In our latest reader Q&A, Elida Policastro describes the “superior mission” of protecting the public from cyber crime
What is your full job title?
Regional Vice President, Cybersecurity Division – Auriga
How long have you worked in the industry?
For more than 20 years
How long have you worked in your current role?
For one year, since Auriga acquired LDM, the cybersecurity division of S21Sec
How did you get into your current role?
I got into this role after working for over 20 years in corporate end user sales, channel sales, business development, team building, sales management and channel management in the IT industry in EMEA, US, ASIA & LATAM. I gained extensive expertise in managing Spanish and International sales and marketing teams in the security, storage, virtualization and cloud infrastructure markets, leading sales operations for turnaround and high-growth organizations.
What does a typical day look like?
First, I have a morning coffee and quickly check updates on the latest cybersecurity sector news. I catch up with the most urgent mails/WhatsApp messages from east to west (Indonesia to México timezone). I have calls with partners, banking customers and prospects and then have a quick lunch at my computer.
I attend cybersecurity events, follow up meetings with the internal LDM team and discussions with Auriga´s teams, sales; presales; marketing; control management; finance & board.
I try and find time to study/prepare presentations/sales arguments on new features and articles. I try to maintain and improve skill.
I then have a break to walk or do some sports and have dinner before checking the latest communication with the LATAM team and customers. Then I do some night reading on non-related job topics.
What is your greatest achievement so far?
My greatest achievement is building a community of 80 professionals for Palo Also Networks almost from scratch, while expanding a Westcon distribution contract from two to 20 countries in EMEA. This resulted in exploding sales from $10M to $100M and reaching over 25% of Palo Alto Networks market share in less than three years. It was an exhausting but amazing experience with one of the most outstanding security vendors I have ever work for.
What is the most challenging thing about your role?
Cybersecurity it is a quite changing and complex world in which you need to keep updated at a very high speed to be able to follow the changing trends and technologies. This is always a challenge. On the other hand, not being able to travel in COVID times represents a challenge at this moment, but since the moment we are able to grab the attention of the prospect and we are able to show the technology, doors then start to open.
What part of your role do you enjoy the most?
What I enjoy the most is having the opportunity to meet fascinating and bright professionals from all around the world and learn every day about different ways of applying security strategies to fight against cybercriminals.
How do you see your role/industry changing in the next few years?
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are playing an increasing role in cybersecurity, with security tools analysing data from millions of cyber incidents, and using it to identify potential threats – an employee account acting strangely by clicking on phishing links, for example, or a new variant of malware. A key benefit of machine learning in cybersecurity is that it identifies and reacts to suspected problems almost immediately, preventing potential issues from disrupting business.
By deploying AI-based cybersecurity to automate some of the defence functions, aims to ensure that the network is going to be safe, without relying on humans having to perform the impossible the task of monitoring everything at once.
AI-based cybersecurity has “many benefits” but isn’t a complete replacement for human security staff; and like any other software on the network, you can’t just install it and forget about it – it needs to be regularly evaluated. You cannot assume that AI and machine learning are going to solve all the problems.
Would you recommend working in this role, please give your reasons?
On one hand, dedicating my professional life to the cybersecurity field gives me the feeling to work for a “superior mission” more than work for living. You wake up every day feeling you are “giving back” by focusing all your efforts and energy, all you have learned throughout your life in protecting society from cybercriminals. It is a fascinating field I must say. If you combine this with a passion for people & technology, you are internationally driven and have a sales oriented character; I would strongly recommend the job I have in Auriga for sure.
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