Author Archives: Alexa Magdalenski

Democratization of AI: A Transformative Force

March 8th, 2018 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Capital Data Summit - (Comments Off)

The second annual Capital Data Summit took place on Feb. 28, 2018 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. Over the upcoming weeks, we’ll be sharing original content, video and photos from the event.


Advanced Analytics panelArtificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics are transforming every field today and solving real world problems in energy management, home-care, crime reduction, and more. The Summit’s Opportunities, Challenges and Future Trends in Advanced Analytics panel discussed how the democratization of artificial intelligence has resulted in new intelligent applications that are altering business processes and engaging various stakeholders in new ways.

Panelists included Microsoft Data Solution Architect Arief Bavan, Digital Reasoning Chief Analytics Officer Dr. Uday Kamath, Virginia Tech Computer Science and Discovery Analytics Center Research Associate Nathan Self, and Virginia Tech Associate Professor of Business Information Technology, Pamplin College of Business, Dr. Onur Seref. ATA, LLC CTO John Eberhardt III moderated.

Here are some of the valuable points that emerged from this discussion:

  • Open source data enables strong engagement from universities and the future tech workforce in the analytics field
  • Collaboration is surpassing competition in data analytics and that provides huge business value and exciting innovation that will impact every industry
  • Fully embracing AI requires a cultural change within organizations; it’s a journey

View full video from the panel below!

Stay tuned for more Capital Data Summit content here on the blog and check out the 2018 Summit photo gallery!

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In 2017, more than 20 NVTC member companies joined forces in NVTC’s Tech Talent Employer Collaborative (TTEC) to address their technology workforce needs associated with two specific positions: cybersecurity engineers and software developers. NVTC staff facilitated a series of meetings and activities, applying a proven supply chain management best practice-based methodology to help drive the development of a regional workforce with the skills our tech employers need.

2017 TTEC accomplishments include:

  • Forecasting of talent demands for both positions
  • Establishing a shared set of competencies and requirements
  • Analyzing the major sources of this talent and talent flows
  • Identifying local Preferred Talent Providers

NVTC is excited to announce the continuation of the TTEC and its expansion, both in focus and participation. In 2018, the TTEC will continue its work, adding data analytics and network infrastructure while maintaining focus on cybersecurity and software development. The goal is to assist participating tech employers by increasing the number of qualified candidates to fill open positions in the region.

Can your company benefit from networking and strategizing with other local companies to produce improved workforce results?

HR/talent acquisition leaders knowledgeable about their organization’s current human capital demand and future needs are invited to join our kickoff meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 5, 2018 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Tysons Corner.

For more information about our Employer Collaborative and meeting details, email NVTC Research and Strategic Initiatives Manager John Shaw.

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Deep Learning: A Silver Bullet?

March 2nd, 2018 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Titans - (Comments Off)

On Jan. 31, more than 400 members of the region’s technology community gathered to discuss the promises and pitfalls of deep learning at NVTC’s Titans event featuring Intel’s Chief Data Scientist, Public Sector, Americas Melvin Greer and Deep Learning Analytics’ Managing Partner and Data Scientist Dr. John KaufholdDr. Ravi Pappu, Chief Architect of In-Q-Tel, moderated.

Kicking off the event, Dr. Pappu shared the history of deep learning and described how it is becoming more accessible for businesses of all types. He highlighted enablers of deep learning, such as algorithms, data, hardware and talent, as well as pitfalls such as errors, bias and transparency.

Kaufhold and Greer emphasized how deep learning is enabling businesses across every sector to solve important problems more efficiently and more cost-effectively. Greer highlighted the importance of marrying the right algorithms, data and hardware to the problem a business is trying to solve. Kaufhold expressed his belief that, if you have the data, AI and deep learning can be applied to almost any problem to make the process cheaper or faster. The panel also highlighted some of the latest advancements being driven by deep learning, including personalized medicine, cyber intelligence, autonomous vehicles and speech recognition.

