Name: Gail Coury
Title: Senior VP and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
Gail is responsible for the development and implementation of F5’s information security program. This includes protecting enterprise communications and systems from internal and external threats. Since taking the lead as CISO for application security company F5, Gail has overseen the expansion of F5’s cybersecurity organisation, with responsibility for F5’s enterprise security. She is also responsible for the company-wide standards of security for product and service offerings.
Why do you enjoy working in the cyber security field?
Every day is a new day, with something new to face and learn from. Whether it’s a new technology being deployed, new ways to deploy existing technology, or the ever-changing threat landscape to contend with, the field is growing constantly with new trends, practices, and threats emerging on an almost daily basis. With that expansion comes the opportunity to further your learning. The cybersecurity space is very broad. There are so many different areas of focus to choose from depending on your interests and skill set. Are you a person who thrives solving problems and unravelling puzzles? Forensic analysis and investigative work could be for you. Do you like environments that are incredibly technical? There’s space for those skills within cybersecurity too.
What are your words of advice to encourage other women to work in the space?
More often than not, you’ll be one of only a few women in the room, if not the only woman. Though there have been strides made in terms of equal representation of women in the sector, we’re not there yet. Self-confidence is a necessary ingredient – you must be prepared to speak up. Female intuition is a powerful thing so be confident in your contributions, and decisions.
Given the level of change the cybersecurity industry undergoes daily, you must be able to further educate and retool yourself. As the industry is so broad, there are an increasing number of specialised roles and areas of focus. While that breadth can be intimidating, the old adage holds true – variety is the spice of life! Be prepared to find your area of expertise by continually educating yourself throughout your career. Not only will it ensure you place as a highly in-demand employee, it will also lead to a more fulfilling and enjoyable career.