalls. Everybody had an opportunity to learn,” says Fletcher. “Now we have this new phase where most companies are moving into the cloud. While the fundamental principles haven’t changed, we have an opportunity to give our teams the ability to learn new skills that will probably carry them in their careers for the next 10 to 15 to 20 years. I think that’s a huge part of retention also.”
Fletcher’s career coincided with the progress of cybersecurity technology, from the early days of suitcase computers to building some of the first firewalls to the future of cloud technologies and IoT devices. The ability to evolve and grow is essential to career success — and Fletcher embodies this ethos.
– Steven T. Kroll is a public relations specialist and staff writer at Cybercrime Magazine.
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