The panelists pinpointed some of the impediments that exist today in harnessing the full power of deep learning. Kaufhold expressed his belief that talent and data are the critical gatekeepers for successful applications. Greer agreed that having clean data that is appropriately labeled is crucial and can be the heavy lifting in any deep learning effort. Greer also noted the legal, ethical and societal challenges of deep learning. Both called attention to the widening data science talent gap, the slow adoption of advanced data science curriculum in higher education and how this is posing significant challenges to deep learning advancements and adoption.

Check out video highlights from the event!

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How to Make Sense of All that Data

February 20th, 2018 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Capital Data Summit | Guest Blogs | Member Blog Posts - (Comments Off)

By Nathan Self, Research Associate, Department of Computer Science, and faculty at Discovery Analytics Center, Virginia Tech. Self will be participating on the Opportunities, Challenges and Future Trends in Advanced Analytics panel at the second annual Capital Data Summit on Feb. 28, 2018.

VT DAC 2Imagine your biggest spreadsheet. Too many rows and columns to take in at once. At the Discovery Analytics Center (DAC) at Virginia Tech we are interested in how humans and machines can work together to make sense out of all that data. Andromeda is an example of how analysts can combine sophisticated machine learning algorithms with interactive visualization to get insights from their data.

Let’s assume that your enormous spreadsheet has a row for every customer and a column for every statistic you keep about each customer. Andromeda draws a scatterplot in which each point represents a customer. Points that are close to each other represent rows that are similar to each other. Likewise, distant points represent dissimilar rows. To begin with, Andromeda assumes that each column is equally important.

This is where the human aspect comes in. You know what the data actually represents and you can interact with Andromeda in two ways. You can either (1) change the importance of a column. The points of the scatterplot will regroup to preserve the “near is similar” constraint. Or, (2) you can reach right into the scatterplot and move points closer or farther from each other and Andromeda will compute which columns have to be important for them to be considered similar.

Andromeda, with new algorithms and new paradigms of user-algorithm interaction,  serves as a good example that complex statistical methods do not necessitate complex user interfaces or expert users. The selling point of Andromeda is that you don’t have to know that Andromeda uses an algorithm called weighted multidimensional scaling to lay out the scatterplot. You don’t have to know that data scientists at DAC developed inverse multidimensional scaling to handle interacting with the points. In fact, users have effectively generated insights despite having no experience with these, or similar, algorithms. And, their insights are more complex than when they use spreadsheets alone.

There are countless pivotal statistical processes that are well-suited and useful for current data analysis needs. Any of these would be well-served by intuitive interfaces for people that are not experts in statistics.

There is an adage that the same statistics can be used to justify either side of an argument. Machine learning has the same malleability. Understanding exactly what a machine learning tool like Andromeda can do for you — as well as its limitations — is important for deciding what to do with its outputs.

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Chip Vulnerabilities: Protecting Your Data

February 1st, 2018 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Cybersecurity | Guest Blogs | Member Blog Posts - (Comments Off)

The chip vulnerabilities announced two weeks ago affect almost every single PC, Mac, laptop, tablet, and smartphone created in the last 20 years. Passwords, personal information and any secure information on a device are at risk.

LMILogoHow It Works
This malware affects the “kernel” or core of the operating system, which acts as a bridge between the hardware and software of a machine. The core handles everything from typing and clicking to opening and running applications like web browsers and Microsoft Outlook. The core provides each process with the resources it needs to function and keeps the processes isolated.

When exploited, this security flaw allows an attacker to subvert this isolation and read all of the protected data on a computer. These data could include anything from passwords to personally identifiable information from your tax program. These attacks can be especially damaging for cloud services because they run shared setups where users share hardware but are isolated by software. By hacking one user’s cloud instance, hackers can use these security flaws to see all the data on the shared hardware. Fortunately, the security flaw is difficult to exploit, and attackers must compromise a machine before they can exploit these chip vulnerabilities.

Cyber security concept.What’s Being Done?
Companies like Intel, Apple, Google, and Microsoft have released patches to defend against these security flaws. The patches further isolate the core’s memory but may degrade performance by as much as 30 percent. Most vendors report that general computer users will not see such a large decrease in performance.

LMI is implementing a remediation plan to patch all vulnerable systems. We will test the patches against a pilot group of machines before releasing them to the rest of the organizational ecosystem. This will allow our team to identify and address potential issues with the patches to maintain LMI operations as the patches are implemented.

To protect your personal systems, install patches and operating system updates as soon as they are released, and make sure your web browsers are up to date. Most browsers automatically update, but it is beneficial to verify that they have been patched.

Looking Ahead
As an organization directly involved in the cyber space, LMI is aware that security flaws and exploits will continue to be a concern. This specific cyber scare is far less concerning than the number of security vulnerabilities we saw in 2017. We expect to see even more vulnerabilities in 2018 because of the evolving nature of hackers and the spread of far-reaching security flaws. Our team will continue to adapt to the ever-changing cyber threat landscape as threat actors change their tools and techniques.


Jonathan Stammler is the Information Security Manager for the Enterprise Technology Services group at LMI. He received an MS in information security from Georgia Institute of Technology and a BS in information technology from George Mason University. If you’d like more information on how LMI can assist your organization with its cybersecurity needs, please email Jonathan.

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Rob Carey of GDIT Talks About the Importance of Practical Experience in Cybersecurity

January 31st, 2018 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in CyberCapital - (Comments Off)

CFO Awards17 Web Graphic

By Renee Brown Small, CEO, Cyber Human Capital, and Contributing Editor, CyberCapital.us Blog

“You don’t have the ability to make sound decisions until you’ve had some experience under your belt.” – Rob Carey, Vice President, Cybersecurity, Cloud and UC Solutions, General Dynamics Information Technology

Carey v2Some of the questions fresh graduates who want to enter into cybersecurity are: “Where should I start?” and “What’s the best experience I can get?” Rob Carey of General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) addresses these questions and gives further insight into what he, and those like him, look for in future cybersecurity professionals.

Rob Carey started in the United States Navy as an undersea weapons systems engineer before he was transferred to the Department Navy’s Chief Information Officer office, where one of his first jobs was to roll out smart cards. He became the CIO himself in 2006, held the post of principal deputy chief information officer from 2010 until his retirement in 2014, and at present is the vice president of Cybersecurity, Cloud and Unified Communications Solutions within the Global Solutions Division of GDIT. As such, he is presently concerned with a wide range of cybersecurity concerns.

Rob remarks that part of his present work involves cloud computing, particularly where cybersecurity affects those using cloud computing. As an example, Rob remarks that, while accessing a commercial cloud computing environment from a government location and then doing what one needs to get done in that environment may sound simple, but the reality is that it is not. In addition, Rob is presently setting up a lab designed to evaluate various cyber tools and determine how well these work in a given environment, allowing GDIT to propose solutions to the government, rather than merely riding on what is already commercially available.

When asked who are the best candidates for his team, Rob looks at a candidate’s experience level. His people are very much in touch with present technologies and know how security operation centers operate. Rob notes that the best person for the job isn’t necessarily the candidate with a Master’s degree in electrical engineering, but could be someone who has a particular approach to solving the problem at hand and who has some technical knowledge of cyber. A candidate having real-world experience is very important to him and his team, as it is those kinds of security professionals who understand how things work in the real world. He notes that he is looking for people who have had experience in security operations centers, as the actual hands-on experience gained from working there is necessary for designing systems, which is a part of what his department handles.

Along with running his department, Rob is presently doing his part in helping the next generation of cybersecurity professionals gain practical experience, as he is sponsoring half a dozen senior students at George Mason University, helping them out with a class project that involves creating a framework to work on a cybersecurity matrix and to evaluate cybersecurity.

At present, GDIT is looking to expand as it changes the way it engages its customers, both in the United States government and in the cyber industry, and Rob notes that being part of the growing team that he’s presently handling would be a great opportunity.


Renee Brown Small is the author of Magnetic Hiring: Your Company’s Secret Weapon to Attracting Top Cyber Security Talent and CEO of Cyber Human Capital, an HR consultancy that specializes in innovative ways companies hire and keep cybersecurity talent. Download a free copy of her book here. Brown Small is contributing editor of the CyberCapital.us blog.

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NVTC’s Veterans Employment Initiative Deepens Its Impact in 2017

January 25th, 2018 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Veterans | Veterans Employment Initiative - (Comments Off)

VEI Logo Sized9,000.

That is the number of Veterans hired by NVTC companies since the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative was launched in 2013.

Going into its fifth year, the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative (VEI) continues to expand its impact. The VEI connects Veterans and military spouses to employment opportunities within Virginia’s technology community and provides support to NVTC member companies in their efforts to recruit, hire, train and retain qualified Veteran employees.

As we look ahead to 2018, join us in celebrating the VEI’s 2017 accomplishments:

  • Over 200 NVTC member organizations participating in the VEI
  • Over 2,000 Veterans hires by NVTC member companies
  • Over 2,000 volunteer hours in support of the VEI by NVTC members
  • Over 1 million Veteran resumes accessible on USTechVets.org, the VEI’s resume database and online job resource portal for Veterans and military spouses (free for NVTC members)
  • 650 active recruiters on USTechVets.org
  • 48 Virginia Values Veterans (V3) certified NVTC member companies
  • 3 VEI VETWORKING sessions hosted 44 Veteran and Military spouse job seekers for high-powered networking, interviews and resume coaching
  • 3 Recruiting Days hosted which had 62 companies represented with over 240 Veteran and military spouses jobseekers


Learn more about boosting your organization’s tech recruitment efforts through the VEI by contacting VEI Executive Director Steve Jordon.

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Tech Talent Initiative Logo - For WebNVTC is partnering with Virginia’s Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities (CPID) to offer member employers access to training and resources to help meet their tech talent needs. Through the CPID project, employers can tap into:

  • Recruiting and screening activities to help attract qualified applicants
  • Employee development and retention services, including financial incentives and grant funding
  • Business consultation and planning to enhance your business performance

CPID_banner1Click here to learn more about CPID available services or email CPID IT Sector Coordinator Lauren Parker or contact Lauren by phone at 703-689-1793.

Announcing a NEW Webinar Series!

NVTC is currently hosting a series of webinars detailing how you can take advantage of the resources to support the relatively untapped talent pool of individuals with disabilities and Veterans. The webinar series will also address assistive technologies and disability etiquette. Members of your human resource, facilities operations, talent acquisition, diversity and inclusion, training, compliance, and legal departments are encouraged to participate!

Feb. 15: Office Ergonomics, Universal Design and Assistive Technology
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Paula K. Marin, OTR/L, Assistive Technology Specialist with CPID, will discuss office ergonomics, universal design and assistive technology within the IT field. Register here.

March 15: Diversity at Work and Disability Etiquette
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
LaPearl Smith, Business Development Manager with the Department for Aging and Rehabilitation Services, and Diana McBride, Business Relation Specialist with the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, will provide information on diversity at work and disability etiquette. Register here.

On. Jan. 18, NVTC hosted the first webinar on recruiting, hiring and training individuals with disabilities. Kathy West-Evans, M.P.A, CRC, Director of Business Relations for Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), offered useful information on affirmative action strategies to assist businesses in recruiting, hiring and training individuals with disabilities and Veterans into their workforce.

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25 Ways to Make the Most of Your NVTC Membership in 2018

January 18th, 2018 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Membership - (Comments Off)

NVTC provides members with many valuable benefits and programs. The best way to realize the full value of your membership investment is to take advantage of all your membership benefits. Here are 25 ways to make the most out of your NVTC membership.

MemberListLogo1. Take advantage of NVTC’s inclusive membership. All employees of member companies can participate as members. Strengthen your membership roster by engaging more employees in NVTC’s events, committees and programs.

2. Join a committee. NVTC’s committees focus on specific industries or interests and offer increased brand exposure, leadership, presentation, panel and professional development opportunities, as well as professional development for your employees. NVTC committees include Small Business & Entrepreneur, Big Data & Analytics, Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure and more!

3. Attend NVTC Signature Events like Titans, TechCelebration and NVTC’s Capital CybersecurityCapital Data and Capital Health Tech Summits. NVTC’s Signature Events draw hundreds of top technology executives and feature well-known and relevant speakers from all industry sectors. If you want exposure and the best networking, our events are where you need to be!

4. Post FREE job listings and receive FREE access to USTechVets.org, a database of more than one million Veteran resumes through the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative (VEI). NVTC also provides resources and training through the VEI to promote best practices in Veteran recruitment, training and retention, connections with the region’s academic institutions.

5. Enhance your organization’s public policy advocacy efforts. NVTC is front and center in Richmond to advocate for issues that are important to members and to advance a pro-business, pro-technology agenda. NVTC’s full-time advocacy team can offer counsel on your policy objectives and help you connect to policymakers.

6. Promote and brand your business through NVTC’s sponsorship and advertising opportunities. Reach thousands of technology decision-makers or target a very specific market or industry sector. Contact Yolanda Lee at ylee@nvtc.org to create your personalized advertising/sponsorship plan.

Techtopia_logo7. Put your business on the Techtopia Maps. For more than 17 years, the NVTC Techtopia Map has been our way of “branding” Northern Virginia and the National Capital region as a premiere technology corridor. Sign up today to ensure that your company is represented among other key players in the technology community.

Tech Talent Initiative Logo - For Web8. Participate in NVTC’s Tech Talent Initiative (TTI). Leverage your organization’s efforts to recruit, hire, retain and upskill your workforce and expand your connections to the academic community through NVTC’s TTI. Access TTI’s resource portal to learn how you can participate in NVTC’s workforce research efforts and assistance opportunities.

9. Utilize NVTC’s searchable member directory. NVTC members have access to a detailed online business-to business directory to help you find business contacts and potential partners. Offering complete contact information of all other NVTC members, the members-only directory is one of the most valuable tools in your membership.

10. Contribute an NVTC guest blog post and showcase your organization’s unique expertise, research activities and thought leadership. The submission process is ongoing.

11. Recruit top Veteran and military spouse talent at one of the VEI’s Recruiting Days or VETWORKING sessions throughout the year.

12. Read the NVTC Daily News Summary in your inbox and keep up to date on the biggest technology articles of the day from all major and trade publications.

13. Participate in the Tech Talent Initiative’s webinar series on ways your organization can take advantage of the resources to support the relatively untapped talent pool of individuals with disabilities and Veterans.

14. Network on LinkedIn! Did you know NVTC has a LinkedIn Group? Share your organization’s thought leadership, start a discussion and network with your tech industry peers 24-7. Join the group today! You’ll also want to follow NVTC’s LinkedIn Company Page.

15. Take advantage of incumbent worker funding available to NVTC members. NVTC member companies with less than 250 employees can save up to 90 percent of the cost of industry-recognized IT and cybersecurity training and certification courses through the Incumbent Worker Training Initiative of Northern Virginia.

16. Check out NVTC’s infographics based on industry and member research conducted by NVTC on topics like cybersecurity, data analytics and more. Feel free to utilize and share on your social platforms.

MemberAdvantage logoCMYK - MarketPlace 04191717. Start saving! NVTC’s Member Advantage program provides members with money saving member-exclusive discounts on a variety of valuable products and services while facilitating mutually beneficial business relationships between NVTC member companies.

18. Highlight your organization in the monthly Member Spotlight section on the NVTC website and eNewsletter or submit your news for publication on the Member News section of the NVTC website.

19. Access NVTC’s members-only Resource Library that offers a comprehensive collection of webinars, podcasts, articles and other publications developed by NVTC and its members.

20. Take advantage of special savings on HR and business performance solutions through Insperity. Through the Technology Advisor Program, NVTC members have exclusive access to preferred pricing and special discounts on select Insperity HR solutions, including Workforce Optimization, Workforce Synchronization, Payroll Services, Time and Attendance, Organizational Planning, Recruiting Services, Expense Management, and Financial Services.

