A photo headshot of Michael Ko

Michael Ko

Information Systems Security Manager

2 years at Ridgeline

How would you describe your role?

That’s tough to define completely, but generally, I do information security governance, policy, and risk management. Normally, an ISM will be working more in the classified areas. They’ll be managing systems from a security perspective and doing all the paperwork that’s required. But here, it’s classified stuff plus corporate information security. So that’s kind of nice to get that combination of both. I get to stretch myself and do work on both sides of the house.

How’s your experience at Ridgeline been so far?

It’s been wonderful. The way the company operates, it feels like a commercial company, but has some elements of working with the government. I like that combination. And it’s small enough that I’m able to work with other departments. I’m not siloed working on the day-to-day threats. I get to work with the other side of the Security team, work with Human Resources, and work with the Facilities team to understand what we’re doing holistically to protect the information here at Ridgeline. It’s nice to be able to connect with people and build relationships.

How would you describe your team?

I’m technically a one-man team, but working with my boss, our CISO, has been great. I appreciate the government experience he brings, and he’s helped me challenge myself and grow in my current role. 

Collaborating with others at the company has been great. There are a lot of smart people here and we all strive to work together and support each other. I enjoy the environment and the people I work with.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?

I would have to say the new training program I helped with. I got the information system stood up and officially accredited by the government. This type of program was a first in Ridgeline history. It was a collaborative effort with the Enterprise Systems team and once they got the system built, they handed it over to me to do the paperwork that was required for authorization and accreditation. That required lots of writing, lots of communication with the customer side, the security office, and more. We actually ran into a bit of a challenge at first getting the system vetted, and initially I said we’d need a year. But holy cow, we were able to crank it out in three months. I think it speaks volumes about the people here and how if they’re met with a challenge, they’re able to assemble a team and get it done. I’m very proud of being part of it.

What resources have you been able to take advantage of in your time at Ridgeline?

I think the various people in different departments, I learn so much from them when collaborating with them. The tech allowance and hobby allowance, those benefits are unheard of in the places I’ve worked before. I’ve definitely utilized that benefit to the max possible. Having the hobby allowance motivates you. I have taken up Taekwondo again after a 25-year hiatus. Having a hobby changes your perspective and your mindset.

How have you grown professionally at Ridgeline?

I’ve taken advantage of our access to LinkedIn Learning. We had a challenge when the system was launched and I’m a competitive person. I set a goal to watch at least one video a day, and I actually learned a lot. I didn’t focus on the technical stuff, but I tried to get into the soft skills – how to communicate effectively, how to be better leader, emotional intelligence, having a growth mindset, all those things. It’s helping me become a more well-rounded person. This resource has helped me see it’s important to not just be a solutions expert, but also have soft skills too.

What makes Ridgeline unique?

I think the hybrid working from home and in the office model is sort of unique. I appreciate the flexibility. Having a young family, flexibility is really key. It’s also got a commercial feel. People here are open to new ideas. And then the snacks, the cold brew. But really, I’ve learned a lot from the various people here who specialize in different technologies and being surrounded by those types of people in an open environment is pretty unique.

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