Alan Nobles has dedicated his entire career to healthcare in one capacity or another. Like most cybersecurity professionals, he didn’t aspire to be a cybersecurity professional or study for it during his college years. Yet, he’s found his purpose in helping healthcare organizations manage cybersecurity risk.
I really wanted to share Alan’s story because it can reassure young students that you don’t have to have a perfect 5 or 10-year plan all figured out. I also think it’s worth highlighting that every experience may benefit you in the future, and you may not realize it until you look backwards.
What inspires me when speaking with Alan is how he’s humble and grounded even though he continues to invest in the healthcare community through advocacy at SC HIMSS or teaching grad students about security and privacy best practices in healthcare. The world is such a better place thanks to selfless leaders like Alan.
I hope you will enjoy my chat with Alan and that he will move you to pursue your purpose in cyber or health IT. And don’t forget to pay it forward like Alan does.
Recommendations from Alan, some not covered in the podcast
- Sometimes you have to spend time away from your friend circle and meet new people. If you want to learn how to do something that you don’t know how to do right now…a sport, a skill, a job, etc., you are probably going to have to spend time with people that know how to do the thing you want to learn.
- When you’re an adult, you get to do anything you want but If you’re going to make stupid choices, you better be rich. It’s way cheaper to be smart. Being stupid is expensive.
- If you regret anything you did or said when you were younger, don’t post what you do or say right now on the Internet. It will be there forever to remind you that what you’re doing or saying at your age today isn’t as cool as you think it is.
- Your phone is the Internet – same thing. Twitter, Snapchat, whatever the new thing is…all Internet.
- If you post something on social media and then delete it, it didn’t delete. It’s still there. You may not be able to see it, but other people with more tech skills than you can see it.
- Think of the Internet and social media as a place to permanently store all of your regrets and a place where people that don’t yet know you or may not like you can see the things you regret you stored there.
- If you meet the boy or girl of your dreams, they are going to Google you. Make sure you don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want them to see.
- Find a fulfilling job but also find other things to have fun outside of work. Find a middle ground where you enjoy your professional and personal life.
- Don’t get into cybersecurity for the sake of gaining a title or a salary. You won’t be happy for those reasons.
- Managing risk is determining how to balance functionality and usability of an application while keeping your data secure.
- It’s fun to be a principal consultant because you work with a variety of clients and you’re always learning.
- Healthcare data is very valuable, and the healthcare system is highly regulated for privacy and security reasons. That is why the healthcare IT space needs more cybersecurity talent and cybersecurity needs to be widely adopted by all members of the healthcare eco-system.
- Imposter syndrome is a symptom of antiquated HR systems and educational roadmaps. Don’t be discouraged by job postings. Work with a recruiter who can be your representative.
- If you wish to work in health IT, find a local HIMSS chapter within your State. They have regular meetings and can support your education and employment in the healthcare ecosystem.
- You can apply for a scholarship if you are studying for health IT with SC HIMSS.
Resources & References
- Personal LinkedIn
- Company – Clearwater Compliance
- Studied at:
- CompTIA – Security+
- CompTIA Security+ Mike Meyers YouTube Videos
- Note that the Security+ exam is now 6.0 and you may need to study the updated material in addition to the videos.
- CompTIA – Network+
- ISACA – CRISC
- CompTIA – Security+
- Teaches at University of South Carolina – Health Information Technology Graduate Program
- Board member of SC HIMSS
Alan Nobles is a Principal Consultant with Clearwater, providing cybersecurity risk management and business impact analysis consulting services to the healthcare industry. Prior to Clearwater, he served as a Senior Cybersecurity Risk Analyst for Novant Health, a large, not-for-profit health system located in NC, SC and GA. Alan earned master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of South Carolina and is currently pursuing a PhD in Health Informatics. He is an active member of (ISC)2, ISACA, SIRA and the Board of Directors of South Carolina Health Information Management and Systems Society (SC HIMSS).
Music by Wolves: “Life Stories”, “Kenya”, “We Make It”