In Cybersecurity, a Talented Workforce Is a Diverse One

How ITSourcetek is leveraging people, process, and technology to protect clients’ data

When it comes to protecting the information on your computer, what you really need is another computer, according to Brian Arellanes.

His company, ITSourceTek, is currently working with machine learning and using that technology to help keep their clients’ data secure.

“One of the trends that is emerging here is leveraging unsupervised machine learning of the heavy lifting for us with automating processes and protection,” says Arellanes, the CEO and co-founder. “We’ve aligned ourselves with quite a few partner-solution companies that have products that use the latest advancements and data science to help identify threats, as well as prevent attacks.”

Because ITSourceTek’s clients include industry-leading companies in heavily regulated sectors such as healthcare, it is vital not just to raise the alarm after an attack happens, but also to prevent them from ever happening in the first place. If a hacker or malicious insider is able to access and alter medical records, it could lead to patients receiving the wrong medication and treatment, which could then lead to fatalities.

“Healthcare providers, insurance providers, and technologies that support that industry need to take more and more action towards protecting their data and leveraging some of these technologies,” Arellanes says.

To most effectively help its clients protect their data, ITSourceTek keeps track of the latest cybersecurity trends that affect financial services, healthcare, retail, and other industries they support.

“It started to become clear to us that the crux of the problem was how to protect the data,” Arellanes says. “And so that’s where we’ve really spent the majority of the last three-and-a-half years or so.”

That meant switching the focus from protecting the environment—i.e., firewalls and perimeter protection—to focusing on keeping the data itself secure.

“As we do that, we look at what are the different policies and things that need to be in place to really meet the regulatory requirements that most of our clients have to adhere to,” Arellanes says. “Then we take that forward into ways to automate and enforce those policies, as well as put technology around encryption, dynamic masking, etc. We’ve got a whole host of solutions we’ve identified and can bring to our clients, in addition to finding new solutions if we need something to fit a more unique need.”

There are many advantages to cloud-based servers, which allow users to store and access information from anywhere. But they also create more challenges to keeping that data secure.

“Helping our clients solve those problems has been really exciting because we get to work with the most modern technologies,” Arellanes says. “We’re using artificial intelligence and other techniques with data science to help automate the processes and really enable companies to reduce the amount of hours an employee would need to do more mundane tasks.”

The result is good for both employers and their workers. It means companies don’t have to worry about their highly paid talent spending valuable work hours on menial tasks, and the workers don’t get bored out of their minds checking false positives from threat analytics. Instead, they can better use their time and talent to perform more high-functioning tasks.

“The data we’ve collected supports the idea that the more diverse a security organization is, the better it is at preventing attacks, as well as increasing productivity and even the bottom-line revenue.”

Brian Arellanes

Another way ITSourceTek is trying to make the most of the talented workforce that’s out there is by making that workforce as diverse as possible.

“The data we’ve collected supports the idea that the more diverse a security organization is, the better it is at preventing attacks, as well as increasing productivity and even bottom-line revenue,” Arellanes says. “So now that the data is starting to become clear, it’s a lot easier to work with the bigger corporations to help them see the value of having a diversified workforce.”

More than half of ITSourceTek’s own workforce are women or minorities, and the company is contributing on a larger scale to help increase diversity in the field of cybersecurity. Both Arellanes and Walter Jones, the company’s chief information officer, are actively mentoring other cybersecurity professionals to help them advance their careers and become leaders.

Arellanes recently joined the advisory board for the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP), which is a group of C-level leaders who have all come together to help promote diversity within cybersecurity.

ITSourceTek is also a corporate sponsor of the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC), and has been active in the counsel’s mentorship program, with Arellanes having served as a mentor for them in 2016 and plans to do so again in 2017. The organization’s goal is to focus on bringing Hispanic executives together to help them grow their careers, as well as pull up emerging executives from the Hispanic technology community.

“We get together quarterly and share a lot of thought leadership and what our corporations are doing,” Arellanes says. “It includes everything from very large corporations like Wells Fargo and Cisco to companies like ours that are more focused within security.”

Some retail stores, like JCPenney and Macy’s, have also started to get involved.

“It’s a really neat thing to see a lot of companies start to invest in improving things for their Hispanic workforce,” Arellanes says. “Because it’s a very large, growing part of the workforce, and I think companies are starting to see that we need to better leverage the talent that’s out there.”

It seems that, at the very least, ITSourceTek’s initiatives to have a more diverse workforce have paid off for it and its clients. Healthcare Tech Outlook magazine recently named ITSourceTek one of the Top 10 Healthcare Compliance Solutions Providers.

“We’re really excited about that and looking forward to continuing to make a positive impact on the healthcare community,” Arellanes says.