Cybersecurity Jobs

What Is An ESOP? An Inside Look At What It Means To Be An Employee Owner

Have you ever wondered what it means when companies call themselves employee-owned? Or maybe you’ve heard of an ESOP, but you’re not really sure how it works?

If you’re ready to take more control over your career and work for a company that values your contributions, then it’s time we took a deep dive into the world of ESOPs.

So grab your swimsuit and nose plugs because we’re about to take a dip!

How An ESOP Works For The Company

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) act as an employee benefit plan. They allow a company’s employees to become owners of that company.

By regularly giving shares of the company to its employees, a company should see a number of benefits, such as increased employee productivity, stronger retention, and improved job satisfaction. In turn, a company may experience higher profitability, lower turnover, and is more able to recover from economic downturns.

At ASEC, we are an employee-owned small business. We are proud to be able to offer our employees an employee stock option plan and all the benefits it entails. Our mission is to make sure everyone who works at ASEC has a sense of ownership in the success of the company.

How An ESOP Benefits Employees

Since an ESOP is a company-funded retirement plan (similar to 401K and profit-sharing plans) that provides tax deferred investments for employees, it is an investment in its employees’ futures.

What does this mean for the employee-owner? And what about for the company?

As an employee, you will accumulate capital for your future retirement at no cost to you whatsoever, while the company gets the benefit of ensuring that their interest and the employee’s interest stays aligned.  

At this point you may be thinking that it sounds like being a part of an ESOP gets you free money.

Essentially… yes!

Every year ASEC contributes a percentage of your salary to a trust in your name. The specific amount of that percentage is determined after an independent audit is done from the previous year.

The annual profit and growth of the company, which are a direct result of your hard work as an employee during the year, will generally affect the value of the shares of company stock that get allocated to your personal account.

Contributions will vary from year to year, but as an employee owner you could expect to see amounts ranging from 2% to 4% of your annual salary. 

Instead of other retirement plans where you’re donating a portion of your paycheck, your only contribution to this plan is your dedication to the company, your career, and to our mission of supporting our nation’s warfighter.

The Tax Benefits Of An ESOP

With an Employee Stock Option Plan, a company’s employees don’t pay tax when their shares are contributed to the ESOP. Instead, those taxes come with the distribution, at a rate that is favorable to them.

What’s more, these distributions are allowed to be rolled into an IRA (or comparable retirement plan) while they accumulate gains, meaning they can be taxed as capital gains later.

The Disadvantages Of An ESOP

Now that you’ve heard your hard work at ASEC is rewarded with both a paycheck and shares of the company you’re supporting, you must be wondering what the drawbacks to an ESOP are.

You know, what’s the fine print?

There really isn’t any. We promise! You are eligible to receive a distribution of the vested plan benefit allocated to your accounts beginning at a certain period after your separation from employment with ASEC.

For example, if you retire at the age of 65, you’d receive your ESOP distribution starting the following year in up to 5 equal annual installments; amounts below $10,000 would be paid in a lump sum.

Join ASEC, And Be A Part Of Our ESOP

We hope we’ve piqued your interest in ESOPs and what it means to be an employee-owner. This plan is yet another way ASEC rewards its employees for their hard work and commitment to the organization. If you’d like to be a part of an employee-owned company, we encourage youto learn more about ASEC here, then view our open job opportunities here.

Your New Career in Cybersecurity

If you’re looking to grow your cybersecurity career, you’re in the right place, at the right time.

career in cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is currently one of the most important and most popular career paths in the United States. At last check, there were more than 700,000 job postings for positions within the field.

Those positions include jobs like cybersecurity analysts, software developers, cybersecurity consultants, vulnerability analysts, system administrators, and more. Depending on the level of experience and certifications, cybersecurity professionals have the potential to earn an annual salary in the range of $90,000 to over $150,000 per year!

Even with high employer demand and the alluring earning potential, why are there so many open cybersecurity career opportunities? 

