Dr. Ronald Walcott, managing director for Precision Cybertechnologies, has always considered cyber technology and cybersecurity top-of-mind, even in his early days working in telecommunications.
Dr. Ronald Walcott, MBA, has more than 20 years experience in leadership roles. From Airline Management, to Logistics, Telecoms and Cybersecurity. Walcott has worked at TSTT for 14 years, starting in 2006. He started as a Head of Department, then Head of Operations. Walcott was later appointed as the EVP Mobile Services in 2012 and became CEO in 2014 until he resigned in 2020. In 2021, Walcott agreed to be the Managing Director for Precision Cybertechnologies.
Walcott, who describes himself as someone who’s always been fascinated by technology, is excited for the future. With AI, quantum computing, blockchain systems, network orchestration, workforce development, and different regulatory frameworks, Walcott is curious how these new technologies will unfold. From AI to cybersecurity’s impact on remote work, Walcott wants to see how the next three years unfold as the world becomes more digitally focused.
The Future of Cybersecurity: It’s More Than an IT Solution
If there’s one thing Walcott wishes people understood about cybersecurity, it’s not just an IT solution. It’s pervasive, and it’s everybody’s business. And everyone needs to understand the threats involved.
As cyber-attacks become increasingly sophisticated, traditional ways to combat these attacks are now obsolete. Ronald, who stays up on the latest advancements by attending industry events like DEFCON and regular meetings with his alliance partners, says that AI has changed technology infrastructure for defense.
Cybersecurity professionals can automate many of their processes, such as those with phishing detection and vulnerability management. AI allows for predictive analysis, anomaly detection, and behavioral analysis. While AI will be the primary driver behind cyber defense, it’s also triggering new attacks, which Walcott describes as AI vs. AI.
While the future of cybertechnology is hard to predict, Walcott notes several emerging technologies that will impact the industry, including quantum computing, which can decrypt data previously believed to be unencrypted, and blockchain technology, which records transactions. Both will lead to a fundamental shift in the way networks are architectured.
The future of IoT, the Internet of Things, is limited only by imagination, Walcott notes. Everything is connected – from appliances and cars to entertainment, smartwatches, and more. With the proliferation of devices where 5G connectivity and AI and identity information meet, one must ensure that data privacy, protection, security, identity management, and more are on par. Once the opportunities for attacks arise and more private information is available, it’s mandatory to ensure that the cybersecurity framework matches the intensity and even surpasses it to some extent, Walcott adds.
How Remote Work Shapes Cybersecurity
The future of work is also shaping cybersecurity. Post-COVID, many workplaces are continuing virtual meetings and remote work. The fact that the work model has changed and workers are more digitally focused has led to more robust data privacy and compliance regulations — but it’s also led to more cybersecurity attacks. As people connect remotely, companies have to be more secure, as evidenced by things like implementing multi-factor authentication.
The effects of cybersecurity on fields like healthcare and financial services are huge. If workers are accessing company networks and databases remotely, and the necessary defense infrastructure isn’t in place, there will be an easier path for hackers or malware to get in. Remote learning and remote medical also offer opportunities for broader attacks.
It’s becoming more important to safeguard sensitive data to ensure business and operational continuity while protecting people’s privacy. Healthcare has been a victim of many cyber attacks, which has led to rules and regulations like HIPAA and GDPR. In finance, these cyber attacks have required companies to be PCI DSS compliant. From an educational standpoint, the fact that people need to protect intellectual property is critical, and as we move more and more into this space, cybersecurity becomes even more necessary.
Looking ahead, network architectures will change, and the collaborative tools teams use will have to work hand in hand as the digital footprint expands, which means cybersecurity and cyber technology will also expand.
Cybersecurity and Creative Problem-Solving
While cybersecurity is technology-focused, it’s also creative, which Wolcott enjoys. For example, there’s room for creativity in problem-solving. First, the problem must be defined: What are we trying to resolve? From there, cybersecurity professionals must identify the problem’s root cause. Then, they can strategize solutions, understanding there is no one solution or panacea in this business. Solutions must be a combination of best practice and fit. Tests may need to be run, and systems must continue to be monitored and reviewed. There are things that cybersecurity professionals didn’t know a few years ago that are known now, Walcott says, so it’s a continuous learning process.
Career Opportunities in Cybersecurity
For Walcott, selling cybersecurity services is much like selling peace of mind. This rapidly evolving field requires professionals to possess a broad set of technology skills and be trustworthy. For example, when a company hires cybersecurity professionals to maintain its infrastructure, it provides access to the heart of its systems.
There is a significant skill shortage in cybersecurity, so Walcott believes in diverse hiring practices. Not only does a diverse team enhance problem-solving and creativity, it also opens up different perspectives. Precision Cyber participates in programs working to empower different minority groups, and it’s working with universities on training and development, mentorship, and more. It’s a critical component, Ronald says.
Dr. Ronald Walcott advises getting the proper certifications and training to pursue a cybersecurity career. While many small cybersecurity courses are available, Walcott recommends a robust training program to get grounded. He also suggests immersing yourself in the field and getting on top of the latest trends because of its rapid changes. Overall, he notes that cybersecurity professionals must be professional, accountable, and transparent – if you want to be successful, you’ll have to align yourself with organizations that share the same goals.