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A Navy Career and a Love of Computers Sparks Gary Hayslip’s Passion for Cybersecurity

For retired U.S. Navy officer Gary Hayslip, cybersecurity isn’t just his job―it’s his passion. Cultivated through his 21 years of service, and later in civil service, Hayslip’s love of information security has fueled his private-sector career as chief information security officer (CISO) at a leading cybersecurity company and co-author of a popular how-to guide for CISOs.

“What I like about [cybersecurity] is that it doesn’t stop, it doesn’t slow down,” said Hayslip. “It’s a constant challenge that’s always changing and never gets boring.”

Hayslip earned his cyber degree while still on active duty in the Navy, working with advanced weapons systems. He chose University of Maryland University College (UMUC) because he was looking for a well-established, respected school that also worked well with the military.

“I love computers, and I knew that my goal was to work in IT and cybersecurity. When I looked at the [UMUC] curriculum, it worked well with my plans,” Hayslip explained. “Plus, UMUC understood our crazy schedules and deployments, and I was able to take school work with me no matter where I was in the world.”

With the additional training came additional responsibility, and with that, more technical experience and more leadership experience. “Once the Navy discovered what I could do, they said, ‘Okay, you’re still [in your regular job], but now you’re also an IT architect,’” said Hayslip.

Since then, Hayslip has parlayed that experience into a successful and rewarding career in cybersecurity. Today, he is vice president and CISO of Webroot, an internet security company based in Denver, Colorado.

“For me, being a CISO and working in cyber is a mission, kind of like when I was in the military,” said Hayslip. “You feel like you’re serving, giving back.”

Along with colleagues Bill Bonney and Matt Stamper, Hayslip also wrote the “CISO Desk Reference Guide,” a two-volume practical guide for senior-level executives responsible for an organizations' information security.

“When most people hear about cyber, they think of defending against hackers,” said Hayslip. ”But cyber is a broad-ranged discipline. I tell CISOs to get the idea out of their heads that cyber is an IT thing—it’s not. It’s about assessing risk, managing people and priorities, and doing the basics right every day, every time. It’s a community and a field where there’s always something going on and there’[are] always ways you can make things better.”

Also Featured During Military Appreciation Month

In-depth profiles of UMUC Alumnus and U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Eric Konovalov and UMUC Alumnus and retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Vernon Green, who both made successful transitions from military to civilian life. Read the UMUC Global Media Center posts:


UMUC-Facebook Live interviews on the challenges facing veterans making the transition from military to civilian and student life—and the strategies and resources that can help them gain a strong foothold in the world beyond the military. The interviews featured Yvette Branson, clinical psychologist and coordinator of the U.S. Veterans Administration’s Integration to Academic Leadership (VITAL) initiative and UMUC Alumnus and retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Vernon Green. Watch the replays.