June 9, 2023Print | PDF
The Master of Science in Management Analytics program at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University welcomed Amir Ansari (MBA ’13) on May 24 for a seminar focused on cybersecurity. Ansari provided insight into the challenges faced in cybersecurity, lessons learned from cybersecurity incidents and provided tips for those looking to excel in the industry.
The seminar began with Ansari sharing his journey into cybersecurity. With a background in supply chain management, he eventually found himself drawn into the world of IT through CyberArk monitoring. He now works at TD Bank as an information security specialist.
Ansari stated that cybersecurity is a complex but important discipline, especially in the financial industry. Financial institutions, like TD must consider several aspects. This includes but is not limited to risk management, regulatory compliance and tax implications.
Ansari also discussed the ways in which geopolitical events impact the economy, investment and IT security. The relationship today between the US, Russia and Ukraine serving as an example. Organizations must be aware of these contexts if they are to protect themselves from economic disruptions and cybercrime.
Several real-world examples were brought up to highlight the importance of cybersecurity. Fujifilm had their systems attacked in 2021 which led to a blackmail situation. Due to being proactive with their cybersecurity the compromised data was able to be in the market without any impact to the company.
Whereas an incident that affected Target in 2013 had a different outcome. Target outsourced their data management offshore which led to third-party hackers infiltrating their databases. This caused the credit and debit card data of 40 million customers and the personal information of around 70 million people to be breached.
Ansari said that hackers look to attack organizations when they are the most unaware. “When a boxer breathes out, that is when their opponent attacks,” said Ansari. Planning accordingly before an attack happens is needed as the price of negligence can be costly.
The seminar was concluded with valuable advice for those seeking opportunities in cybersecurity.
Emphasis was put on developing your own brand. This involves knowing who you are, what you do, why you do it and what value you bring. Having a clear idea of these aspects will ensure that companies will hire you. In addition to this, Ansari referenced the need to be a resourceful and solution-focused professional.
Ansari stated that to achieve your career goals, change readiness is integral. Being ready to meet and exceed expectations as well as being adoptive and vigilant is a part of that. Being optimistic when things do not go your way is important and connecting with those who also have this mindset will benefit you.
“You can’t change your environment, but you can choose who you bring along with you”, said Ansari.
Ansari also provided organizational tips that will aid in searching for and applying to jobs in the industry. He recommended creating an Excel sheet with your former roles, making sure to include high level descriptions and tagging each with a domain. Doing so allows you to quickly compare your experience with job descriptions and assess what domains you may need to develop in more.
In addition, creating a graph showcasing the technical skills you have acquired over time is helpful. This allows you to assess what skills you have developed and perhaps if it is time to develop some more. Continuously assessing your development and learning will create a systematic bridge wherever you go.