Never slowing down in the pursuit of Canada’s cybersecurity.After 26 years in uniform as a signal officer with the Canadian Armed Forces, Jack Reid wasn’t ready to give up on military life once he folded up his fatigues. To Jack, “retirement” was just another word for “evolution.” His expertise had always been in training, so the transition into the world of cybersecurity with Ottawa-based Calian Group was a simple one. A surprising business model hooked Jack when he was considering where to turn his attention and skills. At Calian, he says, ensuring employee satisfaction is as important as customer satisfaction. It was a natural fit for an ex-military officer accustomed to leadership roles that relied heavily upon strong team morale. Today, Jack develops and coordinates training programs for Information Systems Security Officers (or ISSOs) working in Canada’s defence, security or technology sectors. These programs teach them how to detect and prevent threats like ransomware or stealth attacks.
“I focused on finding the right experts who could simplify and take a practical approach to the training.”“We are working in our customers’ space with our customers’ equipment to carry out our training, but it’s our employees who have the understanding and know-how that is being disseminated,” he says. “It is important to protect that, so we can be confident our clients receive the best training.” The greatest thing Jack and his team can impart, he adds, is security awareness and preparedness to improve an organization’s resilience posture. From the Department of National Defence to small businesses and large corporations – organizations must have plans and procedures in place to prepare, prevent, respond and recover when it comes to cybersecurity events. “With my history in the military, I had a good idea of the types of issues our ISSOs could expect to face,” Jack explains. “I focused on finding the right experts who could simplify and take a practical approach to the training.” While the threat landscape continues to evolve, currently one of the most common malware attacks that Canadians face is ransomware. These attacks are carried out through software or viruses with the intention of blocking or publishing a victim’s files or data unless a ransom is paid. It’s important to Jack that ISSOs develop an innate ability to detect a range of cyber incidents and handle them quickly. Perhaps as a result of his long career in the Canadian Forces — which focused on practical instruction in one-on-one environments — Jack also emphasizes the importance of preserving face-to-face, classroom learning. The training programs he develops bring his students together and churn out ISSOs who feel confident that they have the tools needed to be protectors. “I love having everyone in a class sharing their ideas and experiences,” Jack says. “It benefits the whole group and empowers our ISSOs to be at the top of their game.” Defence in all its forms has always been at the heart of everything Jack does. It’s even reflected in his downtime between training programs, when he reconnects with his Scottish roots through Broad Sword training. “It’s definitely great exercise,” he laughs.