On Thursday morning, I received a notification that rocked my world. The CryptoKait blog had reached 100,000 views. I am overjoyed, humbled, and thrilled to know that what we do has such an impact on the National Cyber League (NCL) players and the information security community as a whole.
I say this all the time, but I do all of this in an effort to pay forward all the energy and enthusiasm that was shared with me by so many influential people very early in my interest for this field. As my list of mentors and idols grow, the energy I put into trying to keep up does, too. But there are simply so many people who deserve to share the credit of this accomplishment.
First and foremost, Jennie Kam deserves the biggest thank you of all. She saw my potential when I did not. She made space for me and showed me that I belonged in this industry regardless of my Theatre degree and background. She was the person who suggested that I join twitter and start a blog and even helped coin the name CryptoKait that you all have come to know and love. I think she was also involved in creating PrivacyPupper’s handle if I am not mistaken. She met me when I was suffering from a severe case of imposter syndrome and repeatedly took an absolute gladiator sword to any doubts I had about myself, my talent, or my potential.
Additionally, John Watkins of Westchester Community College helped me figure out that I was never meant to be a programmer and sparked my first interest in cybersecurity by teaching me this thing I had always loved had a name: Cryptography. It was my first foothold in this industry, and he ensured I had every opportunity to succeed (even sometimes against myself). He introduced me to the NCL Games, and it started a journey that would change my life forever. He offered me a position working for the tutoring lab and helped me find my first technical position outside school.
In graduate school, my advisor, Andreea Cotoranu of Pace University, made space and opportunity for me to really build out my portfolio and figure out my voice by finding scholarships to support my passion for the National Cyber League. She helped develop the first N00bSec to Cyber Champion workshop, taught me how to pitch my ideas better, and supported my efforts to build a team and perfect my coaching methodologies. She helped find funding to support our registrations and even helped me and my team get to WiCyS for my first technical workshop (which was on NCL, of course.) She helped me find a job teaching and solidified my love for what I do.
And of course, I’m grateful to the National Cyber League who has always seen the value in what we do and for allowing me to help shape such an important program. (Also, you should go sign up for the Games. Registration is open. *insert Shia LeBeouf* JUST DO IT!)
Since then, I’ve connected with so many amazing people and organizations that have continued to share my vision and goals. I have no words to express the unyielding gratitude I have for all of my NCL Player Ambassadors. At this point, they have produced more content than I have, but always follow me down whatever crazy idea I think of next. We have so many initiatives and programs to make the information security industry better and more welcoming to everyone. Your enthusiasm and passion keep me going every single day and this could not have happened without EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. YOU.
So, what comes next?
100k views later, how have my goals changed? When I first started this blog, I just wanted to write an academic paper on how a detective from the early 1900’s taught me to love cybersecurity. (Nancy Drew, in case anyone missed that!) But it has truly evolved and grown to more than I could have ever imagined. That being said, I do have some pretty strong goals for this site moving forward.
NCL is only one piece of what we do on the CryptoKait blog. I know it is what we are known for. I know that it is critically important. I know this is where we make the most content and the most difference for our community. That being said, we have a LOT of really great things happening that I want to make sure get the attention they deserve.
We have an amazing platform with a TON of viewers. We want to use this opportunity to help build up new talent and raise the platform for new authors. In an effort to help entry-level professionals build their resumes and portfolios, we want to publish the works of individuals with less than 5 years of information security experience. You can write about anything you are an expert on that is related to the field and we want to help get your voice heard! To find out more, visit our Feature Friday page and apply!
Cybersecurity Club Resources
Former NCL-PA, John McGill, started a mini-series on The Cybersecurity Club Survival Guide. Since then, our writers are interested in adding additional content in this space to help from their perspectives as well. You can find all our current resources for this here.
Self-Care & Human Skills
WebWitch and I have been passionate about this concept for a long time. We both prioritize mental health and physical wellness above success and have tried to publish content around these ideas. One of our new NCL-PAs, Taisa, has identified a need for this to have space on our site. For now, our content can be found with the new categories like “Adulting,” “Career Advice & Human Skills“, and “Self-Care“, but we will be working to make this a more prominent feature of the site moving forward.
Making Space for Kait in CryptoKait
Many times, I go to conferences, people recognize me by my handle and for my NCL work. That being said, I’m a working information security analyst who specializes in the federal space. I write a ton of policies and procedures for my clients and enjoy writing System Security Plans (SSPs) for organizations seeking, DFARS, CMMC, FISMA, or FedRAMP compliance. I do gap assessments, risk assessments, compliance assessments, remediation assistance, and more for many different organizations. As a matter of fact, the company I work for, Tevora, is now on the FedRAMP marketplace as an accredited third-party assessment organization or 3PAO. There are only 38 organizations with that distinction currently. But again, I feel like some of that is getting lost on here and I want to find a way to make space for it as well.
It’s time! We need to reorganize the site and make things more accessible to our viewers. We also need to find a better way to highlight some of the efforts above. I’m not entirely sure what this will entail but expect to see changes over the next several months as we fine tune our program.
And Most Importantly…
And I forgot the most important thank you of all. Thank you to each of you who reads our content and even more gratitude to those of you who share it with others. We would never have achieved this 100k views without you. Thank you for being a part of this journey we are on to make information security a more welcoming and accessible place to everyone. Here’s to another 100k views and more!
All my gratitude,
Your friendly neighborhood