Professional Development

How I Got Here: Hector Peralta continues serving the country through cybersecurity

The US Army veteran offers advice on how to turn a military career into a successful one in the private cybersecurity industry.

Hector Peralta, Founder of BlackRose Cyber Solutions

(Courtesy photo)

Hector Peralta got his start in tech via the military. The US Army helped him leave his hometown of Brooklyn, New York and find opportunity in a world with very slim margins of error.

Back in 1997, Peralta joined the 800th Military Police Brigade as an IT noncommissioned officer (NCO).  He was assigned into an imagery intelligence specialty, where his knack for tech brought him to cybersecurity. He rose through the ranks over 17 years as a NCO before becoming a cyber warfare sergeant with the Department of Defense‘s (DOD) Cyber Crime Center.

“One of the earliest lessons I learned was [to] always volunteer for all classes, because you’re not going to wear green for the rest of your life,” Peralta told Technical.ly.

When Peralta started in the military, there wasn’t an obvious pathway into cybersecurity. Still, he took advantage of the times cyberdefense classes were offered. Peralta eventually left his post for the Army Reserve Cyber Operations Group and made his way through the private sector, working with CACI International in penetration testing and CNF Technologies as a principal chief network officer.

At 43, Peralta is now running BlackRose Cyber Solutions, his own Hanover, Maryland-based company that specializes in penetration testing and risk assessment for small businesses. His military contacts enabled him to hire people with experience that is hard to find in the private sector.

BlackRose Cyber Solutions is a current participant in the fourth cohort of two-year Baltimore incubator Hutch, which Fearless created to support civic tech companies that are working in the area of digital services for the federal government.

“Little by little you’re helping the country, business by business,” Peralta said about his company’s work improving businesses’ cyberdefense infrastructure. “One of the things I saw at DOD was the amount of intrusions by advanced persistent threat organizations.  That [level of intrusions] would get into companies from media to finance to casinos. It was the Wild Wild West. They could do whatever they want.”

Advertisement

Recent stats on cyberattacks back this up. In 2019, Verizon’s data breach report built upon an analysis of 41,686 security incidents, which included 2,013 confirmed data breaches. The report noted that 43% of all breaches involved small businesses. Moreover, IBM‘s own 2021 report found that data breaches cost companies an average of $4.24 million around the world last year.

Peralta has seen cyberattacks tank businesses’ futures, and it’s his passion to prevent that. He’s also seen people come into cybersecurity after teaching English for a living and becoming amazing. On the other hand, he’s seen others that come for the high salary and end up not being very good.

“If I were to boil down the difference between those two people, it would be the interest,” Peralta said. “What you do in your time off is what counts. If you’re really interested in cyber, you’ll dedicate some time to it on your time off. How much time you invest in it is what you’ll get back.”

For those that want to follow his military-to-tech path, Peralta has very succinct advice.

“It’s pretty much like anything else,” he said. “Anyone who joins any organization and has a really good attitude [could succeed, and I define] ‘good attitude’ by saying, ‘What are the opportunities? How do I contribute? How do I become an asset and not a detriment to whatever organization I join?’ And the military is all about being there for the person on your left and right.”


Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. -30-
Subscribe to our Newsletters
Technically Media
Connect with companies from the Technical.ly community
New call-to-action

Advertisement