Hetherington Group
Small Business

NJBIA’s ‘Year of the Business Owner’ Campaign Spotlights Cynthia Hetherington

In 2023, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association is spotlighting entrepreneurs with a “Year of the Business Owner” campaign. The initiative highlights the successes and challenges of running a small- and mid-sized business in the state. This month, we profile Cynthia Hetherington, founder of Wanaque-based cybersecurity firm, the Hetherington Group.

Q: Describe your business:

A: With more than two decades of expertise, Hetherington Group (Hg) is a leader in investigative due diligence, corporate intelligence and cyber investigations. We track down and expose vital data on national and international investigations; train thousands of investigators in the public and private sectors annually; and share our expertise in this increasingly data-intensive, cyber focused-world through a variety of publications and recognized investigative reference books. Hg holds national certification as a Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and certification as a National Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Hg is also a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), and the National Organization for Women & Information Technology.

Cynthia Hetherington

Cynthia Hetherington

Q: What empowers and sustains you to operate your business every day?

A: At Hg, our goal in all that we do is to protect people, property and reputation. For our clients, we supply the organizational ability to think holistically about risk and uncertainty, speak a common language and effectively use forward-looking risk concepts and tools in making better decisions, alleviating threats, capitalizing on opportunities, and creating lasting value.

Q: Describe your most recent successes:

A: Most recently, the Women in IT Summit and Awards series bestowed the esteemed 2022 Security Leader of the Year Award on (me and Hg’s) efforts in convening and coordinating  Operation Vax (OPVAX), a global collaboration that ensured the safe and secure movement and delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations to millions of Americans and foreign nations. Over the course of OPVAX, analysts collected more than 105,000 open and dark web sources reporting on potential threats to the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. From there, analysts triaged 45,000 of those reports for further analysis—resulting in perpetual risk and vulnerability notifications to the OPVAX team. Truly a team effort, this success is one of many, including the doubling of Hg’s team in the last calendar year, expanding our service portfolio, and the promotion and hiring of three distinguished women to top leadership positions.

Q: What is (or has recently been) your biggest business challenge and how are you dealing with it?

A: Securing today’s systems, networks and data against cyberattacks and associated risks is tougher than ever, with even more security technologies and processes needed to work in concert with each other. The ability to find and retain talent has always been a challenge in this industry, and Hg continues to take steps to combat this. We provide extensive, thorough, and continuous in-house training to all levels of staff, leaning on our 20+ years of expertise to develop our employees’ skillsets. In efforts to counter this challenge on a broader scale, (we) founded OSMOSIS, an association for OSINT Professionals, in October of 2022. OSMOSIS aims to advance the profession of open-source intelligence gathering and analysis; support the interests and efforts of open-source investigators, researchers, and analysts; and serve the public good by supporting a network of global investigators working to make our world a safer place.

Q: What is your approach in maintaining your workforce?

A: Our approach to maintaining our workforce is simple – our priority is and will always be our team. We invest heavily in resources for employee training and development, motivate through empowerment and positive company culture, and ensure each day our team is learning and growing as they traverse their career.

Q: How do you maintain a positive business cash flow?

A: We maintain a positive business cash flow by conducting business relationships only with some of the predominant and reputable companies across all industries and trades and supplying quality and undisputed cyber investigative and training service products.

Q: How has NJBIA helped you with your business?

A: We’re looking forward to the opportunity to engage with our fellow New Jersey businesses as a new member of NJBIA. The association’s reputation of bringing together some of the most esteemed companies in the state for networking, the sharing of information, and advocacy precede it.

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

Related Articles: