Meet A ServiceTrader

Fred Chase, Senior Security Engineer

Fred is a Senior Security Engineer. He works on the DevOps team but collaborates with all departments to keep ServiceTrade secure.

What do you do here at ServiceTrade? 

I’m the senior security engineer. Cyber security is important for any kind of company, especially technology companies. I was hired to focus solely on that. Working with others across all departments to keep ServiceTrade secure is my job.

Awesome! Can you explain what cyber security is for those of us who have little knowledge? 

The rise of the online world where everybody’s connecting to everyone else over the internet has opened up a whole new realm of cyber attack possibilities. In other words, people can hack into systems that they’re not supposed to get into. They can steal information or they can sell it, or they can encrypt your data and try to get you to pay via ransomware. There are all kinds of bad things that can happen. And, you know, there’s also been developments like Bitcoin, which makes it easier for cyber attackers to get money anonymously in a way that they won’t get caught.

So this requires a response on the defense side. So the whole field of cyber security has been growing quickly and has become a sort-of sub-specialty in technology made up of people who focus on security and understanding all of the things you can do to help protect the data and systems that are your technology stack.

How did you come to work in security? 

I have a very unconventional background. I got to cyber security via poker. So I graduated from Stanford a long time ago. They didn’t even have a computer science major at the time. But I took a lot of computer classes, math classes, physics, statistics and probability, and all that stuff. Lots of technical classes, because I’ve always enjoyed that. And then when I graduated, I got a job in programming. I did that for about a year and a half and then I quit that to play poker for a living.

You mean for a living? Tell us more! 

Actually, I need to take a step back. In college, I actually took a year off and moved to Las Vegas to be a professional blackjack player. But I didn’t like that as much. About halfway through the year I switched to poker and decided that was a much better way to make a living. And so then I went back, graduated from college did the traditional career thing for a while.

Then, Texas Hold ’em was legalized in California, and I found it was so much more fun. The games were easy because a lot of players didn’t know how to play very well then, and it was easy to make good money at that. So I was like, this is a lot more fun, and I’m making more money than I am in programming. So maybe I’ll just do poker.

That led to a 25-year career.

I can see how poker could lead to cybersecurity…I think. Were you playing online? 

The last ten or so years, I was playing online.  I actually like playing online better than in person. It’s very mathematical, and you can also play in more than one table at a time, so very good players could play a very sort of straightforward mathematical style where there isn’t psychology or reading people and tells and stuff like that.

But eventually, it became tough to make money. There were a lot of good players and bots, and the writing was on the wall. It was great while it lasted, but it began to dry up, and I knew I needed to switch careers.

Everyone here at ServiceTrade is very interested in cyber security, and you don’t always get that.

Was cyber security a natural step back into the traditional career world? 

I actually thought I’d burned myself. I said: I I can’t ever get back in that. My resume is shot now! But then I found out about certifications, so I got a Linux certification, and I got a networking certification. I started applying for jobs and landed at HP which began a decade-long journey of building lots of skills.

Tell us about your time at ServiceTrade so far. 

We’re already adding more tools that’ll help us better identify potential security problems and fix them. And I’ve begun working with various managers and leads in the company to see what we can do to be more secure.  We’re doing penetration testing and will soon begin looking at third-party audits and certifications.

I love it here. I think it’s so fun. I went to ServiceTrade Dayz and had a blast. Everyone here at ServiceTrade is very interested in cyber security, and you don’t always get that. A lot of people are like: “Oh, it’s the security folks get lost. Don’t bother me. You’re slowing me down.” But at ServiceTrade people want me to teach them. I work with a lot of departments—product, IT, human resources, finance—and everyone has been fabulous and eager to learn.

The backing I have from upper management and the interest across the company has been great.

Last question: what do you do for fun these days?

I love to travel. I lived in Peru for six years, which is where I met my wife.

Now, I like to travel with my wife and kids (9 and 13). We’re going to Florida soon, so looking forward to that!