- Job title of nominated professional: Founder and CEO
- Company (where nominated professional or team is working): MKACyber
- Website: http://www.mkacyber.com
- Company size (employees): 10 to 49
- Country: United States
- Headquarters Region: North America
In 3 bullets, summarize why this professional or team deserves recognition:
o The W@tchtower methodology, created by Mischel Kwon, is changing not only how security operations are viewed and conducted, but is leveling the playing field for SOC analysts at various levels in the organization. By taking advantage of a use case-based methodology and empowering Tier 1 analysts to learn all aspects of security operations, Mischel’s approach to SOC creates analysts that are engaged, educated, and able to contribute at a high level, making a SOC more effective and improving an organization’s overall security posture.
o Diversity is extremely important to Mischel and she works tirelessly to ensure that diversity is represented throughout the cybersecurity industry. She founded the Cybersecurity Diversity Foundation to support her belief that regardless of age, gender, or race, organizations need to hire the best cybersecurity professional for the job, which is helping to change how cybersecurity is represented and to close the skills gap that the industry has been hindered by since its inception.
o Over the past 12 months, Mischel has led MKACyber as it has doubled in size, while still ensuring the organization keeps its mission, to partner with customers to help them change the way they approach security operations by implementing a mission-focused, repeatable SOC methodology. During this time, MKACyber has helped Fortune 1000 organizations and some of the largest agencies in the U.S. Federal Government better defend their networks while retaining security operations talent through the W@tchTower methodology and training CISOs to spend smart, while better communicating their needs to their respective CEOs and executive boards.
In less than 300 words, summarize the achievements of the professional or team in the nominated category
Mischel Kwon, an elite security operations professional, is changing the way security operations are conducted in both the public and private sectors. Notable achievements during Mischel’s career include:
Founded MKACyber, a rapidly expanding MSSP and security consulting firm with elite SOC expertise. Kwon developed the W@tchtower SOC methodology, which is the foundation for MKACyber’s work and is the brainchild of her 35+ year career in IT and security.
Creating the first Justice Security Operations Center (SOC) while working for the United States Department of Justice, in 2006.
Establishing the Joint Agency Cyber Knowledge Exchange (JACKE) meetings during her time as a director at US-CERT to ensure various agencies were briefed on classified information that affected them. JACKE was created in 2008 and the meetings still take place today.
Helping to improve the security of low land radio systems across the U.S. and established a new security metric that helped move all land radio systems to a more secure system.
Teaching as an adjunct professor at George Washington University for eight years, where she also ran the GW Cyber Defense Lab.
Serving as a member of the IT Council for Western Governor’s University.
Serving as a member of the RSA Conference Selection Committee, where her work helps influence the agenda and reach of one of the cybersecurity industry’s most well-regarded conferences.
Founding the Cybersecurity Diversity Foundation, which is helping to create a career field that welcomes, supports, and provides opportunity and access to all from entry-level to executive and board positions.