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Working at HanaByte

Written By
My Ha blog, Hana Ohana

Venturing into the world of Cybersecruity equates to allowing a floodgate of knowledge to stream into your conscious mind. One could say it is overwhelming but informative at the same time. Just like any prospect starting at a new company, I found myself wondering about familiar doubts about whether I would get along with new colleagues, my performance responsibilities, and my place in the bigger picture of a new organization. HanaByte, as I would come to find, is a small enterprise that attracts talented individuals who bring their most authentic selves to build on its business and culture. However; one of the most common challenges is that a majority of the employees have an introverted personality. In an extroverted society that pushes a business to thrive, how is HanaByte tackling this challenge? 

To answer this extremely broad question, let’s first explore what HanaByte is as a company. One of HanaByte’s Pillars of Culture is having a fluid mindset–which is being able to be adaptable, flexible thinking strategies, embracing diverse perspectives, and making an impact. HanaByte’s bread and butter is its employee’s ability to analyze a prospective client’s current environment and provide a solution that is secure and follows all compliance regulations. Their techniques are acquired from college courses, previous work history, and accreditation and certification exams. Presentations are necessary for every business growth; however, it requires a high level of confidence to present information to a potential consumer who is on the fence if they even need security services. We know we have the talent and understand that presenting takes terabytes of practice. As part of an innovative enterprise, we strategically provide opportunities for all employees to gain first-hand experience with step-by-step exposure. 

Highlighting Talent with Innovation

First is the open door policy–plain and simple. Employees are encouraged to express any concerns, issues, or comments to their direct manager or even our CEO–regardless of how “unimportant” it may feel to them at the moment. Perhaps a widely shared concern takes one individual to voice it. When the issue is brought to light, it can be met with an immediate solution or notated for a long-term resolution. Another platform to open dialogue is the Weekly Ohana, which is a tentative hour-long meeting with all staff members to go over upcoming events, action items, highs and lows–and even, a crowd favorite–emotional outbursts. The goal is for everyone to open up and be tactically vulnerable with one another and start the upcoming work week on a high note. HanaByte quickly became my second family and is a safe place to share laughter, frustration, and sympathy.  

Although HanaByte is a 100% remote organization, what’s missing in physical presence is made up through individual team interactions. You cannot be someone’s Best Friend in Cybersecurity if you can’t even be friends with your teammates. The internal and external components need to be aligned. All staff members are encouraged to set up one-on-one meetings to learn more about their colleagues on a personal and professional level. Unlike Weekly Ohanas where respect and undivided attention are given to each speaker, one-on-ones are much more lax because it is intended for genuine bonding or sometimes troubleshooting. Truthfully, at first, I was overwhelmed by these traditions and practices but to my surprise–I found that it brought me great pleasure to know I have such a diverse yet also relatable teammates. I, too, cannot keep up with the latest dance on Tik Tok AND I had a VHS player growing up. There were an infinite amount of topics and life circumstances that made me feel connected to my new friend. Each workmate forced the corner of my mouth to curl upwards along with a squint in my eyes with little to no effort. As I met each member, I learned that everyone is at different stages of their presentation journey and that we’re all working towards a common goal. I felt a sense of confidence that I could present to my workmates, and even scheduled to present my first Lunch & Learn. 

Lunch n Learn presentations are designed to bring your passion to work and share it with the team while practicing your presentation abilities. Typically, you won’t be nervous talking about your love for cats, great vacation spots, or all of the amazing food joints in Barcelona–the list goes on! With ample practice, HanaByte believes that if you can present to your colleagues, eventually you can present anywhere and to anyone. Additionally, the Cultural Ambassador, Logan Dabbs, makes an effort to have practice assessments to give any feedback or advice on how to improve. As each person is different, there are people who love working off of transcribed notes whereas others can simply improv. Confidence to speak and present is a long-term skill that can be acquired if given the opportunity. Through the curation of these skills, our employees are working towards their next milestones where they participate in Weekly Office Hours and Monthly Webinars. 

Weekly Office Hours are a public-facing initiative where anyone can join and ask questions regarding cybersecurity on Fridays, between 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM on Discord. HanaByte consultants are equipped with knowledge and experience to share with the general population–especially error codes! We are not shy about sharing solutions to save you time and energy. This is one foot towards speaking to an audience beyond the team and building towards Monthly Webinars. As the title states, Monthly Webinars are exactly what you think–where two speakers educate the public on the latest trends and background in cybersecurity. This is taking your classic college course and applying it to real-life scenarios to bring awareness of possible future threats. Although there is not a live audience staring back at our consultants, the idea of being recorded can still be nerve-wracking, so HanaByte has a loose script and runs a practice trial just to ensure each speaker is comfortable. The goal is to have fun because our employees are industry experts and eventually, we want them to attend conferences and be confident as presenters. 

Challenge to Harvest Growth Potential

Call For Presenters (CFP) is one of the scariest tasks for an introvert because we do not like this BUT we’re going to execute it. Having thousands of eyes and ears focused on one individual can lead to any and every error being caught (or so we proceed to believe). A great mentality to approach a wider audience is to envision who the audience is and what the goal of this presentation is. Educating a younger audience versus making a sales pitch to tech CEOs are two completely different scenarios but the intent is to leave an impression. Overall, Hanabyte believes in character development for both its employees and community outreach. 

Throughout my interactions with our CTO, Eric Evans, he has often reminded me to look at the bigger picture: “Am I providing you with all the tools/technical content you need to succeed?” Prior to HanaByte, I knew the importance of Cybersecurity and how it impacts your day-to-day routine; however, there isn’t a clear guide on where to start incurring knowledge. With Eric’s guidance and time investment to gauge my academic journey, I am proud of what I was able to absorb in just 3 months. As I discovered that both federal and state organizations can benefit from HanaByte’s expertise in security, I felt a sense of belonging and how my placement is strategic to grow this wonderful company. A successful business starts with its employees; regardless of where your career takes you, HanaByte aims to be a great chapter of learning, growing, and building your personal branding. 

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