Because there is a cybersecurity skills gap. If you’re reading this because you’re looking to start your cybersecurity career, we’re here to help you figure out just what you need to do – and learn how to be a more competitive applicant – to close that gap and land your next job.

The Career Prospects of Working In Cybersecurity

There are cybersecurity opportunities for emerging professionals and established professionals alike. If you’re not immersed in the field, though, how can you know which is which?

Let’s start by taking a look at a few common cybersecurity job titles broken down by experience.

Entry-Level Cybersecurity Jobs

  • Cybersecurity Specialist
  • Penetration Tester
  • Incident & Intrusion Analyst
  • Information Security Analyst

Mid-Level and Experienced Cybersecurity Jobs

  • Cybersecurity Engineer
  • Cybersecurity Architect
  • Chief Information Security Officer

Typical Educational Requirements For A Cybersecurity Career

Now that you have an idea of the kind of job you might be targeting based on your amount of experience, let’s see how your educational experience matches up.

As a rule, cybersecurity professionals most often need formal education and training. How much education can depend on the role.

For entry-level cybersecurity jobs like cybersecurity specialists, almost 20% didn’t require a bachelor’s degree. While that means fully 80% do, there are some possibilities of starting out with other types of formal training.

More advanced cybersecurity roles like, Cybersecurity Engineers and CISOs, typically require formal education. At this level, a quarter of jobs may require a graduate-level degree and 8+ years of experience, with some experience required at the management level. 

More About ASEC Cybersecurity Careers

ASEC provides cyber and information security support to several DoD mission-critical programs. We also have a corporate information/cyber team that keeps our internal networks secure. 

Below we are highlighting two of ASEC’s cybersecurity careers.


ASEC Information Systems Security Managers (ISSM) serve as a principal advisor on all matters, technical and otherwise, involving the security of information systems under their purview.

They ensure the correct implementation, assessment, and testing of all security controls established in the Authority to Operate; controls implemented through either the Risk Management Framework (RMF/NIST 800-37) or the Joint SAP Implementation Guide to the RMF (JSIG).

They manage all Information Systems Security Officers, Network Administrators, and System Administrators for their system.


ASEC Information Systems Security Officers (ISSO) support classified computing environments, interface with the Information Systems Security Manager (ISSM) to ensure adherence to all relevant RMF or JSIG policies.

They are responsible for system compliance, auditing, security plan development, and delivering information systems security education and awareness.

They coordinate any changes or modifications to the system with the ISSM and formally notify the ISSM when required changes occur that affect system authorization.

They direct the actions of Network Administrators and System Administrators in system patching, malicious code protection, system backup, and system recovery.

Start Your Cybersecurity Career With ASEC

Ready to make your next move as a cybersecurity professional? Then take some time and look through ASEC’s career page to see what opportunities we may have for you.

Cybersecurity Training and How to Work in the Field

If you’re looking to get into cybersecurity training, it’s important to know what it entails, what kind of job opportunities there are, and how to get your foot in the door.

Cybersecurity training

Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing field. With our increasing reliance on technology, the need for cybersecurity training is rising. 

With 3.5 million job openings forecast through 2025, cybersecurity is shaping up to be one of the top 10 fastest growing occupations.

But what exactly do professionals do with their cybersecurity training? 

Cybersecurity analysts are responsible for analyzing data to identify security threats and vulnerabilities. They work to protect computer networks and systems from attacks and unauthorized access.

To be successful in this field, you’ll need to have strong analytical and problem-solving skills. You’ll also need to be able to communicate effectively, as you’ll be working with a variety of stakeholders.

If you’re interested in a career in cybersecurity, now is a great time to get started. 

To help, we’re breaking down in this post the types of cybersecurity analysts, the necessary skills for a successful cybersecurity career, and where to find your first job. 

What Kinds of Cybersecurity Analysts Are There?

Cybersecurity analysts play an important role in keeping computer networks and systems safe from intrusion and attack. 

Most commonly, these analysts will have a specialty in intrusion detection, incident response, virus protection, auditing of source code, or penetration testing. We’ve broken down the roles for each below.

