Video: SASIG Gateway 'boosts junior cyber-security professionals up the career ladder'

News by Tom Reeve

I recently had the opportunity to meet up with some of the founding members of SASIG Gateway, a spin-off of the SASIG network, which aims to help junior cyber-security professionals network and build their careers.

Watch the video interview with SASIG Gateway members

Junior cyber-security security professionals looking for a boost up the career ladder will be offered a helping hand from SASIG Gateway from early next year.

SASIG Gateway is a spin-off of the Security Awareness Special Interest Group (SASIG) which currently counts over 3,000 senior information security executives, primarily from the UK, as members. Founded 15 years ago by Martin Smith, the managing director of security-awareness consultants The Security Company, SASIG is a subscription-free networking forum which runs more than 30 free workshops a year for its members on a wide range of information security issues.

SASIG Gateway is a new initiative from SASIG which aims to help those who are in the early stages of their cyber-security careers by opening up the resources currently enjoyed by their more senior colleagues.

I met up with some members of the SASIG Gateway steering committee during Cyber Security Connect 2018 in Monaco recently, an event which was organised by Les Assises de la Sécurité and DG Consultants in association with SASIG.

I began by asking Joseph Wise, who heads up the Gateway initiative for SASIG, if the objective was to encourage more people into the cyber-security industry.

He explained that the aim of SASIG Gateway was to help those who are already pursuing a career in cyber-security. "We are not about getting more people into the cyber-security industry – there are people doing that already," he said. "SASIG’s specialty is about networking and knowledge sharing between security professionals, and with SASIG Gateway we are now focussing on bringing people up to the next level, helping to produce the next generation of CISOs and making sure they are as diverse as possible."

One of the senior members of the steering committee is Craig Botwin, director of information security in Europe for the vehicle-rental company Enterprise Holdings. He joined SASIG around six years ago when he moved into cyber-security from IT and has found it "a great way to learn from the other professionals".

He believes SASIG Gateway will help people from other professions as they transfer into security. "If you have something like this, it helps to demystify it and shows that there are other people who are taking that journey along with you," he said.

He hopes to give something back to the industry through his involvement in SASIG Gateway. "I want to help the next generation to grow because that’s how we all get better and how can start to tackle the skills gap and move all of our businesses forward," he said.

Becca Schroder is digital comms and security awareness manager at Vodafone Group. She recently completed a graduate training scheme at Vodafone UK and this is her first cyber-security role.

She attended her first SASIG workshop while still on the graduate scheme after a colleague recommended the session to her. Not only did she learn something from the workshop, she also networked and still stays in contact with people she met there.

"SASIG enabled me to see that there was so much more experience to be gained in security. When I started my placement it was in fraud so it was very niche and I couldn’t see where my career path could go," she said. "It looked like a ladder that would only lead to the top of fraud and then that was it. Once you had done that, you would be at the top of your game and where else to would there be to branch out to?"

It is, she said, invaluable in helping her to plan her career. "It’s better to have the conversations now rather than wait until I’m at that level and have the conversations retrospectively and think, if only I had known then what I know now. Or been able to speak to someone at that point in time," she said.

There are currently 25 people involved in developing SASIG Gateway. They will hold a launch event early next year which will probably be hosted by one of the larger corporate members of SASIG at a venue in London.

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