Did you expect to be working in cyber?
My first internship landed me at a consulting firm supporting a large financial services company. My project for the summer focused on privacy, and that’s when I found my calling. If someone told me back then that I would end up working privacy and cybersecurity issues for the Federal Government, I don’t think I would have believed them. But this is such an impactful area, and I’m very proud to be working side-by-side such amazing colleagues who are making a difference.
What's your day-to-day role look like?
Every day is different. From conducting risk assessments and writing policies, to handling the latest data breach, there’s always something new and challenging awaiting around the corner
I’m also a part-time employee. This was one of my biggest drivers coming to Booz Allen. I wanted the flexibility. I have two small kids, and the work-life balance Booz Allen offered was very attractive. It’s awesome to be involved in interesting, challenging work and feel like I’m making an impact for clients, and doing it in a way that meets my family’s needs. It’s the best of both worlds.
What do you believe are the top cybersecurity challenges facing agencies today?
One of the biggest challenges is educating and maintaining a skilled workforce. It’s often said that people are the most important asset, and I absolutely agree.
Why should women join the cybersecurity industry?
Women, by nature, are good at multi-tasking—balancing multiple priorities at once in their professional and personal lives. Cybersecurity is an area where the skill of multi-tasking is necessary. It’s an industry that’s constantly evolving, between new technologies, more sophisticated attacks, and a complex policy landscape, it takes an expert multi-tasker to keep up with it all.
What are the easiest ways for a workplace to become more secure?
Increase cyber and privacy awareness programs. I find that organizations make the mistake of equating education to awareness. Both are important and necessary for increased security, but organizations annual training will only get you so far. Privacy and cyber principles need to be reinforced on a regular basis through awareness activities such as reminders, newsletters, tip cards, posters, etc.
How can employees help their organizations be more secure?
Organize or host an awareness event, like a team brown bag to show leadership and increase awareness among your team. You don’t need to be a cyber or privacy subject matter expert to do so. There are a number of great free resources available to help you (such as this site).
How do you help you workforce become more cyber secure?
While I was a federal employee, I led several awareness activities at my agency, from full privacy awareness weeks with multiple events and communications, to the development of awareness materials such as incident reporting cards that fit in an employee’s badge holder. Last year, I presented at a Booz Allen National Cyber Security Awareness Month event on privacy in a connected world. Where I gave practical tips on protecting privacy at work and at home. I also serve as the security/privacy training and incident reporting lead for one of our major federal clients where I deliver annual training to our client-facing workforce.