The String and Key Crew: Alec Greider
As part of our ongoing employee spotlight series, we’ll be profiling colleagues who inspire us. Today, meet Alec Greider.
Company Role: Information Security Specialist
Most likely to: Drink six seltzers in a day at the office
Secret talent: Stage diving
Our resident Security superstar didn’t always have ambitions of working in information security. This Brooklynite by way of Florida had dreams of becoming an athlete or a rockstar (hey, there’s still time) but ended up as a technical writer for a cyber security consulting firm where he started working with clients and cranking out documentation. He was intrigued and interested in the cyber and IT security world and that’s where his professional career took off. He was then scouted by his friend Seth who also happens to be S&K’s Head of Platform Engineering and after some convincing conversations with some members of the company, he’s been working at String and Key since June of 2021.
Let’s get to know a little more about Alec.
What do you do, and what does your typical workday look like?
I’m the cyber security guy and it’s my job to figure out what we don’t do or what we need to do from a cyber security perspective. I help make sure that we implement security measures for the company and within our software. This includes ensuring that we’re taking care of any vulnerabilities in our software, reviewing and advising on any changes to our software that may have security implications, and figuring out ways that we could be hacked or attacked as well as coming up with solutions and recommendations to ensure that doesn’t happen. I also work closely with Compliance to make sure we are writing IT-related policies and procedures, putting together security awareness and training plans, and performing risk assessments and other regulatory compliance documentation that we need for various states and regulators.
What’s your favorite part about working at String and Key?
The people and the culture. In previous jobs I’ve held there wasn’t much of a culture or the people weren’t as open to hanging out, having fun, and getting to know each other. At String and Key I’ve found everyone to be really inclusive and friendly. It’s been nice getting to know everyone and being part of a team with a lot of camaraderie which helps make my work worthwhile.
What do you find most challenging about your role?
The company hasn’t needed a dedicated security function before, so it can be really difficult to prioritize things. There is so much to do — whether it be implementing technical controls, writing policies, figuring out how to train people, and all the compliance tasks. Something I’ve learned in my first few months here is to relax while setting up specific long term goals that you can meet incrementally because otherwise you go crazy.
What are the values that drive you?
I try to stick to the idea that every time I do something, I get a tiny bit better at it. It makes every task feel like it has more purpose or value, no matter how annoying or menial that task may be. Let’s say I really don’t want to write a certain policy at any given moment. I know that once I finally complete it, I will be the best I’ve ever been at writing policies and my writing abilities will have improved considerably through that struggle. Or, more of a stretch here, let’s say I don’t want to go to the gym today. If I suck it up and do it, by the end of it I will be in the best shape I have ever been in. I know it doesn’t actually work like that but sometimes it helps to lie to yourself to get stuff done.
How do you stay on top of your game?
I recently started to wake up early, like 3 hours before I need to be up. With months on end of remote working, I fell into the bad habit of waking up 10 minutes before logging into work and that created rough mornings and situations where I just really didn’t want to get out of bed. Now the first thing I do in the morning is make an extravagant breakfast and read a book for a couple hours. It’s very wholesome and nice and helps me ease into the workday in a relaxed state-of-mind. Basically, I discovered waking up early is great and more people should try it.
What drew you to tech and what excites you about the industry?
I was extremely into computer games and video games in general as a kid. All of my interest and knowledge about computers and the internet came at a young age when I spent all my time desperately trying to get the family computer to run World of Warcraft better. This indirectly got me into a lot of education about how the internet works and got me to start taking computers apart, troubleshooting, and eventually building my own computers. Pair that with an English degree and you’ve got yourself a security professional.
If you could swap places with anyone at String and Key, who would it be and why?
Someone on the creative team. I have no artistic talent and those people do really cool work. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be artistically talented. Must be nice!
What unexpected subject could you give a one-hour presentation on with no advance prep?
Something Lord of the Rings or Tolkien-related. When people ask why they didn’t just ride the eagles into Mordor, I could explain for an hour why that wasn’t an option but it’s easier to just say you’re stupid and I hate you and I never want to talk to you again.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
Reading, going to concerts, comedy shows, bars, dinners with friends, and watching sports.
Can you list five hashtags that describe your personality?
The only one I can think of is #Springbreak2022
Wake up early or go to sleep late?
Wake up early.
Read the book or watch the movie based on the book?
Read the book.
Spring or Fall?
Classic rock or old school rap?
Old school rap.
Travel internationally or explore locally?
Interested in working at String and Key? Join us!