Columbia Alumni Tackle Cybersecurity Workforce Shortage With Blue Team




Interview posted: April 6, 2020

Blue Team created by CBS/SIPA ’17 alumnus Rob Terrrin and SEAS ‘16 alumnus John Edwards, is a cybersecurity talent marketplace for fintech and digital health companies. Their deep industry networks and experience in cybersecurity consulting to innovative banks, insurtech and software companies gave them insight into solving the talent problem. The CBS Alumni Club of NY thought they would be a great addition to the new “Member Spotlight” section of the website.

CBSACNY: Why now, why New York?
New York is having a cybersecurity moment. D.C. has long been the epicenter of cybersecurity, with nearly two-thirds of all cyber talent in the U.S. within an hour’s drive of the capital, but all of that is changing. New York’s Economic Development Corporation has raised $100M to deploy through Cyber NYC.

With New York as the center of the world’s financial markets, we couldn’t be in a better place. Not only does the City have banks, fintechs and insurance, but there are also more hospitals and healthcare companies in New York than any other city. As cyber threats and remote work rise to a fever pitch, Blue Team is there to assist.

CBSACNY: How is Blue Team different?
Our main competitors are consulting firms and staffing agencies.

Consulting firms offer package solutions that offer more strategy and client services wrapped around a few key technical experts. We save on cost and time by connecting you directly to the talent you need.

Staffing agencies don’t have our experience and background. Before founding Blue Team, Rob and John ran Tail Risk, a successful cybersecurity services company for three years, learning how to properly scope cybersecurity projects and assess tech talent. Prior to that, Rob was a cybersecurity consultant with Deloitte, and John worked with multiple startups before getting a Masters of Computer Science.

CBSACNY: How does all this help solve the cybersecurity workforce shortage?
There are plenty of skilled professionals to go around, we just aren’t using their time and skills efficiently. The high risk, high value projects we focus on don’t require a full time employee to build, but they do require trust and specific knowledge. We vet all of our providers using our 60 question process and a variety of tasks to demonstrate proficiency. Fintech and digital health companies are not in the business of being secure, but they all need security. It just makes sense to share non competitive resources, like vetted cybersecurity specialists.

CBSACNY: One concern people have about cybersecurity privacy. How are you handling this?
Wow, what a great question! This is near and dear to our hearts. We use our community to source and implement best practices for our internal systems such as end to end encryption, multi factor authentication, using a password manager. For our customers’ sensitive company information, we have access controls and use Google's security infrastructure. Fastly guarantees uptime through their content distribution network, and to ensure client side security we have implemented SSL encryption, as well as applied secure coding practices.

CBSACNY: Are you guys funded?

No, we bootstrapped using our consulting firm. Currently we are in the Almaworks accelerator, looking for corporate partnerships, and have spoken to many investors who have reached out, but we are not actively seeking funding.

If alumni know any fintech or digital health companies, or just want to provide feedback, please reach out at

Abbreviated bios of the founders:

Rob Terrin
Deloitte Cybersecurity
Washington and Lee
BA ‘09

John Edwards
Samsung NEXT

BA ‘07
MS ‘16