In the first two parts of this series, we discussed the provocative concept of bringing data to everything and seeing its impact in multiple facets of Indiana industry as well as in personal pursuits like quantitative finance. Taking a different route this time, we explore with Dustin Frey the use of data within the healthcare field as well as how he is beginning to use data to “fuel” his endurance training! Learn about his unique journey from motion graphics designer to “Data Doer.”

Dustin Frey, Senior Information Security Analyst, Franciscan Alliance

What is your work background?

Like many in the field, I have had a non-traditional path into information security. I originally began my career as an editor and motion graphics designer, helping make promotional and marketing material for tech companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. Many of the studios I worked with at that time were transitioning to distributed computing for rendering complex 3D animations. Seeing an opportunity to expand my skill-set, I quickly started piecing together the necessary computing, networking, and storage knowledge and skills needed to help facilitate this transition. I then decided to pursue a masters degree in communication and information Sciences at Ball State University, and have since worked in networking roles prior to finding myself at Franciscan Alliance where I work as a senior security engineer.

How do you leverage data in your personal interests?

I’m constantly interested in picking up new skills and understanding things at a granular level, so naturally I’ve created a homelab where I’m able to make and break things over and over. Particularly, I enjoy utilizing this environment to build a working knowledge of the behavior of attacks on systems and how detection and alerting can be built to proactively identify anomalous behavior. I’m not only able to build a better skill set and understanding, but also provide proof of concept prior to implementing in production environments.

What is an example of how you’ve helped a customer with insight based on data?

With the onset of Covid-19 my organization, like many others, transitioned from a traditionally centralized workforce to a laregly remote workforce over the course of two weeks. This required the deployment of new systems to support this remote workforce, and also a way to monitor the deployment and functionality of these systems. Utilizing Splunk, we have been able to provide leadership with valuable insights into the up to the minute utilization and health of the systems, proactively remediate user issues, and most importantly, ensure that our systems remain secure.

How do you stay motivated to continue learning?

It’s very easy to get burnt out if you’re not interested in what you’re doing. I had a professor in graduate school who strongly advocated focusing on your interests first and foremost, i.e. if you’re not interested in a particular portion of a book, skip it and come back to it later. Focusing on a particular technology or concept that is top of mind and of interest, allows me to focus intently and pick up skills quickly while staying engaged along the way.

We’ve interacted with Data Doers that take in data or “Splunk” that data to monitor household pickle consumption out of their refrigerator, detect outlier laser beam shots through the Department of Energy, and insider threat detection for NASDAQ. So much potential with data and, to your point, it must be interesting and have a purpose.

What do you want to “do” next?

Being a “data doer” I love figuring out the why and how of things, so as a personal project I’ve been thinking about correlating all of the various inputs that go into my running and analyze the outputs. This would include tracking diet, rest, cross training, weather, etc. and analyzing the inputs against terrain, distance, pace, and overall (and not well defined) feeling. I’m still planning how best to capture most of the input aside from my running statistics (thanks Strava Add-on!), but I imagine I’m going to find a lot of delicious meals and other behaviors that aren’t necessarily best for my running goals.

How are you putting data to work for good within your organization, community, or life?  #INDataDoers #DataToEverything