Inspiration feature in the Remme blog seeks out the secrets and wisdom of industry leaders. From entrepreneurs to cyber security experts, we’re soliciting the insights of some of the brightest minds in business.
We spoke to Mahwash Mansoor, a Cyber Security Ops Analyst at Latitude Financial Services and one of Australia’s leading female cyber experts. Read on to discover how Mahwash got into the industry and the valuable lessons she has for anyone considering the same path.
What’s your background, how did your journey start?
I am a software engineer, but landed in the marketing industry due to my social nature. I have always loved talking and meeting new people. Due to my IT skills and marketing experience, I was hired by a company for a six-month digital marketing project. While working on this project, I realized how many scammers are out there, trying to dupe companies and innocent people every day.
I started looking at the type of scams that were entering the market daily designed to get people’s money. I wanted to know more about cyber safety and really had an urge to help people save themselves from different techniques used by scammers. I needed more knowledge to do so, so I started by certification in cyber security. During my study, I came to learn a lot about hackers and scammers and developed the urge to help companies. In the final six months of my study, I was offered a job by my current employer.
And what are you currently working on?
I am currently working as a Cyber Security Operation Analyst, where my main job is to find vulnerabilities and exploits on the local network and to save staff from phishing emails. The role also calls for constantly keeping up-to-date on the system and managing cybersecurity.
What excites you most about your role?
Cyber security is so exciting to me because it is ever evolving. You work up a defense for your network perhaps using Firewalls, IDS/IPSes, and perhaps other tools. Someone breaks through. How did they do it, and how can I prevent it? Perhaps a new tool to defend networks comes out, and you figure out how to implement it to enhance the security of your network.
Secondly, the possibilities for personal and career growth are endless. I love all of the opportunities for growth from the variety of technologies and situations security professionals face.
What are your goals for the future?
In this industry, learning never stops so I plan to study the architecture of systems and networks, then use that information to identify the security controls in place and how they are used. I intend to do the same with weaknesses in databases and app deployment. I am also planning to do one of the SANS courses.
To remain up to speed with industry developments, I try not to miss any conferences. I attended a conference last year in Brisbane, QLD on “Women in Tech” and felt inspired to see other women in this industry as well as the stories they had to share. I am planning to attend more conferences of this nature for industry updates, and have attended the AISA conference for the last two years. Moreover, I love to talk about cyber security with non-technical people and help them to educate themselves on cyber threats, so that they can keep their digital information safe.
What’s your advice for those who are just starting out?
Just to name a few:
- Be eager to dig into technical questions and examine them from all perspectives.
- Show enthusiasm and a high degree of adaptability.
- Maintain a current understanding of common web vulnerabilities.
- Maintain awareness and knowledge of contemporary standards, practices, procedures and methods.
Where do you find inspiration, news and industry trends?
I keep up with cyber news e.g. Dark Reading, TechNews, TechRadar, Tech Community. Moreover, I try to keep in touch with people around the world in the same industry as there is always someone not sleeping and reading the latest trends in cyber security before sharing highlights on cyber security groups.
Anything else that you want to share with our readers?
It is encouraging that as an industry we are making progress, but there is a lot more to do in improving the visibility of female role models, which will allow us to challenge the perception of the cyber security industry. Institutions hold the key, and we need to help them to encourage more women into the industry. Furthermore, a mentoring scheme would provide a platform for role models to coach and guide others, which in turn will help to challenge the perception of gender as it relates to the industry.
About Mahwash Mansoor
Mahwash Mansoor is a self-taught cyber security analyst currently working for Latitude Financial Services in Australia. After starting out in marketing, Mahwash pivoted to cyber security, rapidly educating herself on threat detection and prevention. A fast learner with a thirst for knowledge, Mahwash has since augmented her knowledge with qualifications in cyber security at Box Hill Institute and Charles Sturt University.