AJ Yawn

AJ Yawn is Co-Founder and CEO at ByteChek and a Founding Board Member of the National Association of Black Compliance and Risk Management Professionals (NABCRMP). AJ has earned 6 AWS certifications including the AWS Solutions Architect-Professional and AWS Security-Specialty. Prior to ByteChek, AJ spent over a decade in the cybersecurity industry both in the US Army and as a consultant. He is a regular speaker at SANS Cloud Security curriculum events such as BIPOC in Cloud Forum and CloudSecNext Summit, and can be found teaching SEC557: Continuous Automation for Enterprise and Cloud Compliance.

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Like many in cyber security, AJ feels the industry found him, rather than the other way around. As a Signal Officer in the US Army, AJ was thrown into helping solve challenging cybersecurity issues faced by him and his soldiers. The work was exciting due to the ever-changing technology and constant uncomfortableness that promoted development. After serving nearly 6 years in the Army, AJ chose to continue on the cybersecurity path due to the challenges and growth that comes with it by starting with a Masters of Science in Technology Management from Georgetown University. Simultaneously, he began working as a Principal in SOC-ISO-Healthcare for Coalfire developing and auditing control frameworks. He has performed hundreds of audits including assessments covering SOC 2, ISO, PCI, FedRAMP, and HIPAA standards or regulations. These audits were performed on some of the largest SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS companies in the world and throughout that process he learned that manual audits are painful and do not add value.

In 2020, AJ co-founded ByteChek – a cybersecurity SaaS company hosted on AWS - to “help compliance suck less” through an automated compliance assessment platform that helps organizations of all sizes solve their compliance needs and earn reports such as SOC 2, ISO 27001, CSA STAR Level 1 and Level 2, and more.

AJ’s focus in cyber security is on the people, not the credentials. Beyond customers, AJ is proud to support interns working to enter the industry in order to gain hands-on experience. Watching others develop, move on to bigger and better things, and knowing he has positively impacted a person’s life is part of AJ’s motivation to become a SANS Instructor. He works to build meaningful relationships that positively impact the lives of real people while improving their daily work. He brings this approach into the classroom through a community focused, shared learning experience that encourages collaboration and open communication among students and instructor, as each has something to teach the other.

AJ enjoys teaching SEC557: Continuous Automation for Enterprise and Cloud Compliance because he personally knows the pain and time consuming aspect of cybersecurity audits, and the premise of the course aligns with his mission at ByteChek. The concepts and techniques taught in this course can empower students from any background to take the complexity and mundane work out of audits. He believes the biggest challenge for students in this course is the volume of hands-on labs, which while an excellent way to reinforce learning, can be overwhelming for students newer to the technologies. AJ walks through labs side-by-side with students and provides live demos of how labs are intended to be executed to ensure students’ success and complete learning.

AJ is a Founding Board Member of the National Association of Black Compliance and Risk Management Professionals (NABCRMP), an Advisory Board member for CISOMag, on the Board of Directors of the ISC2 Miami Chapter, and speaks on/at information security podcasts and events while also contributing to blogs and articles including publications in CISOMag, InfosecMag, HackerNoon, and ISC2. He holds the following industry certifications:

  • CISSP
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect- Professional
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect- Associate
  • AWS Certified Developer- Associate
  • AWS Certified Sysops Associate
  • AWS Certified Security Specialty
  • CCSK

In his spare time, AJ enjoys golf, watching basketball, and enjoying the beautiful weather and beaches of Miami.

ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS BY AJ

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