A Day in the Life of Optiv Cyber Security Superheroes: Chris Patten

A Day in the Life of Optiv Cyber Security Superheroes: Chris Patten

When Breaking Things Can Be Good


Chris Patten, Director, Advisory Services, Attack and Penetration Team


You could say Chris Patten’s passion for cyber security all started with yard sales. Growing up in the Midwest, Chris and his dad wandered local yard sales on a weekly quest for old radios and TVs for Chris to pull apart and put back together. Who knew this father-son tradition would spawn an exciting career in cyber security, where Chris now leads an elite team of attack and penetration specialists at Optiv?


Early on, Chris opted to enter the military, working in the Department of Defense Specialist Operation’s Intelligence Unit. There, he quickly got involved in tactical engagements with reconnaissance, operations, communications and all aspects of security. Now, as practice director of advisory services at Optiv, Chris oversees the attack and penetration group, which assesses clients’ systems, networks and web applications to find vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit.


Be Proud of Your Team


What inspires Chris about his work at Optiv is his team. Chris describes his team as “extremely talented, motivated and passionate.” They are driven by the opportunity to make an impact. Chris says of them, “Nothing stops these guys; they constantly come up with new and interesting ways to circumvent controls, which is unbelievable.”


Be Proud of Your Contributions


Chris takes great pride in his accomplishments at Optiv, including his work in the development of the breach simulation program. This service provides clients with a critical tool for understanding and assessing real cyber risk to their organizations.


As Chris explains, “If an organization is targeted by a nation state hacker or hacktivist, we try to emulate those threat actors and try to recreate those attacks so (we can) truly understand the resiliency to certain threats.” Chris notes that the breach simulation program has been recognized by Optiv clients through value, satisfaction and repeat business.


Be Proud of Our Growth


Like his team, Chris is ever the die-hard tinkerer. Chris vows that, “Whether we’re building code or wrenching on a car, we’ll constantly stay on top of tactical and offensive techniques.” A drive to keep learning is a core part of the job. Says Chris, “We’re tactical. We’re offensive. We try and break into systems, we try to breach security controls. Everything changes overnight. So for us to be really good at our job, we have to evolve, we truly have to be on top of our game.“


Be Proud of Our Impact


For Chris, providing value to clients is the best measure of impact. One of his most satisfying projects was a breach simulation for a financial organization. Chris and the Optiv team worked closely with the client to defeat a number of security controls and successfully move money outside of the organization. Chris recalls that the client was extremely grateful for the knowledge gained during the simulation, and used that knowledge to improve their security strategy.


We’re Proud of Chris


When he’s not coding or “breaking into stuff,” Chris is shredding on his guitar, and he’s got callouses to prove it. We’re proud of Chris and his mission to break things in the quest to help our clients make their businesses more secure.