MN Entrepreneur Takes on National Cybersecurity

by Valerie Lockhart

Tyler Olson, Founder of Shyld, addressing cybersecurityTen years ago, we were introduced to Tyler Olson. At the time, Olson was launching one of his many successful ventures, SMCpros.com (now, Modern.Foundation). After interviewing Olson recently, I can see why it was said that, “…Tyler Olson is a passionate and amiable guy who isn’t afraid to get in front of hundreds of people to pitch himself and his business.” Olson has been involved in many different aspects of tech; He’s a consummate pro. And now, he’s focusing his eye toward cybersecurity.

Olson has always been a serial entrepreneur. Through middle and high school, he would show up at school events with his camera and charge attendees for copies of the photos. He took that business-focused, innovative spirit with him to the University of St. Thomas, where he graduated from their Entrepreneurial Studies program. From there, he has successfully launched, worked for, and handed off numerous successful ventures. One could argue that he may have a bit of a Midas touch.

Olson’s most recent venture is one that looks to solve problems for many important stakeholders. It has been projected that by 2022, America will be at least half a million people short in cybersecurity roles. This actually creates a huge national security risk, and leaders of the National Security Agency are asking entrepreneurs to get creative in helping to fill this emerging gap.

Tyler Olson (right) created “Shyld Academy” in order to answer that call. Without getting too apocalyptic, a potential “cyber Pearl Harbor” would be catastrophic not only for America, but for the entire world. Our systems and infrastructure are so highly reliant on technology, it is not only bad business to be security lax, but could also be detrimental to our longevity and continued success, on a global scale.

Shyld Academy will serve as both an informational and a training organization, providing online training for anyone who wishes to stay safe from hackers, as well as a training bootcamp for creating a pipeline into the cybersecurity market. As Olson pointed out, “95% of all data breaches could be thwarted by an individual learning just the basics [of cybersecurity] and building good personal security habits.” The online modules are “…just like having your favorite IT professional next to you, walking you through the entire process.”
The Shyld cybersecurity boot camps will be organized training modules of 20-25 person cohorts, the full structure of which is being organized now. Olson’s plan is for these boot camps to increase the attractiveness of the industry and prepare more and more people to fill these important positions, for companies of all kinds.

For people interested in this type of cybersecurity bootcamp training, but not having any background in it already, Olson suggests that people with other certain backgrounds may make great candidates for the program:

  • People with any type of military background tend to do well in this type of training because of their knowledge of security in general, combined with a passion for saving people and infrastructure.
  • Those who come from a background in auditing or compliance may have an easier time seeing issues, catching loopholes, and developing good risk management.
  • Anyone with some type of IT background, though these are different tech skills, having an understanding of software and hardware, and even web development, has a good foundation to build on.

For the rest of us who don’t intend on switching career paths into cybersecurity, but could use a little more personal cybersecurity, Shyld will be a good resource for finding good tips and tricks to help keep our data secure. Olson’s number one suggestion for bringing a bit more security into your practices? “Implement a good password management system. 95% of all data breaches are caused by people not implementing the basics of cybersecurity, particularly things like using the same password across all of their accounts.” It is only a matter of time for the next big website breach, and those using the same password on all sites are highly vulnerable. Set up a structure you can remember, and change them today. Olson also suggests using a service like Last Pass, which offers multi-factor authentication into a password protected list of all your codes, so you only have to remember one to get access to the rest.

Shyld Academy is on pace to have their first cohort together in late Q1 of 2020. They are focused on generating revenue and a first round of capital now through the end of the year. If you’re interested in this project, more information can be found on their fundraising website.

For more information on cybersecurity, you can also check out the upcoming summit in Minneapolis, October 28-30.

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