  1. Intrusion detection specialists monitor networks for signs of unauthorized activity and take action to prevent or mitigate attacks.
  2. Incident response specialists are responsible for investigating and responding to computer security incidents. They may also be involved in developing incident response plans and procedures.
  3. Virus specialists work to protect computer networks and systems from malware and other malicious software as well as implementing antivirus and antimalware programs.
  4. Auditors of source code review software programs and applications for security vulnerabilities, including developing and implementing security testing procedures.
  5. Penetration testers attempt to gain unauthorized access to computer networks and systems in order to assess their security. They may also design, develop, and implement security controls.

What Skills Are Required to be a Cybersecurity Professional?

In order to be a successful cybersecurity professional, there are a combination of technical skills and soft skills that should be developed.

Technical Skills for Cybersecurity Professionals

As a predominantly technical profession, cybersecurity hopefuls are advised to learn and master the following skills.

  • Encryption – To protect sensitive data throughout its entire lifecycle — from creation to storage to transfer and beyond — you’ll need to understand how encryption functions.
  • Risk Analysis and Management – Be knowledgeable about operating systems, encryption, network security, handling and responding to security incidents, and programming languages in order to identify risk and make wise judgments about minimizing it.
  • Knowledge of Operating Systems – This involves being aware of how various operating systems (OSs), such as Windows or Linux, operate as well as how they communicate with one another.
  • Network Security – Knowing the components of a network-based system will enable you to identify potential vulnerabilities and efficiently defend against them.
  • Security Incident Handling and Response – Responding to incidents, gathering proof, and determining the cause are all part of this. It’s critical that you can think quickly and solve problems quickly.
  • Programming Languages – Programming languages like Python, JavaScript, and Java are essential knowledge for cybersecurity workers.

Soft Skills for Cybersecurity Professionals

Though cybersecurity invariably deals with highly technical domains, soft skills are essential for thriving in a cybersecurity environment.

  • Adaptable – Be able to modify your approach as necessary because technology advances so quickly and frequently; this calls for flexibility and open-mindedness.
  • Analytical – Solve challenges more quickly and simply by breaking them up into smaller pieces.
  • Collaborative – As the cybersecurity industry becomes more collaborative, thus it’s crucial to have the soft skills necessary to function successfully in groups.
  • Problem Solver – An essential mindset for cybersecurity. If there is a problem with your system, you must identify the issue and resolve it.

How To Start Working In Cybersecurity

Looking for ways to find your first job in cybersecurity? Here are a few trusted sources:

  1. Traditional Job Boards – Job boards like Indeed, AngelList, and Glassdoor – and even LinkedIn — are a good place to start. This will help you search by region, industry, and experience level.
  2. Industry-Specific Job Boards – Sites like are a great place to find your first cybersecurity job. They often have a focus on a niche like particular technologies or careers (e.g. Women in Cybersecurity).
  3. LinkedIn – The most popular professional social network, LinkedIn, is a terrific location to grow your cybersecurity network. You can connect with others in your industry or cybersecurity businesses using this platform, learn about opportunities and internships, and even exchange details about local events.
  4. Online Communities – There are several online groups where cybersecurity professionals can communicate if you’re searching for a more personal setting. These often include helpful  articles or blogs, and may have forums where users may interact in real-time discussions.

Start Your Cybersecurity Career with ASEC

Another way to get your cybersecurity career started is with ASEC. As an employee-owned, family-oriented company, we provide our team with the freedom and resources to grow personally and professionally.

We’re also focused on providing services to our government customers with the highest standards of integrity and respect.
If that sounds like a mission you’d like to be involved in, click here to see our job openings and join the ASEC team.

Cybersecurity and Jobs for People Who Can Keep a Secret

Can you keep a secret? How about two? Or 256? If you already know about the power of 256-bit encryption, then you know why industrial security and cybersecurity are so important.


