Vets - Good for InfoSec, Great for Critical Insight

The author Drex DeFord is a Veteran, former Hospital CIO, and now Executive Healthcare Strategist for Critical Insight.  

I know, I know… I’m biased. I’m a 20-year retired Air Force Vet. An Indiana farm kid who didn’t have money to go to college, enlisted in the Air Force, went to college at night, and was eventually commissioned as an officer.

Of course there’s no way to paint everyone who’s served with the same brush, but there does seem to be some generalizable assumptions I’ve been able to make about most ex-military – they have learned skills and traits that fall into three major buckets:

  1. Service: They’re mission-focused and adaptable – from the first day of basic training, they are exposed to the importance of teamwork: that is, how and why things get done better, faster, cheaper, and safer, together. It is natural for them to be in service to their teammates and their customers. And when something doesn’t go exactly right, they are experts at high-speed problem solving, communicating the adjustments, and staying focused. They get the job done. 

  2. Integrity: They’re honest, and that trait is ingrained in them from the start. All of them have been through some type of formal leadership training grounded in the concept of, “always do what’s right.” As a result, integrity is not only a key trait for them but something they expect from everyone around them. And since they’ve already served in one of the most diverse companies in the world, they know full-well that diversity is a force-multiplier, not a weakness – they actively seek out those with different experiences and backgrounds as a way to eliminate blind spots while building bomb-proof plans and processes.

    And with integrity and diversity comes loyalty: they’re committed to the organizations they work for, and generally that means they often have a longer tenure than other non-ex-military employees.

  3. Excellence: They reliably pursue excellence in a structured way – they understand the reason for policy and work-standards, and they adapt to them quickly. Sure, they may poke a little fun at the rules from time to time, but that’s nearly always their way of driving improvement and performance excellence. And while process and discipline are critical to success in any business, I’ve found these people to be infinitely adaptable, and “comfortable with their uncomfortableness” with an ability to succeed in extremely dynamic and stressful situations.

Prioritizing Veterans for Civilian Jobs in InfoSec

As Chief Information Officer and CEO making buying/partnering decisions for my previous companies, it’s a question I always ask a potential vendor: How are you doing with Vets?

When I asked Critical Insight this question, they had a great answer. They intentionally pursue Vets in transition to civilian jobs in information security. Their employee deck is already stacked with incredible talent from every military branch. Critical Insight even received a commendation from The Washington State Adjutant General (TAG) for efforts in hiring Veterans. This makes me not only proud - but confident - in Critical Insight’s ability to deliver on their mission is to protect and defend critical infrastructure that’s vital to the health of patients, families, and the communities in which they live.

And it makes it easy for me to be an independent voice inside one of the fastest-growing healthcare cybersecurity teams in our business.

Critical Insight’s strength comes from a great team, peppered with Vets, all committed to service, integrity, and excellence.

Thanks to the entire team, and a special shout out to Critical Insight’s Vets.

Drex DeFord, Healthcare Executive Strategist
US Air Force

Joyce Hawkins, Critical Insight Success Manager
US Army

Jeremy Johnson, Director, Adversary Replication & Detection in Technology Delivery
US Marine Corps

Michael Melanson, Critical Insight SOC Manager
US Coast Guard