Tania Ward has lived the role of a Security Champion throughout her career and is now passing on her wisdom and expertise to others. In her current role at Dell Technologies, Tania oversees the security training curriculum as well as the Security Champions program. Tania’s contributions to SAFECode include the successful publication of the Security Champion blog series. As a big believer in infusing a company’s culture with security, we wanted to get her opinion on a few topics.
What got you started in the industry?
I got started in the industry in 2012 as the Security Champion Program Manager at Microsoft. In 2013, I joined the Product Security Office in EMC to work within product security incident response team. Now, I work in Dell Technologies overseeing, security training and the security champions program, my role shifted from being more reactive to proactive.
What do you love most about this industry?
There are so many things I love about the industry, but the two that standout would be how dynamic it is and the growth opportunity. By dynamic, I mean that the threats today are not the same as they will be tomorrow, they are constantly changing and evolving so our profession never gets mundane. Secondly, it’s like an endless chess game, where you need to be constantly updating your skills whether that is understanding new technologies and how to securely leverage them or understanding new exploits and preventive measures to get ahead of the game.
Describe the biggest threat to the industry today.
One of the biggest threats is definitely around supply chain attacks. As companies have strengthen their security programs, adversaries look for the weakest leak. Finding the weakest leak has become easier as information has become more accessible with the digital age. Future state, something I’ve been thinking about recently is the impact of artificial intelligence and machine learning and how the threat landscape will evolve based on these technologies.
How does SAFECode help to address those threats?
SAFECode is unique. It is the only place that creates an environment where the individuals working to protect us from all cyber-attacks can come together, develop solutions and best practices to address these threats. Just as importantly, SAFECode provides solutions and best practices to anyone in the industry – for free. SAFECode is one of the “good guys” working to make the world safer enabling the workforce to have the required tools to defend and protect.
What’s the best benefit you get as a member of SAFECode?
There are a lot of benefits to SAFECode membership. What I value the most is the ability to collaborate with other vendors from a diverse set of industries. We’re not alone in some of the problems that we face in our jobs and when we come together with other vendors as SAFECode to try and solve these problems, we often get to a better place – if not a solution – and not just as companies but as an industry.
Who inspires you?
Ernest Shackleton who was a British polar explorer with a multitude of expeditions to anatartica inspires me. He faced harsh conditions in a way that speaks more directly to the world we live in today. Shackleton was a resilient leader, he had the courage to take on risks and challenges and the ability to bounce back from misfortunes and changes placed upon him and his crew that almost defy belief. Resiliency is a key attribute when you’re working in the security industry.
What has been your involvement with SAFECode?
I participated in the Security Champion Blog series earlier this year that shed light on an important topic for a lot of companies. We are also beginning to further the training program by developing new training materials and updating existing trainings. Training will be a key focus for SAFECode’s Technical Leadership Council over the next few months. SAFECode allows the opportunity for companies to come together to collaborate and create trainings that can be used across the entire industry and help to create a culture of security throughout the industry