About

Kaitlyn Bestenheider and Xena

Dedicated Information Security Analyst | Federal Governance and Assessments & Third Party Vendor Risk Management | National Cyber League Chief Player Ambassador | Educator | Historical Cryptography Enthusiast | Overly-Attached Puppy Mom

Kait is an Information Security Analyst at Tevora under the Federal practice. Her role is to provide support during security assessments and compose client reports for the NIST framework assessments (NIST-800-53, NIST 800-171, and NIST CSF) including FISMA, FedRAMP, and DFARS. She specializes in the development of policy and governance documentation, establishing and supporting third-party vendor management programs, and NIST System Security Plan (SSP) composition.

Kait has served as a high school cybersecurity instructor at Rockland County BOCES Career and Technical School in Nyack, NY, where she helped second year students prepare for their CompTIA Security+.

She actively contributes to the information security community and has served as a volunteer for the Grace Hopper Women in Computing Celebration and the Pace University GenCyber Program, has presented at r00tz Asylum at DEFCON, Women in Cyber Security (WiCyS) Conference, the Community College Cyber Summit (3CS), and has guest lectured at multiple colleges and universities all across the country. Since 2017, Kaitlyn has served as the Chief Player Ambassador for the National Cyber League. She encourages students nationwide to participate in CTF competitions to achieve their cybersecurity academic and career goals.

Kait was also the grateful recipient of the Women in Cyber Security Conference 2019 Rising Leadership Award and was the Keynote Speaker for the Mid-West Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) in 2019.

Follow Kait and Xena on twitter!
@CryptoKait & @PrivacyPupper

Now that we have that official tagline, marketing stuff out of the way. Let’s give you what you really clicked on this page for: a personal, hopefully not-too-boring, why-am-I-here type thing.

Back_to_school


See that chick on the left with the dumb sign and coffee? That’s me.

At that point in time, I had graduated just over a year before with a B.A. in Theatre and Performance, a minor in Medieval English Literature, and 3 Associates. I assumed I was done with school long before that picture was taken, but no such luck.

But let me start at the beginning.

In 1998 (woah, weren’t expecting to go that far back, huh?), Her Interactive came out with a Nancy Drew mystery game series for the computer. My grandmother, knowing I enjoyed both the book series and computer games, bought it for me immediately. There are now over 30 games in the series and not one that I have not played, but I digress.

When I went back to school for computer programming and web design, I registered for a class called “Networking for Business.” It was going to be my easy course for the semester. Elevator pitches, cover letters, how to “wow” at networking events…

For those of you already laughing, thanks… For those of you who haven’t caught the joke yet, they did not mean social networking. They meant routers and switches and my dear friend, Cisco Packet Tracer.

Realizing I was horribly mistaken, I was definitely overwhelmed in my first class. I realized I needed all the study time I could manage. I discovered that the computer lab was open to anyone for 2 hours before the start of class for the “Cybersecurity Club.” Having no idea what that was, but having access to both my lab terminal and free pizza (mmm pizza!), I decided there wouldn’t be any harm trying it out.

After all, school involvement is important.

At one of the first club meeting I attended, a professor spoke about Cryptography and we did a Vigenère cipher. My lifelong adoration for any form of Nancy Drew-esque puzzle had finally come to fruition! I chased the professor down and begged him to tell me what I needed to do with my life to in order to have that as a career. A year and a half later, I’m slowly becoming a real-life Nancy Drew.

The original purpose of this blog was to talk about how a detective from the 30’s taught me cybersecurity. In the time since it’s conception, it has become a lot more. I’m not entirely sure what that is yet, but I hope you will enjoy the journey with me.

Thanks and best wishes,

Kait


Kait’s current headshot and biography is available for download.