By Nancy Romps
Linnetta D. Jones
Linnetta D. Jones
Lifelong learner Linnetta D. Jones recently joined an elite cadre of cybersecurity experts becoming one of just 1,393 professionals worldwide to hold (ISC)² Certified Information Systems Security Professional-Information Systems Security Management Professional (CISSP-ISSMP) certification. It’s a globally recognized standard of achievement that confirms an individual’s knowledge in the field of information security and commitment to the profession. Jones, who works at our Aberdeen, Md., site, spoke with us about the path that led her to MITRE—and what keeps her here.
Before I first came to MITRE, I was looking for where I wanted to be. Growing up in Baltimore City, I always loved science and math, but I couldn’t go right to college. Instead, I held a series of executive assistant and accounts-payable jobs. But I was determined to continue my education someday, somehow.
As an executive administrator at Aberdeen Proving Ground, my seat was in the network operations center, with the information technology and cybersecurity professionals. I saw firsthand the technical aspects of IT and soaked up everything the team was doing. They started showing me different tasks, then asking for my help with their day-to-day activities. Before long, I was helping with IT so much that the branch chief encouraged me to start studying and getting certifications, starting with CompTIA Security+ in 2013.
Soon after, I began a new job at MITRE. And with each day, my motivation and passion for my career continues to grow—as does my love of learning.
At MITRE, with each day, my motivation and passion for my career continues to grow—as does my love of learning.
MITRE’s educational benefits are outstanding. I’ve been able to take all the classes I need, plus explore training opportunities for my career in cybersecurity.
CISSP-ISSMP certification is for the management perspective of technical work. It’s very specific, with a focus on skills such as security leadership and governance, security compliance management, and contingency management. The coursework for the certification test included comprehensive chapters of information to review, practice exams, and weeks of study. My hands-on experience really helped, too.
As Aberdeen’s lead cyber risk manager, I’m responsible for ensuring the security of our organization’s information systems and data. Among other tasks, I develop and implement information systems security policies and procedures, provide security-awareness training to employees, and identify potential vulnerabilities, which reduces risk to the system environment and to MITRE.
Every day is different. Basically, I’m solving problems all day long. First I assess the labs and check that all the systems are up and operational. Next, I review system scans and address any outstanding issues, then work with my systems administrator to resolve them. Then I’m usually assisting team members in the lab or working on policies and other documentation.
I came to MITRE with an associate's degree in business administration. In addition to multiple cybersecurity certifications, I’ve used MITRE's educational benefits to pursue a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland Global Campus, all while working full-time. It’s been challenging, but I’m proud to say I am currently finishing my last cybersecurity course—and eagerly anticipating graduation in May 2023.
I’m forever grateful—for so many supportive mentors, the work, and the assistance in reaching my educational goals.
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