A Cybersecurity Conversation with Vince Moore – Senior Network Engineer at OPSWAT

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OPSWAT is a global leader in IT, OT and ICS critical infrastructure cybersecurity solutions.  More than 1,500 organizations worldwide spanning Financial Services, Defense, Manufacturing, Energy, Aerospace, and Transportation Systems trust OPSWAT to secure their files and devices; ensure compliance with industry and government-driven policies and regulations, and protect their reputation, finances, employees, and customers from cyber-driven disruption.

Vincent (Vince) Moore, Senior Network Engineer at OPSWAT, has dabbled in the IT field since he took computer programming classes in high school (COBOL, Fortran, GWBASIC, and Pascal). He carried this interest into the military. One of his positions was Assistant Director of Community Directorate of Information Management (CDOIM) while serving his country as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army in Rheinberg, Germany, in the late 1980s.

Also, while serving in the military, Vince was instrumental in the first successful deployment of Tactical Army Combat Service Support System (TACCS) for the US Army in the Republic of Korea. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal.

Vince has over 20 years in the computer networking field as a civilian. While working on his MIS degree at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, and going through the Cisco Networking Academy at St. Petersburg College, Vince accepted his first computer networking position with AT&T Global Networking Service as tier II support.

Vince has worked for many major corporations, including Brighthouse Networks, Verizon (Telecom & Business), Frontier Communications, Wellcare, Healthesystems, and Impulse/OPSWAT. He has extensive experience in routing and switching, network design, firewalls, cyber security, and data analysis. Vince is skilled in the maintenance and configuration of small to large networks and once owned his own business, Moore’s Networking Services. Vince’s business built many of the local doctors’ offices, car dealerships, convenience stores, etc., networking infrastructure.

Vince is a life-long learner and has several degrees – (2) AA’s, (1) BS, (1) MS, (1) MBA. Before entering the computer networking field, Vince utilized his degree in physical therapy while working in acute care and skilled nursing facilities helping patients regain their mobility and independence. He maintains a current physical therapy license and is eligible to practice in the state of Florida.

Vince is an avid traveler. During his time in the military, he traveled to many parts of the world. Some of the countries he has visited while in the military include Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Austria, France, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Japan, Philippines, Korea (S & N), Egypt, and Djibouti. As a civilian, Vince has traveled to the Caribbean, France, Italy, Greece, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrain, Qatar, Costa Rica, Mexico, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Jamaica, and others.

Vince married in 2018 and moved to Lakeland, FL, where he enjoys the quiet of the country with his wife LaWaysha and son Nathan. They share their home with three small dogs and a cat. Vince is an avid car enthusiast and is currently restoring his ’94 Toyota Supra.

We recently had the opportunity to talk to Vince Moore, and learn more about his career journey and why OPSWAT is a incredible company to build your career.

How did you get started in cybersecurity?

Computer networking goes hand in hand with cyber security. I entered computer networking over 20 years ago. Computer networking brought me into the cyber security world. I began with securing networking equipment for customers to now securing mobile devices, gaming systems, Internet of Things (“Alexa”), the work environment, social engineering, etc.

Computer networking has always had some form of protecting against risks. Those tools used to mitigate risks include perimeter defense, firewalls, security software, backups, etc. My biggest push toward Cyber Security occurred when Verizon created a Security Operations Center in Tampa. My interest led me to pursue my Master’s in Information Security and Assurance, and the rest is history.

What has been the most satisfying moment in your professional career?

Some of the most rewarding moments in my career were working for ITT Systems Division as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq in the mid-2000’s. I held a top-secret security clearance and provided network communications for deployed troops on forward and consolidated operating bases. I supported the US military and NATO allies by ensuring no loss of critical network communications – making sure data was not compromised and that troops could communicate inside and outside the wire. During these missions, I was in proximity of enemy attacks and became accustomed to hearing the sound of rocket attacks in and around the base.

Living in a 100F-120F degree sandbox, thousands of miles from home had its challenges, but I would do it again. What we did mattered; I was saving lives by keeping the “comms” up. The soldiers knew it and appreciated the work my team did to keep them safe. I still maintain friendships with some of those soldiers during that time to this very day.

What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?

Most days include reviewing customer escalations, researching the root cause, and advising on solutions. I also work with OPSWAT’s Pro Services customers to deploy OPSWAT products. I manage multiple Pro Services projects, including MetaDefender Secure Storage, Core, Vault, MetaAccess Network Access Control (NAC), and MetaSIEM.

I help to create processes and procedures relevant to OPSWAT products for the new Pro Services team, which enable them to have a blueprint for ensuring a consistent and positive customer experience.

I work with the development team to create solutions for customers with unique use cases based on the customer’s current network.

What questions do you ask during an interview?

