I got into cyber – I entered the cybersecurity sector by accident prior to 9/11, being asked to come into a healthcare single sign-on company that Hewlett-Packard (HP) was spinning out, Sentillion. That was IT security before we called it cyber. I was on the board and their CFO, and I understood that this was a step to “real security” by managing user identification, and password security with a necessity of ease of access for healthcare professionals.
The world changed after 9/11, and I recognized that when I worked for Marsh McClellan, no companies were prepared for a physical attack, like 9/11, never mind a cyber-attack. Our teams drove education into the mindsets of executive that cyber was the “real estate insurance” for 8 years until the TJ Maxx and RSA breach, then the “iceberg” in the C Suite started to melt.
For me, a positive cyber mindset is – Everyone needs an open mind of acceptance to work as part of a team, especially in cybersecurity. If you are working on a cyber breach, the team needs to “gel” and coordinate as you/your client are under attack. We have seen this become a global reality since the Iraq war became a cellphone/cyber war and now again in Ukraine. The talent that Ukraine has in cybersecurity and their positive mindset is what we all need to get to in the “fight” against the “threat actors and nation-state actors”.
The experience that helped me transition to a career in cyber – I started my career as a federal bank auditor, looking at banks that had big problems and all the time it was about people with greed, and a lack of ethics, and morals that they could steal and think they would not get caught. These types of forensic roles cemented my career with the mindset, if you think there is something wrong, there usually is. I took that forensic and risk background into cybersecurity.
My recommended read – “Boys in the Boat” and “Code Girls,” both are inspiring and about team building to win at their finest.
A favorite place of mine – Being home with my family.
What keeps me up at night? – The lack of understanding that every company and everyone is one step away from a cyber-attack. I am especially worried about our elderly and handicapped, those with mental impairment, as they are the targets, we all need to protect.