Rebooting your defence career in Cyber

Cyber businesses working with Defence and other national security clients are increasingly employing and supporting ex-defence professionals, and for good reason.

Their hardworking attitude combined with a sound appreciation of the security environment and contemporary threats, make them an ideal fit for a range of cyber security roles.

Cyber has in recent times been recognised as a war fighting domain in its own right, alongside air, land, maritime and space. For Veterans that are passionate about protecting Australia’s national interests, infrastructure or way of life, a career in cyber security is a logical choice. This passion has not been lost on Canberra businesses, who have been quick to recognise the immense value Veteran’s bring to the workplace and cyber security in particular.

Viden is one such company at the forefront of this. A Canberra-based company, owned and run by veterans, Viden has been quick to embrace Veteran’s and help them pivot into or build upon their existing careers in cyber security. Operating two business arms, Viden Labs and Viden Consulting, Viden specialises in providing a range of cyberworthiness and cyber security services to its Defence and national security clients.

A recent finalist in the Prime Ministers’ Veteran Employment Awards, Viden CEO Anthony Barnes is a strong advocate for veteran employment. Supporting veterans transition to successful cyber careers outside Defence has been a central part of his business.

“Cyber space doesn’t recognise national boundaries. For veteran’s that are still passionate about contributing to our national security, a career is cyber security is a really happy medium. You get the ability to work on and contribute to complex, real world problems, without the instability of frequent moves or deployment that is a natural feature of Defence service”

High impact at work, low impact lifestyle

Split between offices in Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane, Anthony says there’s no problem with attracting and retaining defence personnel, particularly in the ACT.

They’re people who have often spent years being deployed to different locations around the world in high-pressure jobs. Post-service life offers them an opportunity to give back to their families and enjoy some welcomed stability. Canberra’s family-centric lifestyle, great job prospects and familiar Defence support networks, makes it an obvious choice for many to settle. 

“Canberra is a mecca for cyber security roles. Not only is it a lovely city to live in, with great schools and universities and great job stability, it really is unrivalled in Australia for some of the most interesting and important cyber security work there is. If you want to work on high-profile, complex problems, Canberra is where you need to be”

Humanity central to success

With many Veteran’s frequently reporting a sense of loss and connection post their service,  providing a welcoming culture and familiar work environment is also key to attracting Veterans. To fill this void, Viden places a strong emphasis on both social and professional development opportunities, to help support and grow their team.

Anthony says their success is also partly because their focus on people with the right attitude and aptitude, rather than long lists of academic credentials.

‘We’d rather have people with a great attitude and aptitude and invest in them long term. We’re looking to out retain our competition, not out recruit them. To do that, we have to provide staff with genuine opportunities to upskill, learn and grow”

Operations Manager, Davina Mansfield, is also proud to say that Viden has up until recently, been a 100% veteran powered company.

‘We’re very much veteran-powered. The skills and attributes Veterans bring is just amazing – highly altruistic people who want to do the right thing for Australia. Through our client engagements, we offer our people an alternate avenue to continuing their service’ says Davina.

‘It’s also not mandatory to come from an ICT background. We have people working across a range of roles from logistics, testing and evaluation and project management, to business analysts and system engineers.’

Strong partnerships equal stronger security

Through their ongoing research, Viden Labs aims to remain at the cutting edge of cyber security evaluation techniques. Viden sees this as critical to providing its clients with increasingly sophisticated hardware, software or supply chain analysis, of the networks or operational technologies employed by them.

This ongoing innovation wouldn’t be possible however without Viden’s strong collaborations across industry, academia, and government. Viden attributes much of its success to the great support it has received from the ACT Government Cyber Security Business Accelerator and the Canberra Innovation Network.

Equally pivotal to their success, has been their place as a key tenant within the University of New South Wales Canberra’s – Launch on Northbourne. 

It’s important for Viden to work with other cyber businesses and researchers who can bolster their work for the country’s protection. Partnering with UNSW Canberra through Launch, has brought them closer to academics, businesses, government and the ACT community to innovate on defence and security.

The secure UNSW Canberra Launch workspace is now home to a growing range of cutting-edge collaborations and problem solving across the cyber security eco-system. Anthony calls it a ‘game changer’.

‘It’s been a great ecosystem in which to work and grow. Collaboration will be increasingly key in this industry and UNSW Canberra Launch has been a phenomenal epicentre of great companies doing great things,’ says Anthony.

‘Cyber is very broad domain and Launch has managed to assemble a diverse range of companies who are all doing very different things. This diversity of talent, ideas and expertise is one of its greatest strengths’

 Big clients are paying attention

UNSW Canberra Launch has become a focal point for home-grown security talent and is attracting some of the best and brightest people and companies in the field.

‘We all have a shared interest in seeing Australia remain a prosperous, safe and secure country. Collaborating on projects with others in the community, where we don’t necessarily have all the expertise required is natural part of the community’

‘I think the Launch community is increasingly seen as a hub of innovative, sovereign problem solvers. As a hub for so many cyber orientated businesses, it continues to attract a broad spectrum of high-profile clients, seeking support with a long list of contemporary challenges.

For Veteran’s that are looking to continue their contribution to national security, Canberra’s vibrant cyber security eco-system offers a great pathway to achieve this. With support from the ACT Government, places like UNSW Canberra Launch and innovative company such as Viden, Canberra is fast becoming Australia’s location of choice for those seeking a career in cyber security.

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