The Bay Area Chapter of Women in Big Data (WiBD) was thrilled to launch its 2023 Technical Talk Series with its first episode on the CyberSecurity, Threat Analysis and Career opportunities.
The Technical Talk Series focuses on Technical Skills, bringing awareness about a technical topic, sharing knowledge, and ways to learn/enhance required skills, thus linking it to career development. The goal of the talk was to learn about risk and cyber security programs that are required to keep your organization safe. The session also covered how data is used in the defense of our technologies in Cyber Security and how you can drive your career around it.
Reena Madan has been in the field of Cybersecurity practice for over five years. Her fascination for studying attack patterns motivated her to go back and further her education in Security. She finished her second Masters in Computer Engineering and Cybersecurity in 2019 from San Jose State University. Prior to that, Reena worked in technology and engineering roles at Intel, Cisco, Verizon and AWS in Technical Marketing and Professional Services spanning Security and compliance, Threat analysis, Networking protocols, CPUs and business operations for about two decades. Reena enjoys mentoring and is a part of the Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) North Carolina chapter.
Reena kick started the talk by explaining who Threat Actors/Bad Guys/Cyber Criminals are. How do you detect their techniques and patterns and identify them in the wild ? Do you have the desire to detect, hunt, create patterns, and identify threat actor behavior? This is the role of a Threat Analyst.
Threat Intelligence is a specialized area in Cybersecurity. What are some roles in this domain of Cybersecurity and how to develop a career path for a role in Cybersecurity.
Security and Data Science are interlayered sciences that are used to create solutions for companies looking to protect themselves from cyber-criminal threats. What is the significance of developing skills in Data Science and Data Engineering which are critical to the Security domains? Reena covered these two areas in the presentation.
Cyber Security is a broad term that describes the practice of protecting digital and human assets from cyber attacks and cyber threats. There are various domains of Cyber Security ranging from Physical Security (Biometrics, Device security, Perimeter security), Network and Communication Security (Firewalls, HTTPS, TLS), Identity and Access Management (MFA), Software Security, Application Security, DevSecOps, SSDLC, Cryptography, Information and Data Security, Privacy and Data Security, Security Operations & Incident Response, Compliance, Governance, Risk, Threat Intelligence and Investigation and Standards.
All of the above are part of “Security Organization” and come under CISO (Chief Information and Security Officer). Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) is at the core of threat data analyses, and determining who the Threat Actor is, motivation behind the threat and different areas of threat analysis that would help detect and defuse the threat.
Among various specialty roles involved in CTI, they are broadly categorized as CTI Analyst, Forensics Expert, Malware Researcher and Threat Researcher. Reena went into great detail about different backgrounds and skills associated with those roles. She connected Data Analytics, Data Science, Data Engineer and Machine Learning Engineer profiles with CTI roles and explained their significance in the security ecosystem.
With curious questions from the attendees and insightful, detail oriented answers from Reena, it quickly became a very interactive and engaging conversation.
One of the attendees said, “This is very informative. I learnt about what roles were available in Cyber Security and Threat Analytics areas and how to gain skills for those roles”.
Another participant asked what type of security clearance was required/necessary and how one could apply with existing clearance (if any) for Cyber Security specialist, Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) roles in the government or industry. Reena answered in great detail about the different types of roles in CTI and what skills are required to be one of them.
We learned about different certificates, nano degrees, institutes and organizations who provide training for skill development to enter, transition and excel in the Cyber Security and CTI fields.
Today, the security industry and companies entering and accelerating security product maps are changing at lightning speed. The use of AI is unprecedented in the security landscape and it’s just the beginning. From forensic experts, behavioral science experts, background investigators, social engineering experts to data scientists, data analysts, software/malware engineers, there is demand and place for all. It is imperative to acknowledge and look for opportunities in Threat Intelligence and Cyber Security domains as your next career option.
The Bay Area Chapter’s Co-Director, Soumyasree Vinod supported and provided valuable inputs to host the 2023 technical talk series for the chapter. Soumya introduced the Women in Big Data organization and its mission to the audience. Soumya connected WiBD’s goals of Connect Cultivate Champion with how we do it through various programs, trainings, presentations, mentoring and providing a platform to our members to connect, collaborate, learn and grow. Bay Area Chapter’s core team member, Rupa Gangatirkar who arranged the 2023 technical talk series and the first episode, introduced the speaker, Reena.
Thank you to Bay Area Chapter’s Co-Director, Erika Luncford for providing all logistics support and guidance. We thank all the core team members of the Bay Area Chapter and WiBD Executive Board member, Shala Arshi for her support in arranging and hosting the series and the first tech talk.
The recording of the event is available here.