Cybersecurity Careers with Sam Fox
Sam Fox, Ohio University ’14 and ITS B.S.C. alumnus, currently works at Black Lantern Security (BLS) as a Red Team Operations Manager. BLS provides Information Security Services for Healthcare, Hospitality, and Financial Service Industries. As a red team operations manager, Fox conducts simulated hacking and concentrates on penetrating clients’ websites and applications from the outside in. The focus here is testing risk assessments and vulnerabilities to online hackers.
Growing up in Rittman, OH, a small town in Northeast Ohio, technology and computer science careers were not plentiful or encouraged as full-time careers. A family friend of Fox built a computer for him and his brother, beginning Fox’s fascination with computer technology. Although he had an interest in computers, no technical electives or courses were offered in Fox’s high school that could allow him to explore ITS as his area of study. So, Fox, with a passion for science, decided to major in biology.
In his early years at OU, Fox went from majoring in biology to middle childhood education to psychology. During his time as a psychology major, Fox ended up taking an ITS elective on a whim, remembering how intriguing computers had been for him in the past. The elective Fox took sparked his interests yet again, and he changed majors for the last time going into his junior year.
During a resume writing workshop, ITS professor Trevor Roycroft encouraged Fox and other ITS students to approach all companies at career fairs and to not focus solely on the most “exciting” options. This pushed Fox to approach Marathon Petroleum Corporation and set the foundations for his early career with two internships there. Internships like this are a great way for students in ITS programs to learn more about potential career options and gain a deeper understanding of what they want to pursue post-graduation.
The ITS major also offers students many different electives to explore different areas in IT fields, like Fox’s favorite course, Telecommunication Network Security (TNS), taught by Philip Campbell. Following his two internships with Marathon, Fox was offered a job as an internal IT auditor, testing IT controls, creating audit test plans for infrastructure technologies, and leading audit teams. He was later offered the Cybersecurity Operations Analyst position and took it, considering his interest in the TNS elective. This allowed him to explore more about the cybersecurity industry, creating the foundations for his work with BLS today.
For students interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity, Fox explains the importance of a combination of skills needed to succeed in the field. Basic scripting, knowledge of Python programming, and understanding security risk and risk management are great technical foundations. But communication skills are also vital aspects of cybersecurity. Articulating why and how security risks affect an organization and the impact specific issues could have on security. Communication is also crucial when speaking with corporate process owners and managers to gain a basic understanding of how their applications function to begin assessing risk and security.
Cybersecurity is an ever-growing industry in need of problem solvers who have a deep understanding of the importance of implementing security solutions for businesses and data and information networks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of Information Security Analysts is projected to grow by 33% from 2020 to 2030. This number assumes that each year there will be over 16,000 job openings for those interested in planning and carrying out security measures to protect organizations' and businesses’ computer networks and systems.
The McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies strives to offer the best academic programs in the IT (Information Technology), the game development and the Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality (VR/AR) industries. Our programs and certificates cover numerous aspects of the rapidly changing industries of information networking, cybersecurity, data privacy, game development, digital animation and the academic side of esports.