E21 - Stuart Fairchild at C Spire

Kieran Waite
Stuart  Fairchild

By Kieran Waite & Stuart Fairchild

On the 21st episode of The Route to Networking, a Senior Cyber Security Consultant here at Hamilton Barnes, Kieran Waite was joined by Stuart Fairchild, the Cyber Security Manager at C Spire. Stuart delves into talking about his career in Networking before moving into the Security space, some of the main changes he’s seeing in the industry and the threats he can see having an impact on the security space.

Stuart has a little bit of a crazy background. He actually had a very long career in networking before joining the security industry. It all started in 2003 when he worked in a police department; helping them update their radios systems. The particular PD was the first in the state to have laptops in vehicles.

From there he moved into a school district where he managed around 5000 devices where he was in charge of the servers and networking. After working there for some time, the opportunity to work at C Spire presented itself and he took it!

“I’ve always felt like the internet is the greatest invention since the printing press”.

Stuart always wanted to work for a company that was bringing the internet to more people, so he jumped at the chance to work for C Spire.

Moving to the security space was never planned if anything he saw it as more of a hobby than a career path. But when C Spire hired his current manager as a Principal Network Security Architect, they were looking to expand the security role in the company and the rest was history!

When he transitioned into the Security space, there was a big adjustment period, not so much on the technologies because he already knew the technology, it was more so a difference in mindset. He had to put on a higher level of scepticism when it came to how things were designed and done. He also had to learn how to question people on a technical level without being abrasive.

One of the things he has changed in IT over the last 20 years is that the ‘jack of all trades’ term has died. So, if you’re specialised, then branch out a bit. You have to be able to take a holistic look at things, unless you are lucky to do a role where you can work at a company that has a 3-tier SOC, for example, you’re probably going to have to approach things not just from a Networking perspective but rather dealing with every aspect of infrastructure.

Some of the main changes he’s seen in the industry are there is more of a focus on Cyber Security. A lot has moved from just static definitions/static roles, everything has to be dynamic now.

Security is the core of any business and in this day and change, incredibly high demand. For Stuart, he feels like it’s going to become a lot worse before it gets better. If anything, he feels it’s only just the beginning of how bad it’s going to get… “It’s kinda scary”.

Now working for C Spire, they have a huge focus on Security across the board. When he started, there was no vulnerability management program so nobody knew what their security posture was. There was no concerted effort across the company to remediate whereas now there is.

If you’re somebody who’s looking to move into the Security space, Stuart shares what traits you need to have to thrive… Make sure you don’t miss it, tune in now!