When interviewing for a position, I generally want to know about the company’s culture, the career of the interviewer, and expectations of the role for which I have applied. I inquire about the company’s growth and plans for the future. I want to know that I’m signing on to a stable company with the potential for further growth and advancement.

Benefits are an important aspect of the job as well. In today’s environment, flexible work arrangements are more of a necessity than a benefit. This can be as important to candidates as monetary and standard benefits.

Incentives and bonus structures are important in recognizing performance and sharing in a company’s successes.

When interviewing others, I like to hear them mention points and facts about our company which lets me know they have done their homework. This shows an elevated interest in the company and the position for which they have applied.

I look for intelligence and judgment and, most critically, a capacity to anticipate, to see around corners. I also look for loyalty, integrity, a high energy drive, a balanced ego, and the drive to get things done.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

In addition to OPSWAT products, I use Visio and Lucidchart drawings to depict present and future network schemes for potential and existing customers. Drawings are provided to show how OPSWAT products will fit into their network (process/traffic flows).

I use Splunk.

Splunk is a software platform that searches, analyzes, and visualizes the machine-generated data gathered from websites, applications, sensors, devices, etc., which make up an IT infrastructure and business.

I also use a variety of other networking tools such as NMap, Ping, Traceroute, SecureCRT, and WireShark.

Over the past several months, I have been learning the data-analytic tool Splunk. I subscribed to various free tutorials and spent many nights and weekends studying this software to be able to support OPSWAT’s MetaSiem product as part of the Managed Security Services offering.

I love that OPSWAT products encompass all of a business’s cybersecurity needs. I love Splunk’s ability to gather data in almost any format and parse it into something usable.

Which business leader do you consider to be your greatest example and inspiration?  Why?

I do not have any business leaders that have left a mark on me per se. I have gotten inspiration from various religious, political, and social leaders.

Erich Fromm was a German-born American psychoanalyst and social philosopher who explored the interaction between psychology and society. Fromm was born in 1900 and was a German Jew who fled the Nazi regime to the US. He was known for developing the concept that freedom was a fundamental part of human nature.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem, which he has to solve.”

“Capitalism puts things higher than life. Power follows from possession, not activity.”

“The psychic task which a person can and must set for himself is not to feel secure but to be able to tolerate insecurity.”

Fromm resonates with me because I believe Fromm was a realist and told things as they were. I have read articles and books and done research papers on Fromm. Fromm suggested that people develop certain personality styles or strategies in order to deal with the anxiety and feelings of isolation which is prevalent in today’s society.

Why is Tampa emerging as a leading start-up city?

Tampa has emerged as a technical hub in central Florida, boasting one-quarter of Florida’s tech jobs.

Tampa’s cost of living, technical schools, (no) state taxes, and weather create a great environment for drawing technical companies and talent to the area.

How has the shift to remote working and remote learning impacted cybersecurity?

Having the ability to work remotely has become a societal norm. Flexibility is as important, if not more important, than standard benefits. Being in the technology field, this is even more expected than in other fields. With customers in different parts of the country and world, there really is no reason not to offer remote work.

Some may not have come full circle with the benefits remote work offers, such as reduced real estate costs, employee satisfaction, and improved productivity and retention. Occasionally, managers may feel productivity is greater when employees are working onsite. Studies have shown the opposite is true of most employees. If productivity is a concern, that, in my opinion, is best handled as a management issue with the affected individuals.

In today’s pandemic environment, working remotely has become normal in many businesses where it was not previously. This showed us new ways of conducting business while keeping employees safer.

Now when it comes to cybersecurity. One of the biggest issues is data leaking, visibility of user activities, and maintaining compliance. You are completely relying on the user to protect the company’s data and assets.

More creative ways, along with software, need to be utilized to adhere to compliance.

How do you handle difficult clients, customers, or coworkers?

As hard as we try, sometimes we do have upset customers. I believe that one of the best cures is setting correct expectations from the beginning – deliver what you are capable of and deliver it on time. One of the most difficult conversations to have with a customer is letting them know you cannot deliver something that was promised. It is better to under-promise and over-deliver than the reverse.

I do my best to find solutions to customer problems to avoid having to have these types of conversations. I am very patient and empathetic and do my best to explain technical situations at a level of understanding that matches the audience.

What recommendations do you have for individuals to help protect against cybersecurity-related risks?

Remote work and ever-evolving hacking have opened corporations up to increased cyber-attacks. Some of the best ways to prevent this are through employee education via teaching users not to engage in activities that invite cyberattacks.

Attack invites such as clicking on unknown links in emails, not installing and/or downloading unrecognized software, using the same password for everything, and sharing secret business information with people outside of your organization.

Cyber security is everyone’s job, not just security professionals. It is much easier to prevent a problem than to fix one afterwards.

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