1. First of all – could you provide a short overview of yourself and your profile?
  • I am an active technology professional with an inclination towards spirituality and I love spending my free time on sports and travel. I hail from north India (yes near the Himalayan range J ), and have worked in Malaysia and various cities in India before moving to Singapore 7 years back. So far I have worked across varied industries including BFSI, consulting, manufacturing, credit rating and product development. I love interacting with people; & managing programs and projects, defining strategies, setting & achieving milestones, resolving challenging tasks, assessing risks and finding out ways to mitigate those, keep me going! At present, I work on driving multiple cyber security projects within APAC as a Program manager with a global bank.

 

  1. Why the interest in cybersecurity?
  • Cybersecurity is ‘the’ most interesting field to me at present, besides being a field of absolute importance and value to the entire world across industries. I am absolutely delighted & privileged to be a part of this industry. With the ever-growing digitalization and the world literally breathing on internet today, our data has never before been so exposed and vulnerable as it is today. We hear of data breaches, ransomware and other cyber-attacks almost every day, and the need to protect our data and valuable assets is therefore of utmost importance! My keen interest in cybersecurity also arise from the fact that there is something new to learn and experiment every single day, and the challenges that the job brings along, helps to keeps my mental antenna active 😉

  

  1. Why did you decide yourself for a career in this field?
  • I was working within the roles of software developer/ business analyst/ project manager with no background or direction on Cybersecurity until 7 years back. Though I was performing well, getting awards and appreciation, I found my real passion only after landing in a cyber-security job & immediately I decided to pursue my career further only in this field.
  • I personally function best when challenged with new situations and initiatives at work. Also, it’s of utmost importance to choose a career that keeps us motivated every single day, and cyber security is one such industry where we have something new every day to look forward to, new tools to learn & experiment with, & to be on our toes to keep up the pace in the fight between black and white hat hackers. Also, I believe I have a mind-set and attitude of bringing in risk resiliency to mitigate operations & business risks, and am able to handle pressure with ease; so overall I consider myself to a good fit for a career in cyber security and cyber risk management.

 

    4. What have been your most amazing achievements up to date ? 

  • To pave my way into Cybersecurity in itself is the first step of achievement for me. I have worked hard to get onto the pace and still doing so. Of course knowing how vast the field is, it’s on-going task to be able to continue to achieve excellence to cover all areas of attack surface with preventive, detective and defensive measures at all layers and with the required depth. The 1st step to broaden my horizon on all domains was completing my CISSP after gaining the required security experience within risk/governance and Identity & Access domains. Also, I switched to a more relevant job where I can get exposure and hands-on experience with varied domains, initiatives and on-going measures in cybersecurity across the organization. I continue to explore and dive into depths of each of the domains. Most amazing achievements are yet to come 😉

 

  1. What do you want still to achieve in the space ?
  • I want to evolve and succeed as an Ethical hacker. Also, fields like Big data, blockchain security and threat intelligence are of great interest to me, wherein I wish to grow and learn more, so that I can contribute in better way by being aligned with the advancements in technology.

 

  1. What are your main skills in the space, and can you tell us some good recommendations on the same ?
  • With my experience with working on Identity & Access management, Patch management, malware protection and Data security, I feel I am very inclined towards data security, especially on encryption. Also as we are moving towards cloud, Identity & Access management and third party risk assessment holds a special mention.

 

  1. How do you see yourself evolving in the industry?
  • As a first step towards my goal of being a successful ethical hacker, I am participating in this CTF event, and I must say the brief preparation phase has given me that kick-start to direct myself towards the milestone.

 

  1. What support would you like to receive?
  • I would like to learn more on Pentest and ethical hacking, so it would be of immense help if I get to the right source of information and if I can hear from others on their experience on this journey from ground zero.

 

  1. Cybersecurity is seen as a male dominated industry, have you experienced challenges within your environment?
  • Not so far fortunately, but yes as we started talking more on diversity, and taking steps towards promoting it at a global level, I personally got more confidence and motivation. Now I feel pride rather than any inhibition to walk in and share my ideas, participate in discussions or raise questions on events, even when I am the only female in a session being attended by 50+ men (for instance, our ISC2 Singapore chapter information sharing seminars and sessions); since I feel my presence & contribution is as important as anyone else’s and irrespective of anyone being a male or female, we should be judged only on our skills and capabilities with no bias or pre-conceived notion. More initiatives are definitely required to promote diversity and I am so happy to see around such initiatives taken by Magda and other influential women in the industry, as well as so many men supporting along. I do my part as well in any small possible opportunity I find, and I believe every women in cybersecurity should do as well.

 

  1. What do you think about the First CTF For Girls in Singapore and why do you want to participate?
  • It’s a wonderful initiative and I sincerely thank Magda for making it happen! Though we hear the number of women in cybersecurity worldwide has reached around 18-20% globally, still we see CTF and similar events for instance, having zero female participants. Magda came across one such event, and I am so glad she actually took the initiative to bring in the change! So I believe if women have their skills at par, they should break free and keeping their inhibitions aside, participate in all such events, be recognized, network with like-minded professionals, seek help wherever required, & help contribute with their skills to the cybersecurity industry in the best possible way!

 

  • Name: Neha
  • Surname: Malhotra
  • Role: APAC Production Security program manager
  • Age: Early 30’s
  • Organization: Global bank in Singapore