Shoring up the First Line of Defense

by Jim Staats | Apr 02, 2012

In Wallace Wakefield’s line of work, it’s almost redundant to say that security is of the utmost importance. Nevertheless, Wakefield, who works in IT management for the U.S. Department of Defense, remains vigilant about ways to upgrade his knowledge and skill set in this vital sector. He thinks he’s found the latest key ingredient.

As an early beta tester for the new CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner  (CASP) certification, Wakefield recounts the profound benefits.

“Any time you can validate what you know with what you should know and fill in the gaps, it is a solid step to self-improvement and professionalism,” said Wakefield, 46. “Holding the CASP (certification) along with the CompTIA Security+ (certification) requires you to fill the gaps on the short areas not used in your day-to-day (duties). In addition, it further shores up your current knowledge and brings a sense of pride knowing that you are able to validate your knowledge level.”

Charged with maintaining proper accreditation for all processes and products encountered within his sphere of influence, Wakefield said he’s been present as the role of security has grown from a small part of fledgling efforts to such a significant piece of today’s precise and ever-changing DoD certification procedures.

“The balance between security and operations has finally become the norm versus the extreme in either direction,” said the resident of San Antonio, Texas, an IT veteran dating back to his work on micros and WANG mainframes in the mid ‘80s.

“Security and IT is a logical flow, and my background developed the logical thought process that enables my success,” Wakefield said.

No matter if he is reviewing software updates, hardware selection, documenting systems and processes or maintaining the DoD certification and accreditation of systems, Wakefield said “whether I want it to or not, security has become the primary piece of everything I do.”

Indeed, he said his greatest career challenge was maintaining the broad level of knowledge required just to do his daily duties in such an evolving professional environment.

Wakefield took great pride in applying his Security+ knowledge along with day-to-day duties to pass the CASP exam “with minimal extra studying of targeted areas.”

He said the CASP does require extensive study into areas and domains an entry-level person would not normally touch, but an IT professional with the proper experience would benefit from the program to “fill in the gaps and jumpstart their career faster than just on-the-job training. It’s always good to make sure you know what you need to know and are still relevant.”

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