Infosec 2022 scholarship winner Anthony Torres: Bringing the Marine Corps ethos to the cyber domain
From his earliest days in the U.S. Marine Corps to today, Anthony Torres hasn’t shied away from a good challenge.
“I always go back to my time in the Marine Corps,” notes Torres, “There was a point in time where I just got thrown into the heat of things, but I had to take care of what needed to be done. I ended up leading my department's systems and network administration, and that was a trial by fire that definitely shaped me into who I am today.”
This mentality has continued until today as Torres pursues his goal of earning a Ph.D. in cybersecurity and teaching others about the quickly-evolving field. And, through it all, Torres will bring his beloved service dog, Tillman, along for the journey.
Unique stories of drive and motivation like these from Torres make Infosec proud to name him one of the select few 2022 Infosec Scholarship winners.
What should you learn next?
What should you learn next?
Once a Marine, always a Marine.
Torres was in the Marine Corps from 2014 to 2020, having the opportunity to be exposed to many technical roles throughout his tenure. While he mainly spent his time as an information systems security officer and a system and network administrator, his roles pushed him to learn and grow. In addition to these positions, Torres earned his CompTIA Security+ certification.
“All of my roles taught me how to deal with all the problems that come up unexpectedly, how to handle change, how to handle personnel, and how to lead,” reflects Torres on his time in the Marines. “And I don't think without that actual experience I would be able to perform how I do now.”
Following his military service, Torres transitioned to a role with Lockheed Martin as an information systems security officer. In this role, Torres has also been exposed to a wide range of experiences and challenges, which he believes set him up for a bright future.
A growing passion for cybersecurity
Torres has never shied away from challenges and enjoys working on efforts that stimulate him mentally and physically. While the Marine Corps certainly satisfied both goals, Torres has found that the fast-paced IT world can, too.
“IT, in general, is always changing, and that means that I have to keep changing. I have to keep learning. I have to keep up with all the trends because my knowledge will only be good for so long,” notes Torres.
And that's where cybersecurity comes in.
In particular, Torres has learned that, unlike in other professions, one has to always stay on top of their game. “In cybersecurity, sometimes there are five ways to do something, and that might change every single year because it becomes an outdated best practice. And I think it's so important that people keep up with that.”
Torres hopes to build on his on-the-job experience with a sound academic foundation, beginning with his bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and enhanced with training from Infosec.
The power of mentorship
There’s more than just his internal drive motivating Torres. There are also the lessons that Torres gained from the late mentors he had the chance to serve with.
“It’s why I'm pursuing my degree, why I'm pursuing my certifications…it's because these marines, my mentors, they all want you to do better. They want you to do better than them,” recalls Torres of the men and women that shaped his outlook. “My mentors taught me that I needed to remember to invest in myself first and that everything else will fall into place shortly after that.”
And now, Torres is applying these lessons in his professional career, taking the time to be proactive and formalize his training while preparing to continue his graduate-level studies.
Like many cybersecurity professionals, Torres sees cybersecurity's continuing growth and importance in the cloud. He is currently aiming to specialize his graduate-level studies in cloud-based cyber threats while also teaching — and investing — in those around him. This is because Torres believes that organizations will quickly find themselves behind if they don’t stay ahead of the threats and understand the nuances of securing cloud infrastructure.
“And that's why I'm here today, why I'm constantly pursuing my degree, why I'm pursuing my certifications. I'm trying to get ahead of the curve before it reaches us, and we won’t be able to keep up.”