Managing the Information Security team without previous relevant professional experience in the Information Security Technology field
Not so long ago, and right before COVID started, I was asked to manage, among others, the Information Security team. I have always loved new challenges and taking over positions out of my comfort zone, and this was one of the most challenging ones, at least at the beginning, since I did not have any relevant professional experience in the information security technology field.
I had to adapt fast to many different technical capabilities and to learn even faster the jargon used amongst the team members to ensure the continuity of excellence within the Organisation.
As much challenging as it was in the beginning, I soon started to feel comfortable in the work because I had the willingness to learn, but also a strong supportive network of professionals who introduced me to new technologies and taught me so many things in this field! It was quite a ride, with ups and downs like on a roller coaster. Still, now I stand at the point where I can confidently say that I truly enjoy the different topics I deal with daily. I am thankful to the wonderful team I have and I am proud of the meaning and importance that our job brings to the institution and the counterparties dealing with it.
With such a small percentage of women occupied in this sector in the EU, one can immediately understand what it means to swim against the tide. Knowing that we are already dealing with a severe talent gap, more females in the cybersecurity field would help boost the industry. They would fulfill the organizations’ and companies’ drastic need for talented professionals. The gender gap that once remained unnoticed is now resurfacing with the actions of organizations like “Women Cyber Force.”
This association is inspiring as I can relate to it from my own experience and how it was applied in my case: I can genuinely say that with your hard work and with the support of other amazing professional women, you can get the knowledge and encouragement to learn and excel in a new field.
Finally, being a mother to a young girl, I value even more the existence of such an association, which inspires girls and women never to stop! To believe in themselves and to keep trying even for what seems to be impossible!
For the all above and much more, Women Cyber Force is an association that I keep close to my heart, I will continue to follow, and I will be delighted to see growing!
About the author
Dr. Stefania Ciraolo, Head of the Risk Management Coordination Division at the European Investment Bank (EIB), is a risk professional with over 20 years of field experience both in the private and public sector. The EIB division which she currently manages, includes the ‘’Operational Risk and Cybersecurity’’ unit; responsible for the Bank’s cyber security risk management, the creation and review of cybersecurity/IT policies, IT security and operations, compliance with critical Bank controls (Swift), and other strategic actions to improve business processes, cyber security posture, and IT governance. Stefania has proven results in building internal and external client relationships and driving innovations in competitive and ever-changing markets.
Aside her current position, Stefania is also the Secretary General of the Global Emerging Markets Consortium (GEMs). Her experience in risk management is not only extensive (particularly in the public sector) but diverse, and her sound knowledge on the topic has placed her in the frontline of the highest level of negotiations not only with IFI members of the GEMs Consortium but also with other EU institutions. Before her current role, Stefania worked for almost three years as Advisor to the President of the European Investment Bank on issues under his direct responsibility – notably, Risk Management, Financials, Monitoring of Operations, Financial Control and EIB’s subsidiary (European Investment Fund).