After the company went public and was sold in 2001, Stewart continued with the parent company while also spending a year teaching part-time at various conferences and community colleges. "I was teaching at a conference in 2002 and ran into a couple old Cisco colleagues," and in 2002, he returned to the company where his career began.
Stewart has been advising companies for more than 20 years. "I'm fascinated by the innovation speed at which small businesses grow," said Stewart who has been sitting on the boards of small companies and crossing paths with investors and advisers for year.
As so many leaders in the security industry realize, Stewart also recognized that there is a lack of available talents. "The criticality of IT systems has now hit a peak. There is not a single business that doesn't use IT at a very core level. Computer security is equally as important. Service needs to run and be safe. With the total amount of data and the rate at which things change, the only one solution is technology. Even if you did have the people, you can't get them fast enough," said Stewart.
Now, more than ever, the security industry needs people whose skill sets are at the intersection between technology, business, and critical thinking. "If you apply all three of those, that's the type of people we need tons of," said Stewart.
"The level of critical thinking that requires taking the data and modeling it and knowing what's important still requires hands on operations and a knowledge of underpinning how the organization works and an ability to react dynamically to what you are told," he continued.
So if you are just starting out and feeling disenchanted, underappreciated, or hopeless, let those sources of frustration define your greater purpose. Become visionary, stay the course, and allow yourself to grow and evolve with the technology around you.
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