Name: Magda Ali
Title: Compliance Team Lead / CAMS, Compliance – APAC
Why do you enjoy working in the cyber security field?
I have an incredibly strong sense of purpose in what I do. When I started working in financial cybersecurity over a decade ago, it was life-changing to realise that I could contribute to identifying and preventing criminals, terrorists and other malicious actors who put innocent people in danger.
When I moved from institutional finance to the remittance industry, I realised why remittances are critical to keeping the global economy running. Unfortunately, we also see cases where international money transfers can be used unscrupulously, for reasons such as money laundering, funding terrorist activity, fraud and cybercrime, and other illegal and unethical activities.
My role means I get to help protect people all over the world from falling victim to some of these crimes – especially heinous ones that specifically target children. As a mother of two, this is something that is vital and I feel accomplished when I see these sorts of things prevented.
It’s also immensely satisfying to be a part of the frontline protecting the whole fintech ecosystem, and protecting Zepz from being impacted or misused by criminals.
What are your words of advice to encourage other women to work in the space?
My advice is to stay open to exploring what’s possible. You won’t always know straight off the bat what’s right for you. In fact, I studied accounting at university and spent seven years in the financial services industry and I never intended to pursue a career in the financial crime or cyber security fields.
Two years later, when the fintech and digital financial services industry started booming globally, it became clear that cybercrime and cyber security risk had increased, too. At this point, I decided to delve into the financial crimes and cybersecurity field because I found it both exciting and rewarding. It was a huge change in my career trajectory!
I highly encourage other women to explore working in this field – especially women with a rich cultural background. Technology has fundamentally changed society, and criminals now hide behind screens and digital facades. Working in cybersecurity is a way to protect your community from being exploited and to make the world a better place.
Working in this space as a woman, I find it empowering to have the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to participate fully in protecting our communities, including peoples’ livelihoods and privacy.