(Spoiler alert: A 256-bit encryption is virtually impossible to break. The current estimate for the time it would take to break a 256-bit encryption with modern computers is billions of years.)

As the world becomes increasingly digitized, the need for cybersecurity specialists and the people who can keep our digital information safe has never been greater. Even in our daily lives, trends like the rise of the Internet of Things (like your smart house being connected to your smartphone) have shown us first-hand how the need for cybersecurity has increased exponentially.

What many people don’t realize, however, is that there is a whole other field of security that is just as important: industrial security. Industrial security specialists are responsible for protecting physical infrastructure and industrial facilities from both external and internal threats.

While these career paths are both great jobs for people who can keep a secret (just don’t tell anyone we told you), they are also some of the most important careers for our modern world. We’re breaking down just how valuable they are – and how you can get started – for you today.

Top Secret Security Career Paths To Get Started In Industrial and Cybersecurity

The Responsibilities Of An Industrial Security Specialist

An industrial security specialist is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of industrial facilities, employees, and assets. There are three main roles an industrial security specialist plays:

1. Risk Assessment – An industrial security specialist is responsible for conducting risk assessments of industrial facilities to identify vulnerabilities and threats. They then develop security plans and procedures to mitigate these risks.

2. Security Operations – They are responsible for the day-to-day security operations of industries like manufacturing, information technology, and the military. This includes overseeing security personnel, monitoring security systems, and responding to security incidents.

3. Security Training – They can also be responsible for providing security training to employees of an industrial facility. This training covers topics such as security procedures, emergency procedures, and threat awareness.

What Cybersecurity Specialist Do

Whereas industrial security can be concerned with physical properties, cybersecurity protects electronic information by mitigating security risks.

Specialists in this field work to identify potential security risks and vulnerabilities, and then take measures to prevent or mitigate these risks. This involves developing and implementing security policies and procedures, conducting security audits, and managing security incidents. 

They typically perform three main roles:

1. Identifying Vulnerabilities – Cybersecurity specialists identify weaknesses in an organization’s digital defenses. They use a variety of tools and techniques to scan systems for vulnerabilities.

2. Developing Countermeasures – Once vulnerabilities have been identified, cybersecurity specialists develop plans and strategies to mitigate them. This may involve improving an organization’s security posture, deploying security controls, or developing incident response plans.

3. Monitoring and Responding to Incidents – Cybersecurity specialists are also responsible for monitoring for security incidents and responding to them. This may involve investigating incidents, containment and eradication of threats, and recovery of systems.

Benefits To Working In The Security Industry

There are many benefits to becoming an industrial security specialist or cybersecurity specialist. Here are three of the most important benefits: 

  1. High-Demand Career – The number of cyber attacks is increasing every year, and businesses are desperately searching for qualified individuals to protect their systems. As a result, industrial security specialists and cybersecurity specialists are some of the most in-demand professionals in the world.
  2. Well-Compensated – Because of the high demand for their skills, industrial security specialists and cybersecurity specialists can earn high salaries. If you choose this career path, you can expect to earn a comfortable living.
  3. Work That Makes A Difference – You will help make the world a safer place. By protecting businesses from cyber attacks, you will be playing a vital role in keeping the world safe from both virtual and physical harm. This is a rewarding feeling, and it is one of the best reasons to work in the security industry.

Becoming An Industrial Security Specialist or Cybersecurity Specialist

There are many ways to become an industrial security specialist or cybersecurity specialist. Here are four to get you started: 

  1. Get a degree in computer science or a related field. 
  2. Complete an internship or apprenticeship in the security field. 
  3. Join a professional organization such as the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium or the Information Systems Security Association. 
  4. Stay up to date on the latest security threats and trends.

Get Into The Security Industry With ASEC

While getting into the security industry will put your secret-keeping to the test, the benefits are well worth it. Beyond the impressive career prospects, doing important work to keep our information and important industries safe is a job you’ll be proud of.If you’re interested in a career as an industrial security speciality or cybersecurity specialist, get in touch with us today to find out about joining the ASEC team.