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Last time, I spoke with Cyber Czar founder Sorene Assefa. She’s passionate about raising cybersecurity awareness in South Africa.

This time is really special because I got to chat with Tripwire’s own Cindy Valladares. She really recognizes the importance of valuing people with information security talents.

Kim Crawley: What do you do and how did you get into cybersecurity?

Cindy Valladares: I lead a rock star team of marketers at Tripwire focused primarily on what I call brand-gen (branding with a flavor of lead gen). We work on analyst relations, PR, social media strategies, customer advocacy programs, content marketing, creative services, and supporting our sales team, especially in the Federal space. I came to cybersecurity because I enjoy working in a fast-paced environment with constant changes and difficult problems to solve. It’s a fascinating space where I can apply my creativity while protecting organizations from cyber attacks.

KC: Were you interested in computing when you were a kid?

CV: Well, when I was a kid, there weren’t many computers around. I was intrigued by the productivity and collaboration you could gain from it, but not necessarily about coding with it. I may be too social for that.

KC: Why is Tripwire an industry leader in securing companies’ own networks and cloud services?

CV: Tripwire is one of those iconic brands in security that people associate with trust and integrity. We’ve been in business for 21 years and continue to serve our customers by providing foundational controls to secure their environments– whether on-premise, virtual, or in the cloud. We continue to innovate as market needs change. Most importantly, I believe Tripwire is a leader in security not only because of its products but because we have a fantastic team of talented individuals who deeply care about helping our customers with their security, compliance, and operational needs.

KC: Do you think it’s still difficult these days for some women to be recognized for their talents and skills in this industry?

CV: I believe we’ve made some major strides in bringing awareness to the issues we face. There is an increase in the recognition of this problem and those who support it. I’m particularly interested in solving pay inequality, which is not a unique challenge to our industry. A call to action for all of us is to support organizations who encourage STEM in girls/women – a few examples are Girls Who Code, FIRST, and Girls Inc. At the RSA conference this year, Tripwire will be donating funds to some of these organizations.

KC: That’s excellent! What are some misconceptions people have about the work you do?

CV: Working in marketing for a cybersecurity company, I think most of my friends and family believe that I spend my time drinking wine and eating a nice meal with “hackers.” On a serious note, although cybersecurity is more mainstream now than it was a decade ago, there is still some misconceptions on the complexity of the attack tactics and the ability of the defenders to keep up with the dynamic nature of this industry. There is also plenty of blissful ignorance, and with the “lay people” (not in security), the perception is that if I don’t know about it, it won’t happen to me. At Tripwire, we aim to provide educational videos and sometimes humorous content to help raise awareness.

KC: Those are some excellent resources, thank you for sharing them!

What do you believe are the biggest problems in cybersecurity right now?

CV: One of the biggest challenges in cybersecurity is the ability to keep and retain skilled personnel. Cyber first responders often require more resources to do their work better. Vendors don’t help either by releasing shiny new tools with the promise of solving their problems. I believe a better method is to approach cybersecurity like a hierarchy of needs – focusing on foundational processes and tools before moving to the next new technology.

KC: What advice would you have for someone considering a cybersecurity career?

CV: Go for it! It’s an exciting and challenging career where you’re never going to get bored! You will be part of a vibrant community where you will meet people who will make you a better person and a talented professional. And when you join, be a giver – share your talents, your ideas, your skills with those around you to make cybersecurity an ever-growing field.

KC: Is there anything else you’d like to add before we go?

CV: Join me in living by the NIHITO (nothing interesting happens in the office) motto. Get engaged with the community, meet new people at the next event, and find opportunities to give back or pay it forward.

Thank you Kim for your time today – it was a great experience!

KC: Thank you as well, Cindy.


Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.

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