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A Day in the Life of Optiv Cyber Security Superheroes: Nick Hyatt
Nick Hyatt, Senior Incident Management Consultant
Nick always had an inquisitive mind. At a very young age, his father would watch as he sat at the family’s new TRS-80 microcomputer marveling at the data output and video graphics, trying to figure out how it all worked. That was the early 80s, but not much has changed. Today, as a self-proclaimed “internet detective,” Nick enjoys his role as senior consultant on Optiv’s enterprise incident management (EIM) team, where he conducts forensics investigations and threat hunting. As he puts it, he tears the puzzle apart and puts it back together to figure out the mystery at hand. “If you like police work and detective stories,” says Nick, “this is the best way to experience that without having to be a police officer.”
According to Nick, new employees can be trained on the tools, but what he can’t train is the curiosity of how to figure out a problem—a trait inherent in all his team members. A collection of forensic specialists, reverse engineers and security consultants, many come from law enforcement and military backgrounds. They work from the “big picture” backwards. They pick up every rock and look under every log to find out where the problems are located. It’s getting into unfamiliar territory and exploring it—and it’s what is unique about the EIM team. So, whether it’s a malware infection or an intruder in the network, Nick’s team is helping Optiv clients put the jigsaw back together.
What Nick is most passionate about is fostering and understanding the next-gen cyber security up-and-comers. He wants to enable his employees to do the work that they’re supposed to do, rather than sit back to witness a “sink or swim” mentality. He supports the Optiv approach of putting a path in place for new recruits that helps them succeed, which also helps the whole team thrive. Backed by support from the top down, Nick says the company promotes this growth. If you want to pursue a different aspect of your role, you can. According to Nick, you could say, “Alright I’m done being a consultant; let me be a managing consultant. The people above you will help you do that. It’s a place—in an industry where you could jump from job to job every one to three years—where you can build a career. That’s why I’ve been at Optiv for five years, because I do see this as a career.”
Nick’s team likes “to make things right” after each incident, but it’s more about helping people, and doing it in a way that really speaks to the quality of the service more than anything. “That’s why I like my team; we are people who actually care,” says Nick. Always at the forefront of the industry, the team of EIM experts has the experience required to review their clients’ current response program and provide recommendations for improvement. His team believes every client deserves white-glove treatment—they’ll get the same level of service, and that’s 100 percent attention all the time.
With a particular fondness for ransomware, Nick champions the idea of turning an interest into a passion. Nick’s initial interest in a subject is what compels him to read, learn and study-up so he has command of the information. He says to Optiv’s incoming candidates, “Pick something you think is really cool and become an expert on it. Whether it’s ransomware, LINUX server analysis or malware reverse engineering; if you want to be a firewall guy or you want to become an expert in a couple of different applications—those are all great choices!” Nick is a living example of his words. If you’re passionate about understanding the way things work and like fixing problems, you can succeed in cyber security. And it’s a good way to spark your inner-childhood curiosity.
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