Wednesday 14 December 2016

The birth of the Australian Women in Security Network (AWSN)

This post has been written by the AWSN founder, Jacqui Loustau AWSN is an industry network with the aim of connecting, supporting, collaborating, and inspiring women in the security industry. 

The network literally came to life after my son was born, during my maternity leave. Lack of sleep, happy hormones, the need to do something other than change nappies and clean the house, I decided to start something I have always felt passionate about. I wanted to connect with other women in security, to see if anyone else felt the same way as I did and understand if they had the same need to help our industry.

I wanted to share the story of how AWSN started, because I think it is important to understand where the vision came from, how it was formed and what we are trying to achieve.

AWSN founder Jacqui Loustai

Monday 12 December 2016

The best way to land your next role in Security…

This post has been written by Claire Fulford an active supporter of diversity and the AWSN.

An old friend recently remarked that I always know what I am going to do next, what my next job will be and how I am going to get it.  Apart from my recent decision to start my own business (call me if you need a coach!), I felt like I had mostly just been in the right place at the right time.  When I reflected more closely on his comment, in reality, opportunities come to me because I network.  Alot. Mostly because I enjoy meeting people and hearing their story, both of us not realising the value of our connection until later. 

Without networking, I would not have known about any of the jobs I have held since leaving university (and I wouldn’t have some of my great friends either!).  Every one of my jobs has been suggested to me through people I have known or those I have made it my business to know.  So many people out there hate networking and do everything in their power to slip out sidedoors or check email to avoid the coffee break at conferences and corporate retreats. 

The old adage…’its not what you know its who you know’ only became an old adage thanks to networking.   There are people whose life purpose is to bring others together.  Malcom Gladwell called them Connectors in his book “The Tipping Point”. They are "a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack [... for] making friends and acquaintances" thanks to "…something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy".  We are certainly not all connectors…but we all need one now and then and the only way to find them is through networking.

I implore you next time you get the opportunity, make the effort to network. Accept an invite to lunch, hang around the sandwiches (not in a creepy way) at the next conference you’re at and strike up a conversation over egg & lettuce or find the person in your organisation who you can help and ask them out for coffee.  If all of this seems a bit daunting…try to prepare in advance.  Consider a topic to discuss with others and decide on your purpose for networking at that event…are you looking to meet new clients or understand more about industry challenges you might be able to solve. You never know who you might meet (it could be me!).  

What are some of your networking success stories?

Claire Fulford is an accomplished security professional. She recently started her own business after seeing the need to consult and guide organisation's on their security professional team needs.

 This post has been written by Claire Fulford & coded by Mandy Turner on behalf of AWSN. 

(c) AWSN 2016

Monday 5 December 2016

IoTSec Australia - Dr Miranda Blogg and the Future of transport

Post by Mandy Turner, AWSN Blog Manager, the current AISA Brisbane Branch Executive and self-confessed nerd.

I was recently invited by my friend and AISA colleague Lani Refiti, to attend an IoTSec Australia forum. I am interested in a wide variety of eclectic subjects, am a total 'computer nerd' and take delight in learning so I was very keen to attend this event about connected transport. 

Dr Miranda Blogg, Director of Connected and Automated Vehicles at the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads spoke about the Queensland government's work on the co-operative transport and automated vehicle initiative. 

Miranda is a civil engineer with over two decades experience in traffic and transport engineering, she is very knowledgable and interesting to listen to. I had the pleasure to chat with her prior to her presentation and was fascinated by the work she does.

Miranda's presentation included discussion around the future of driving with the C-ITS (co-operative intelligent transport system) platform that when applied to equipped vehicles and road infrastructure provides a two way communication between road users and roads. She explained that when C-ITS is successfully implemented in the future the use of autonomous vehicles will become more common. 

I was amazed that autonomous vehicles are really being considered as part of the roads strategy of the future! All I could think of at this point was the 1990 Total Recall movie with the AI cab driver, the Johnny cab!

AI Cab driver - Total Recall 1990 Tristar Pictures
Miranda's presentation was insightful, interesting and engaging. It was a delight to chat with her and she really gave the attendees a lot to think about in her presentation about the future of transport.

IotSec Australia is a not-for-profit initiative lead by industry representatives, including Lani Refiti and Mike Younger, that exists to encourage awareness and sound security practices in the IoT landscape. 

 This post has been written and created by A Turner on behalf of AWSN. 

(c) AWSN 2016

Saturday 3 December 2016

What Diversity Means to me - by Olga Kiconco

This post has been authored by Olga KiconcoOlga Is active in the Brisbane branch of the Australian Information Security Association and is working with the Branch Exec of AISA Brisbane, Mandy Turner, on the AISA Brisbane branch Diversity Initiative. Olga has a Bachelor’s Degree in Telecommunications Engineering and EC Council certifications in Ethical Hacking (CEH) and Security Analysis (ECSA) and a Masters in International Business. Olga is a thought leader and strategist and is currently seeking a fulfilling career InfoSec

Olga Kiconco (Photo Credit - Olga Kiconco

What does diversity mean to you?

Over the recent years, diversity and inclusion have been a ‘hot topic’ from governments to business executives; kindergartens to higher education institutions, and through personal and professional experience, my resonance with this term has evolved. 

Right from when I was young, I have always been passionate about technology, and knew this was the industry for me when my mum set up a home computer when I was 7. Like any other curious kid, I used to muck around with different software and play computer games on that good old ‘TINY’ computer (Don’t think they exist anymore!). I later on progressed to fixing electronics around the house, as my mother was convinced I had magical hands.
However, the greater majority of women not only in my home country, Uganda, but worldwide do not have a similar tale. The gender gap in technology has impelled me to look deeper and understand why this is so. 

Boys > Girls
Back in the day ( least according to my mum), there were less than a handful of secondary schools that offered girls A’ Level education, moreover, most of the young women enrolled in Arts subjects. Those who stopped at O’ Levels either moved on to Teacher Training Colleges (popularly known as TTCs), Nursing school or took on Secretarial courses. I mean no disrespect to the ladies in these professions, but I just want to enlighten you about the deep-rooted societal disparity in the ratio of girls to boys taking on STEM subjects. 

There are some cultures that still have the view that the woman’s place is in the kitchen and do not bother educating their girls. Boys are given preferential treatment and are sent to school since their return on investment is higher than their female counterparts.
Fortunately, the number of secondary schools admitting girls for A’ Levels has increased since the ‘80s and some of the traditional all-girls schools have produced some of Uganda’s most prominent women in the STEAM fields. 

Breaking the status quo!
I completed my six year secondary education at one of those and developed some vital life skills that have carried me through the years such as resilience, team work and empathy for others. We were smart and driven young women who leveraged our different talents in different subjects to help and motivate each other and it was there I decided that I wanted to be an engineer as I excelled in Maths and Physics. I also broke the conventional maternal profession of banking and business. 

Being in such an environment made it appear to be the norm choosing fields perceived to be challenging and masculine, but I later found out my peers in mixed schools were initially bullied for enrolling in Science subjects.

My mother gave me the opportunity of pursuing my undergraduate education in Malaysia, as the IT industry in Asia was growing rapidly. I knew that this was a different domain altogether, and that my Engineering classes would have a smattering of fellow Africans. In the early stages, being one of the other Ugandan girls in my class as we were rather noticeable was quite unsettling. We had to learn how to step out of our comfort zone and made friends with our countrymen as well as some locals. We held group discussions and revision, and used our strengths in the various challenging subjects to help each other excel. I achieved my goal and graduated as a Telecommunications Engineer, something my mum doesn’t forget to bring up, given the opportune moment! 

There is no ‘I’ in TEAM
For postgrad, I did a Masters in International Business (I didn’t escape fate after all). The program is designed such that teams of 4-6 different nationalities and educational backgrounds tackle contemporary business challenges in management, strategy, finance, CSR, to mention but a few. Initially, this somewhat felt like the Hunger Games as it was very competitive and most of us had stereotypical perceptions of each other. As the weeks went by, we learned more about each other and used the varying team dynamics, vast experiences and skill sets to innovate feasible solutions to our assigned cases. 

These enriching experiences have shaped my view of the world and I feel that people should take advantage of the great opportunity of an increasingly globalized world to look at things from a different perspective. Diversity enriches creativity in solving problems and facilitates critical thinking, skills that are essential for one’s personal and professional development.

I believe each of us is a pixel in the bigger picture.

 “If you want to be successful, you should be able to relate to people from all walks of life.” ~ Zain Asher, CNN Correspondent

 This post has been written by Olga Kiconco and uploaded by A Turner on behalf of AWSN. 

(c) AWSN 2016