Name: Dr Stephenie Andal
Title: Partner Manager – ANZ
Why do you enjoy working in the cyber security field?
I think cyber security is the most exciting sector to be a part of. This is a field that requires lateral thinking, a receptive mindset, curiosity and the ability to approach a big societal challenge that is constantly changing, often by attackers moving at a very rapid pace.
When I joined the sector after my PhD, I didn’t know how my skills would bring value to organisations – I didn’t see how I fit into the typical ‘mould’ of a cybersecurity professional. Now, as cybersecurity is increasingly being elevated to the board and is no longer merely a technical consideration, increasingly there is a need to demystify the technical elements of cybersecurity and translate them into compelling stories and language which executives can relate to and action within their organisations. Ultimately at the end of the day, we are the users and creators of technology and people remain the fundamental building block in achieving a more cyber secure future. We need a better understanding of how technology impacts us, how we can implement more effective processes and procedures to keep us secure, and a strong societal vision of what a cyber secure future looks like. It’s a joy to be able to contribute to this big task every day.
What are your words of advice to encourage other women to work in the space?
Join us! Cyber security is a relatively young field, and as a result, offers incredible professional and intellectual growth opportunities. If you are intellectually curious, have a collaborative mindset and are willing to continue to upskill and expand your skill set, cybersecurity is the place for you. As the sector matures and grows, we continue to see more opportunity for a diverse range of talent, which runs counter to the standard ‘cybersecurity professional’ prototype. Diverse backgrounds in public policy, international relations, law enforcement, and the social sciences bring a plurality of perspectives which are critical to keep our economy and citizens cyber secure. Connect with people in the field who have a true passion for security and careers you’d like to emulate. Ask for their guidance and support and be relentless! This is still a relatively nascent sector and networking can open up doors to unique opportunities which previously might have been unknown to you.