21.  Hire an intern through VEI Scholars. NVTC member companies can provide student Veterans from 14 NVTC member colleges and universities with professional mentoring and meaningful work-based experiences by participating in the Scholars program.

22. Access exclusive savings for NVTC members at WeWork. NVTC members qualify for 25% off for up to six months on Host Desks, Dedicated Desks or Private Offices at WeWork Tysons.

23. Stay informed about NVTC and the latest tech industry news and trends by reading NVTC’s The Voice of Technology magazine and NVTC’s weekly member eNewsletter.

24. Utilize discounted health screenings. NVTC members get an exclusive discount on a comprehensive physical health exam offered through Inova Health System’s Executive Health Screening Program.

25. Recruit on NVTC’s job board. NVTC offers a job board for NVTC members to post positions and for applicants to apply.

Not a member yet? Email the membership team today!

 

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Developing Cybersecurity Specialists for the Long Haul: Rhonda Dyer of SAIC

January 10th, 2018 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in CyberCapital - (Comments Off)

CFO Awards17 Web Graphic

By Renee Brown Small, CEO, Cyber Human Capital, and Contributing Editor, CyberCapital.us Blog

“We certainly have the responsibility to bring talented, qualified, experienced personnel to our clients. We have a responsibility to our employees to grow them into that type of capability.” – Rhonda Dyer, ‎Vice President Strategy, Sales Support & Solutions, SAIC, on the need to develop cybersecurity experts

Dyer v1Cybercrime may be on the rise, but training the people necessary to combat it is rocky at present. Cybersecurity is still not a priority in most college curricula, and addressing the issue of providing would-be cybersecurity professionals the right kind of education is something that Rhonda Dyer is presently working on.

Rhonda got her break into cybersecurity around ten years ago, when she was offered an opportunity to support cyber and develop the business from a capture sales perspective. She is passionate about ensuring that all that she delivers to her clients is secure and that her clients know as much as they can about how to protect themselves and their machines from cyber attacks. Rhonda defines her job as one to ensure that her clients have a secure way to get their job done and also points out that security has to be top-of-mind at all times.

Rhonda is presently working at SAIC, and at the moment, the company is moving into three areas of cybersecurity. The first is in the realm of cyberspace operations, where SAIC works on supporting the entire cycle of planning, operations and targeting, and in this realm SAIC has won a contract with the U.S. Cyber Command. The second area is in defense technology, particularly in perimeter security, and this is an area that SAIC will be rolling out soon. The third area, that she is really passionate about, is in education. In this realm SAIC is providing opportunities for high school students to learn about cybersecurity. She also notes that, while only ten percent of the overall cyber workforce is female, the operations programs presently active in SAIC are run by women. She says, “I encourage everybody to make sure their children, especially their daughters, are engaged in STEM education and coding. Also, recognize that the cyber field is broad. You could be doing legal in cyber, policy in cyber. Even if you don’t have a technical bench and you don’t want to be a cyber engineer, there’s a role for you to play during these national assets.”

Rhonda shares that her clients are looking for people who could be up and working the day they start, which means experienced cybersecurity professionals. These cybersecurity professionals don’t necessarily have to know about all the different aspects of a company when they start out, as Rhonda remarks that SAIC can provide training to cover those aspects. That said, she notes that people who have a background in operations are in demand, and as SAIC is involved with the US military, it isn’t surprising that a sizeable number of their hires are veterans who have backgrounds in network handling or in physical security. Rhonda also notes that she also looks for people who have been cleared, security-wise, and who are certified and have been working in mission-critical environments.

Rhonda remarks that SAIC strives to be a career destination, and notes that those who choose to work for SAIC will be able to get training and keep their certifications up to date. She also notes that SAIC is striving for diversity in its talent, as different perspectives are critical in cybersecurity.


Renee Brown Small is the author of Magnetic Hiring: Your Company’s Secret Weapon to Attracting Top Cyber Security Talent and CEO of Cyber Human Capital, an HR consultancy that specializes in innovative ways companies hire and keep cybersecurity talent. Download a free copy of her book here. Brown Small is contributing editor of the CyberCapital.us blog.

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