Bringing a Military Mindset to Healthcare Cybersecurity

Ryan Black
MARCH 12, 2018


CynergisTek's Founder and CEO Mac McMillan is a defense intelligence veteran. Its Vice President of Cybersecurity Strategy, John Nye, served in the Army. At HIMSS 2018, the two told Healthcare Analytics News about the benefits that a military mindset can bring to defending health data.

John: I started in the military, my [job] was to do security for IT, so I got to learn a lot. I got to get several of my certifications.

Mac: We hire a lot of veterans in the company. They all share a good appreciation and understanding of what security is all about, and what threat is all about, and in managing risk. You're trying to protect people, you're trying to protect sources, you're trying to protect methods, you're trying to protect operations, oftentimes you're trying to protect the fact that you're even doing what you're doing where you're doing it.

What that does for these veterans that have lived in a constant environment where everything they do, whether they're a pilot, whether they're a logistician whether they're a computer guy, whether they're an infantryman, they still are thinking about security all the time.

John: It gives us a different perspective on security. When you're in the military, you take a global perspective. Even though our firm, for example, mostly focuses on the US, we still have to think about it internationally because our attacks are coming from everywhere and there's no way to eliminate these regions, you have to think of a holistic approach.

Mac: It's much different than, say, a civilian who's never been exposed to that, and doesn't think every day 'When I get up, somebody's out there who's trying to hurt me or there's something out there that that I need to be careful about that nobody else knows about.' It's just a whole different philosophy.

John: If you think about the military, it’s such a large organization and when you come into a lot of these larger healthcare organizations, you see a lot of that same issue: lots of chiefs, lots of people in charge, lots of people telling everyone what to do. So it's helped a lot in that we're able to bring that back into healthcare.

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