Michael Jenks: Lessons from a Former DoD Professional

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About the Guest:

Michael Jenks, commonly referred to as "Jenks," is an esteemed figure with an extensive background in the Department of Defense (DoD). With a penchant for cybersecurity and a wealth of experience in cyber warfare, Jenks offers a valuable skill set that has been honed in high-stakes environments where precision and accuracy are paramount. Having started his journey in computer science, he quickly developed a fascination with digital code and its impact. Transitioning from dial-up ISPs to L-3 Communications, where he gained clearance for classified work, Jenks eventually founded his own defense contracting company specializing in offensive and defensive cyber operations.

Episode Summary:

In this riveting episode of the Phillip Wylie Show, host Phillip examines the intersection of cybersecurity and defense backgrounds through his conversation with Michael Jenks from Interpris. The dynamic dialogue delves into how professionals from critical sectors, such as the Department of Defense, bring innovative solutions and meaningful perspectives to the cybersecurity industry.

Jenks shares his 'origin story,' which follows a trajectory starting from gaming and IRC administration, leading to a computer science degree and an impressive tenure at various defense-related roles. His story highlights a critical insight: that the best cybersecurity defenses are often forged in the crucible of real-world operations where the cost of failure is immense.

Central to the conversation, Jenks unravels the methodology behind Interpris—a platform designed to contextualize and elevate existing cybersecurity tools through continuous threat exposure management. Leveraging a thorough understanding of threat profiles, Interpris aims to help organizations prioritize potential risks based on industry, operations, and data sensitivity. The platform's philosophy is clear—fortify defenses by optimizing tools that organizations already possess, using informed strategies and continuous monitoring to proactively counter advanced cyber threats.

Key Takeaways:

Cyber professionals with DoD experience bring invaluable expertise to cybersecurity solutions.

Interpris focuses on improving an organization's security posture by providing context and strengthening existing tools.

Assume breach approach and implementing best practices are essential for a robust security posture.

Insider threats are as significant as external threat actors, making holistic security measures necessary.

The emergence of AI in both offensive and defensive cybersecurity tools is rapidly changing the landscape.

Notable Quotes:

"I mean, man, if you have it, background, a clearance, man, there are just a ton of jobs." -Michael Jenks

"From just the digital realm. Gamer growing up. Cut my teeth on hacking back in the day." -Michael Jenks

"You already have enough tools, right. It's really just that optimized configuration, that prioritization, that customization." -Michael Jenks

"It's my job to defend this environment. I have no idea where we're protected, where we're not." -Michael Jenks

"What we're doing is weaving together all of these products, from EDR, from network sensing, to firewall, to your ESM." Michael Jenks






Michael Jenks: Lessons from a Former DoD Professional
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