AVP IT Security Manager, Independent Bank
Which exams have you helped develop?
CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+ and CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP).
Why did you become a subject matter expert?
I was instantly interested when I first heard about the item writing workshop opportunity. It offered a chance to combine my background in writing with my current abilities in IT. After attending my first session, I was hooked and have been coming back every year since. I’ve found it to be a wonderful way to connect with others in the industry. I’ve been able to sharpen my skills and increase my knowledge by conversing with some leading experts in the field of information security. I find it to be well worth the time and travel that I put into it and look forward to attending other workshops in the future.
Based on your solid background in IT security, what knowledge or abilities do you think is most important for IT pros entering this field to possess?
It’s necessary to have at least a general understanding of how all areas of IT function. The IT professional may be called upon to review the security of information wherever it resides. That could mean diving into application security, network security or physical security, just to name a few areas. In this industry, one has to have a proper perspective on the severity of vulnerabilities in one’s organization and the current risks both internally and externally. Additionally, it’s critical to understand, and perpetuate the understanding, that information security is there to support the business. It should never be a roadblock. We should be enabling the business to do what needs to be done in a secure manner.
How did you get into IT?
Like most people, I wandered into college not really knowing what I wanted to do. A couple of years in, however, I broke into the IT field. After working various retail positions and for the writing center at my school, I responded to an ad in the paper for a helpdesk position. It was my first IT job at a small ISP in Lansing, MI. This was before high-speed Internet was prevalent so large portions of my day were spent walking people through setting up their dial-up connections. I worked both the helpdesk job and the writing center job for a while, but it got to be too much while attending school full-time and the IT job won out. I switched my major to computer networking and the rest is history.
What do you do for your day job?
I manage a small information security shop for Independent Bank, a Michigan-based business. My duties include writing and reviewing standards and procedures, conducting vulnerabilities assessments, responding to employee concerns and questions, and continually improving the security posture of our organization. Information security is a challenging and fascinating field. I enjoy researching current trends to understand how they impact the flow and storage of customer information. Technologies including cloud storage, mobile device management and compliance/legislation are current areas of focus for me.
What are you doing when you're not working?
When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our wonderful four-month-old baby boy. We also enjoy the outdoors and animals and are putting together an organic hobby farm. Right now, we just have chickens, but hope to include bee-keeping, goats, sheep and cows. We enjoy traveling domestically and internationally. Personally, I have traveled to 10 different countries and 29 states. I also enjoy singing (even tried out for American Idol) and can easily be talked into Karaoke. I’ve served as president or vice president most of the years I’ve been involved with Toastmasters and currently serve on the board for the Lansing ISSA chapter. I’m constantly reading books, usually several at a time, with a particular fondness for new fiction and older classics including Sherlock Holmes, Jane Eyre and Shakespeare. I’ve competed in triathlons and also write for a financial blog. Needless to say, I keep myself very busy.