Sal Salisbury: A career and life of resilience and perseverance
Sal Salisbury, a 2021 Infosec Hall of Fame inductee, has served his country in more ways than one, always dedicated to helping others grow in the industry. If one word defines this Inspire Hall of Fame Inductee's career to date, it is resilience.
Sal Salisbury began his cybersecurity work as a U.S. Navy surface warfare and information technology (I.T.) specialist. He then spent time supporting the United States security missions in more than 60 countries before finally entering a career with Microsoft, helping with I.T. systems implementations. Salisbury has shown what it means to persevere, grow, and give back.
And that is why Infosec is proud to name him as one of our 2021 Inductees.
A career of service
Despite not growing up around computers and security, when Salisbury entered the U.S. Navy, he quickly found himself responsible for handling the cryptographic systems aboard a guided-missile destroyer, managing highly technical equipment and tours at the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Center (SPAWAR).
When Salisbury’s tour ended, he chose to double-down on his life of service and sought a position with the U.S. Department of State, applying multiple times for a position that would ultimately send him to 60 countries, including some of the most austere, to further support the U.S. mission abroad.
“They needed people that were jacks of all trades, masters of none,” Salisbury says. “People that were capable of doing a lot of different things; some communications, some power, some signals and some private security because we were not going to nice places.”
Salisbury continued to learn throughout this time, entering academic programs to build a solid foundation in cybersecurity and technology. Salisbury was ready for a new challenge after traveling for years, nearly 90% of the time.
The payoff for perseverance
Once Salisbury learned about Microsoft’s role in enabling the mission of federal civilian, national security and defense agencies, especially in the cloud and in cybersecurity, he set his eye on a new goal.
Instead of being deterred, Salisbury interviewed with Microsoft 16 times, relentlessly pursuing a role with the company and further demonstrating a level of resilience and perseverance that few can match. After landing a job there, Microsoft’s decisions quickly began to pay dividends as Salisbury promptly rose through the ranks and directly supported or led the migration of 10 different agencies to the Microsoft Azure environment.
As a senior executive with Microsoft, Salisbury supports the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
Today, Salisbury embodies what a mentality of resilience can do in more ways than one, both in his ethos and in helping federal customers understand what it takes to be resilient in the face of cyber threats.
Taking on the leadership role
After serving in not one but three careers that any one of which would deserve praise, Salisbury continues to focus on mentoring, personal growth and learning. His desire to grow his skillset brought him to Infosec, where he has completed the CEH and CPT boot camps.
“The whole time in the Infosec boot camp, I felt like I was learning exactly what I needed to not only be confident with this topic, but so much more,” Salisbury reflects. “You are not just learning the content, but the theory behind it, what you really need to know to be part of this industry, and how you need to think.”
Salisbury has also begun to give back to the security and I.T. community in new ways, stepping up to mentor and help those at the earlier stages of their career. For example, Salisbury has a strong relationship with an I.T. professional that is looking to broaden their skill set and industry experience after a setback during the COVID-19 business downturn.
“For me, it’s meaningful to help someone who all they need is just a little nudge in the right direction,” Salisbury notes. “I’ve been there in my life, and people that give you that time and that little bit of guidance are sometimes all you need.”
Salisbury pointed the professional toward quality and accessible learning content, like Infosec Resources. He helped his mentee pick a learning track and, ultimately, a career trajectory that will get him back on his feet today while also preparing him for the momentum that will come to him in the security and I.T. field.
Salisbury’s goal is to attend at least two more Infosec boot camps to give him the core skills needed to ultimately pivot to a position with the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) team. This will help him give back to the company and the larger security community by stopping cyber actors and sharing threat intelligence with others.
Salisbury’s professional achievements and strength make Infosec proud to name him a Hall of Fame inductee for 2021.