Q&A: Dr. Ron Martin, Capitol Tech's Professor of Practice in Critical Infrastructure
November is Critical Infrastructure Security Month, which is focused on bringing awareness to the 16 sectors of Critical Infrastructure which are essential to the function of the nation. According to an article published by Security Magazine, "the Global State of Industrial Cybersecurity report found that 74% of IT security professionals globally are more concerned about a cyberattack on critical infrastructure than an enterprise data breach."1
Capitology Blog talked with Dr. Ron Martin, Capitol Tech's Professor of Practice in Critical Infrastructure, Industrial Control System Security, and Access and Identity Management, to discuss critical infrastructure and the importance of celebrating national Critical Infrastructure Security Month.
Question: How would you define Critical Infrastructure?
Answer: Critical Infrastructure is those facilities and systems we rely on to exist.
Q: How does Critical Infrastructure impact people everyday?
A: Critical Infrastructures support our way of life. In the U.S., the Communications sector drive our cell phones and internet. The Energy Sector represent the electrical power, oil, and gas industries. The Emergency Services contribute to protection and life-safety of the citizenry.
Q: When did you first begin to work in the Critical Infrastructure industry?
A: My first involvement with Critical Infrastructure work was when I was serving at the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2010 I served on the Government Coordinating Council for the Government Facilities Sector Plan. This plan covered U. S. Government Buildings, all education facilities from kindergarten to universities, monuments and icons.
Q: Why do you think it is important to celebrate Critical Infrastructure Security Month as a university?
A: Recognition of this month, highlights Capitol Technology University’s curriculum that educates our communities about the importance of Critical Infrastructure. It also provides an annual focal point to recognize Capitol Tech as an academic resource for research into the planning and operational art of Critical Infrastructure.
Q: How does Capitol Tech tie in Critical Infrastructure to its educational programs?
A: Capitol Technology University's Critical Infrastructure program supports all the university’s four strategic goals. The approach builds upon the already successful graduate areas of study, such as the Doctor of Philosophy in Business Analytics and Decision Science, Doctor of Science in Counterterrorism, Doctor of Science in Cybersecurity, Doctor of Philosophy in Technology, Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, Master of Science in Internet Engineering, Master of Science in Cyber and Information Security, Master of Science in Computer Science, and Master of Science in Information Systems Management (which integrates business and technology at the graduate level).
All of the fields of study these degrees focus on are components of Critical Infrastructure. For instance, without solid security plans, both cyber and physical, the 16 sectors would be at risk for major breaches that could impact millions of people.
Q: What advice would you give to students or prospective students who hope to have a career in Critical Infrastructure?
A: This program prepares students for real-world situations in a multitude of industries including:
- Facilitating a national effort to strengthen and maintain critical infrastructure from cyber threats;
- Ensuring that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policies and procedures enable critical infrastructure owners and operators to receive appropriate and timely cyber threat information;
- Seeking industry sector-specific expertise to develop voluntary security and resiliency strategies and to ensure that the allocation of federal resources is cost effective and reduces burdens on critical infrastructure owners and operators;
- Providing risk management assistance to entities and education to critical infrastructure owners and operators; and
- Coordinating research and development strategies for Critical Infrastructure.
Q: What kind of careers are available for people with degrees in Critical Infrastructure?
- Principal Advisor for Critical Infrastructure Protection - average base salary, $113,1571
- Director, Corporate Planning and Analysis - average base pay, $113,8851
- Intelligence Analyst – Critical Infrastructure Protection Security Researcher - average salary, $100,8252
- Security Consultant Trusted - average base pay, $81,2791
- Resilient Systems Director - $121,998 national average/$147,112 Washington, DC area average1
For more information about Critical Infrastructure and how cyber and physical security factor into the sectors, watch Dr. Martin's webinar titled Stop Issuing Secure Credentials to Impostors: A case for the Identity, Credential, and Access Management Construct.
1. Security Magazine. (2020, March 26). Critical Infrastructure Cyberattacks a Greater Concern than Enterprise Data Breaches. Retrieved from https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/91992-critical-infrastructure-cyberattacks-a-greater-concern-than-enterprise-data-breaches.