March 10, 2020

Employee Spotlight: Ethan Wolkowicz, Senior Security Engineer

Ethan Wolkowicz, Senior Security Engineer, Protenus

Our mission at Protenus is to advance the science of healthcare by bringing together creative and skilled individuals who are passionate about the security, usability, and applicability of health data. As this information becomes more voluminous, comprehensive, and, as a consequence, more vulnerable, we are building scalable, insightful solutions that address critical issues preventing the efficient, safe, and effective delivery of patient care. 

Our team is comprised of a diverse group of people who come together to achieve this shared mission. To give a glimpse into our culture and highlight the diversity of our team, we’ve asked Ethan Wolkowicz Sr. Security Engineer, to share more about his experience working at Protenus. 

What’s your role at Protenus, and what do you do?

I work closely with teams across the company to ensure best practices are being used and to stay up-to-date on any new projects, ensuring there isn’t potential risk to the organization. I also build and maintain security infrastructure to identify risks and vulnerabilities as well as proactively identify and block malicious activity. 

Another part of my role involves working with our privacy and compliance teams to make sure our policies are up-to-date with current regulations and requirements. I also run our annual SOC 2 Type 2 audit which requires working closely with external auditors. Maintaining compliance for the audit requires being vigilant about ongoing tasks throughout the year to ensure there aren’t any gaps in security. Additionally, I maintain employee training to help educate and bring awareness to every-day threats and what to do if a team member identifies a threat to the organization. In everything we do security is our focus, whether it’s working with engineering and operations for platform security or with others to help guide them in ways that will reduce overall security risk.

What did you do before coming to Protenus? 

I was part of the systems administration/operations team at AOL before transitioning to a DevSecOps role - which I held for two years.  These roles were split between teams in both Northern Virginia and Baltimore and I was fortunate to work with some really terrific people. I also spent 6 years working in data centers and web hosting services and learned a lot about the underlying architecture and required best practices for these systems.

What initially attracted you to Protenus?

I was drawn by the opportunity to work for a company that’s in the business of helping people; previously I had worked in advertising technology and I wanted to change my career focus from data collection to data privacy.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I really enjoy being able to build a successful program from the ground up and having the ability to create its direction, to see things from start to finish and work with some of the smartest people in the Baltimore area.  Additionally, I no longer have to drive on 495 each week! 

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since starting at Protenus?

Having an opportunity to join a company early in the process of its growth, I’ve learned a lot about the nature of executive decision making. I hope that seeing how that system works together will prepare me for becoming part of upper management as I’ve witnessed how trust is a key element of guiding a growing business. I’ve also discovered how challenging it is to find and retain good talent in this field - hiring and retaining the right people is critical for a growing organization. 

How has working at Protenus affected your career?

It’s created a few options but I haven’t decided which path I’ll take. I’ll have to decide, but I can take my time. I’m in a more security-focused role than when I began. 

Earlier in my career at Protenus was an interesting time.  In a startup culture you wear many hats at first. I was handling internal IT work, Production Operations/DevOps, Security and refilling paper towels when needed.  Now that the company has grown we have more time and resources dedicated to growing and improving our security program. This has forced me to understand and make management decisions, manage the overall security program and also focus on the technical aspects of the field

What has surprised you the most about working at Protenus? 

In our original offices, I was surprised at how well people could work together in such a small space! I’ve discovered how important it is to maintain working relationships, especially at smaller companies like when Protenus was in a early startup phase.  As a security professional, I find it’s important to be trusted and build relationships so that others trust your decisions and follow your lead when necessary. 

In 10 words or less, how would you describe the culture at Protenus? 

It’s always exciting and constantly maturing.

We are growing! View our Careers page, if you’d like to see current job opportunities at Protenus.

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