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Brite Spotlight: Meet Jaime and Brian (Security Co-op Edition)

Happy Cybersecurity Awareness Month! While we spend the month empowering all individuals with the tips and skills to #BeCyberSmart, this week’s theme is Explore. Experience. Share. The theme highlights cybersecurity careers and builds awareness around what they do. Today, we want to introduce you to two of Brite’s security co-ops to share their experience and entrance into the world of cybersecurity.

Jaime and Brian were part of the Summer ’21 co-op group in Brite’s Security Operations Center (SOC) working on a team with security analysts actively monitoring and managing clients’ security environments. Since Brian accepted a full-time role as a security analyst and Jaime is continuing her co-op through the fall semester as she continues her studies at RIT.

They can tell you about it better than we can, so let’s hear from Jaime and Brian…

What is your favorite part about being a security analyst at Brite?

Jaime Campanelli

Jaime: The resources and projects I have been working on are very interesting and cool.

Brian: I get to be a part of a program that’s growing at a fast pace and be a part of the process for creating new capabilities and security features. I also get to work with the best people at the best company every day!

What is the top takeaway that you learned during your co-op?

Jaime: “Good Enough is Never Enough” and how important it is to collaborate with others to ensure security and privacy.

Brian: I got to learn the ins and outs of our services and develop playbooks for responding to security events that I got to build on in new client relationships when I

moved into a full-time role on the SOC team.

Did anything surprise you?

Jaime: How attackers can disguise any malicious activity as many different things. In addition to how in-depth everything needs to be analyzed to make sure it is not malicious.

Brian: The many ways in which attacks can start and how quickly everything changes in tactics and techniques. Taking these changes and creating new detections and monitoring is a constant thing that being in the thick of it shows you.

The coolest project you worked on?

Brian Bullis

Jaime: Setting up honey users and deploying a deception sensor.

Brian: Our ongoing automation efforts and improvements allow me to work on cool scripting projects that improve the efficiency of our processes and allow us to spend more time looking at real security events and fewer false positives.

How have your studies translated into your work?

Jaime: My studies have translated into my work greatly. A good amount of information I learned at RIT in lectures or projects has been directly related to the work I have been doing here.

Brian: My classes at RIT prepared me for the real-world SOC work we do every day. I learned a lot about cyberattacks and defense, networking and forensics that come in handy everyday investigations of security events.

What’s your dream cybersecurity job?

Jaime: Working as a Security Director or a related position in a government agency or contractor.

Brian: I’d love to learn more about penetration testing and ethical hacking so that I can look at things from an attacker’s perspective and improve defense capabilities for the good guys.

Thanks to Jaime and Brian for giving us a BTS look into their experience as security co-ops. We wish you the best of luck in your studies and careers. If you want to learn more about security analyst roles, Nick and Sean also shared their insight here.

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Finding the Right IT Support After Four Failed Providers

Challenge: IT Support

After four different managed service providers, a New York City business solutions firm was unhappy with the level of service and support needed to meet its growing list of IT needs. Coupled with the pressing need for an active security approach, the firm set out once again to find a suitable managed service provider.   

The Battle for IT Support and Service

The battle began after realizing that the one-person in-house IT department was not sufficient for the growing, multi-city organization. Chaotic, ill-planned, unsupported – is how one could describe the IT history of Sharp Decisions. The company then made the decision to outsource IT to a provider.  

“When we were doing it ourselves, everything was inconsistent. There was no documentation. Every computer was set up differently,” Stuart Gottlieb, Chief Financial Officer at Sharp Decisions commented. “On top of that, there was only one person handling it, including the security and the server room. It was not comfortable.”  

From there, the failed relationships with four different providers ensued. The silver lining is that each experience gave the Sharp Decisions team more insight into the criteria and desired outcomes from a provider – timely customer service, enhanced cybersecurity and proactive planning were at the top of the list. Ultimately, found those in a partnership with Brite and its BriteStar service. 

Gottlieb recalled, “The BriteStar service was attractive because it could manage all our assets [from cradle to grave], including the purchasing, configuration and set up in a consistent, reliable manner. The service part has worked out great. With other providers, we experienced calling the service desk and no one getting back for two or more hours. With Brite, I very rarely hear a complaint.” 

After the initial hardware and service expectations met, the relationship quickly developed and Sharp Decisions has been able to tackle the internal strategic projects it never could before.  

“We finally moved our accounting system into the cloud, so we’re eons better than where we were,” Gottlieb said. “We’re in the cloud, we’re backed up. We’re upgraded to the latest version, after being eight years behind. That’s a big win for us.” 

 As for why the company waited to do the project, Gottlieb shared, “We never really had the faith in the last provider that we would actually be comfortable doing it.” 

The battle was won once the company made the decision to work fully remote and experienced a seamless transition.  

“The simple fact that everything was in place, and we were up and running was a huge home run. We didn’t have to worry about anyone being in the office for five months,” Gottlieb said.  

Now, with the core IT support and management needs met Sharp Decisions and Brite will continue to evolve the overall IT approach.  

The Need for Security 

During the initial search for a new provider, the requirement of cybersecurity services was a major requirement. Increasing pressure from Fortune 1000 clients to meet third-party compliance standards prioritized the need for increased security operations and support. After an initial security assessment, it was clear that Sharp Decisions had an immediate need for advanced managed cybersecurity. BriteProtect, Brite’s comprehensive managed security service, separated Brite from the competition 

“Based on our preliminary assessment, built from industry-standard frameworks, we were able to understand Sharp Decisions initial status and build a roadmap to security maturity.” Trevor Smith, EVP at Brite explained. “This planning phase helped prioritize the implement and optimize necessary security tools, improving security posture as well as meeting the compliance requirements.” 

“Clients want to make sure that our systems are backed up properly. They want to confirm that we’re using encryption, firewalls, a valid disaster recovery plan,” Gottlieb shared. “All these things are in place and documented. That is huge since we’ve never had it before.” 

While the client compliance drove the cybersecurity initiative, Sharp Decisions continues to work with Brite to enhance cybersecurity for a comprehensive approach. Monthly calls allow for communication on metrics and remediated situations, as well as continued planning for user awareness training and other projects.  

“And now we don’t worry” 

Gottlieb summarized the journey, “We are confident security-wise. I feel 100% supported from a customer service aspect. My employees feel it because it flows. And the assistance we got during the transition and then the lack of issues we had during COVID was perfect. So, you know, we’re happy clients.” 

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