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Meet JASON GILLAM CIO at Secure Ideas LLC
Tell us about your background, family, education: I am originally from Canada, and have a bachelor of Computer Engineering from Royal Military College. After college I moved to the United States to pursue a career in technology. I don’t play sports, but I enjoy running. I have a beautiful wife Susan, and two wonderful kids.
- What is your business and who are your customers? I am the CIO and one of the owners of Secure Ideas, LLC; a cyber security testing and consulting company. Our customer range from 12-person start up companies to fortune 50 enterprises. We work across most vertical markets but the majority of our customers are in Financial Services, Healthcare, Technology, and Retail.
- How did this venture start? Secure Ideas was founded by accident in 2010 by a small group of hackers who were just taking on some extra work as a side gig. The company has remained self-funded and has gradually grown to nearly 20 people over the past decade. I joined about 6 years ago.
- What do you actually do on a daily basis and why? This is a difficult question to answer because in such a small company we all wear so many hats. As a security consultant, our time is spent hacking into networks and applications (with permission) and reporting to our clients on their vulnerabilities and how to fix them. We also spend a lot of our time training our clients to become more skilled security professionals themselves. I do this job because I enjoy the dynamic nature of the work and the challenges it presents. But most importantly, I do it because we help companies do better at protecting the information that is important to people, so I get a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment out of my work.
- What’s your past life? How did skills and background that got you here to where you are? Before getting into information security I spent many years in software development and enterprise architecture, and for most of it I was also a technical lead. The programming is a constant test of problem-solving skills, and so is hacking into things. And my years of being a direct manager have helped prepare me for my current leadership role in the company.
- New customers are you targeting? New services being offered? One of the biggest challenges our industry faces is a massive shortage of skills and expertise. The cost of training in information security has sky-rocketed such that a one-week class can cost over $7000. And, the technology is growing at such a fast pace that nobody can keep up with all of it. To help companies deal with these shortfalls, Secure Ideas is proposing a strategic training program that is more like an apprenticeship and less like a bootcamp. Our goal with this program is to turn our clients’ technology teams into cyber-security superstars with a combination of training, expert advice, and a helping hand when needed.
- What are your personal and/or professional goals? Other than the obvious goal of one day being able to retire in comfort, I really want to continue to build Secure Ideas into a company that makes a difference. To me this starts with our employees. Secure Ideas is very much a family-oriented company. So, when I state that I want the company to do well, that’s because it is my genuine hope to share its success with all its employees. I truly think of us as one big family of technology nerds. To that end, I want to help many careers flourish, and make sure we all feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
- Other than your work, what are you most passionate about? I know it sounds cliché but at this moment I am most passionate about my “kids”. I have a son who is a young autistic adult, which comes with its own challenges. My wife and I are constantly discussing and trying to figure out what is going to work for his life plan since his is obviously going to be a non-traditional route. My daughter is currently a sophomore in college and trying to figure out where she wants to go in life. She is going through more typical trials and tribulations than her older brother. I try to help where I can without getting in the way, which is itself a challenge when dealing with any stressed-out teenage college student.
- Why did you initially come to LOOM? Secure Ideas is headquartered in Jacksonville, FL, but has been growing in the Charlotte area. When I came on board six years ago, I was the only Charlotte-based employee and I worked from home. As we continued to grow, we eventually reached three employees in the south Charlotte area, and we needed a place to collaborate as a group. LOOM was well located, and once we had a chance to meet Jen Belk and get the grand tour, it was settled!
- How do you feel you have benefited or grown? Any anecdotes? Secure Ideas has grown to six Charlotte-based employees who now work out of LOOM once or twice a week.
- Where can we find out more about you on social media and online? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @jgillam, https://www.linkedin.com/in/jgillam/
- What is the best way to contact you? email@example.com or call me: 803-619-9886
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