Aviva Zacks of Safety Detective interviewed Heather Engel, Sera-Brynn’s chief strategy officer, to find out how her company helps others minimize cybersecurity risks.
Safety Detective: What drew you to the cybersecurity industry?
Heather Engel: My start in cybersecurity was somewhat accidental. I was working as a systems engineer and during project planning asked who was in charge of securely configuring the workstations for our end users. Since I asked the question, the task was assigned to me. I continued in the industry because cybersecurity is never boring and as an industry demands a wide variety of skills. Someone who is a great penetration tester does not necessarily have the right skills to do incident response. No matter what your specialty is, it demands logic and the ability to understand risk. You also have to communicate well, or your security initiatives won’t get traction.
SD: What are the worst threats to end-users today?
HE: There is a real lack of awareness about how our personal data is being used. When you provide your information to a company, how that information is used directly affects you, but most of us have very little understanding of the actual scope.
SD: What does your tagline about cybersecurity being a team sport mean?
HE: There are so many aspects to cybersecurity from data privacy to network design to incident response. For any organization to manage risk, there has to be a true team effort from the executive leadership and board all the way to end users. No single person is going to know everything about cybersecurity, and when you work with us your organization has access to an entire team of experts that you can call on when needed.
SD: What is Sera-Brynn doing to protect us from cyberthreats?
HE: We work primarily in the defense and financial services sectors. When we work with companies supporting the government, we are helping them protect critical data and technology that covers everything from medical research to building an aircraft. Financial services companies, like banks, mortgage brokers, and insurance companies, have direct access to a lot of sensitive consumer data. How that data is handled, stored, and shared directly affects consumers. We help companies in those sectors with managing their risk and protecting that data.
SD: How do you see cybersecurity developing in the next 5 years?
HE: I believe that privacy is becoming and will continue to take center stage. What companies are doing with data, how it is being used, and who actually owns it are all questions that have yet to be tested and answered.