#MIWIC2024: Lianne Potter, Head of SecOps at ASDA and Cyber Anthropologist at Compromising Positions

Organised by Eskenzi PR in media partnership with the IT Security Guru, the Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Awards aim to shed light on the remarkable women in our industry. The following is a feature on one of 2024’s Top 20 women selected by an esteemed panel of judges. Presented in a Q&A format, the nominee’s answers are written in their own words with minor edits made by the editor for readability and where relevant, supplemented with additional commentary by their nominator.

In 2024, the awards were sponsored by BTThink Cybersecurity Ltd. and Plexal, with Eskenzi PR, Assured and Women in Cybersecurity UK & Ireland Affiliate as partners.

What does your job role entail?

As the Head of SecOps for the largest greenfield technology transformation project in Europe, Lianne is building a leading edge security team from scratch to meet the needs of a modern retail organisation while empowering her team to think innovatively to create new standards in best practices.

Lianne has delivered talks across the globe to share her vision for a new type of security function.

Drawing upon her expertise as a cyber-anthropologist (through her consultancy, The Anthrosecurist), her practical experience as a security-focused software developer and as a security practitioner; Lianne combines the human and the technical aspects of security to evangelise a cultural security transformation.

She is on the advisory board for a community enterprise aimed at encouraging diversity in tech, is a published author, podcast regular, and recently won Computing.com’s Security Specialist of the Year for her work on human-centric approaches to security.

In 2021 she won two awards for Security Leader of the Year 2021 and Woman of the Year in the Enterprise category and in 2023 she won ‘Cyber Personality of the Year’ in The Real Cyber Awards.

You can listen to Lianne talk about her human-centric approach every Thursday on her podcast Compromising Positions, in which she interviews non-cybersecurity people from the world of anthropology, psychology and behavioural science about cybersecurity culture.

She is doing a Masters in AI and Data Science in 2024.

How did you get into the cybersecurity industry?
Lianne was a wedding photographer for ten years before she decided to re-train as a digital anthropologist, studying the cultural complexities of a life lived online. It was in her first job as a digital anthropologist that she began seeing the pressing need to ensure that technology was build with a focus on being human-centric throughout the process, from build to the end-human using the product/service. It was this need that convinced her to study a technical trade alongside her anthropological skills, so she taught herself how to code using free online resources with the hopes to become a human-centric software developer. That ambition was realised when she got her first job in tech as a software developer on the NHS’ graduate training scheme. It wasn’t long before Lianne became interested in the outputs of pentest reports (and remediating them!) that she began to considering adding a further skill to her new tech chops: cybersecurity! After a year of persistence (begging) in convincing the cybersecurity team to take her on, she finally managed to get a job as a SOC analyst overseeing 1.5m endpoints across NHS sites in the UK. Since then she has had several roles in cybersecurity, and has established her own consultancy utilising her past experience as an anthropologist to deliver ‘cyber anthropology’ to organisations serious about changing the security culture of their environment, and hosts a top charting cybersecurity podcast called Compromising Positions, focusing on changing security culture.
What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a woman in the tech/cyber industry and how did you overcome it?

On Lianne’s first day in tech she overheard another team suggesting that recent cohort of graduates into the tech programme (the one Lianne was a part of) was merely a diversity initiative, and that the women who got a place on the scheme were ‘diversity hires’ and not there on merit. This obviously wasn’t true as there was a robust interview and technical element to being successfully offered a place on the scheme. Lianne reported the incident and the matter was dealt with but looking back, Lianne now feels grateful to have been faced with such adversity so early on in her career. It spurred her on to do talks, set up code clubs and be a very public advocate for career re-trainers and women in tech. Her aim with these talks is to raise awareness and ensure no-one will every have to have a first day in tech like she did.

What are you doing to support other women, and/or to increase diversity, in the tech/cyber industry?

Lianne is a big advocate of deeds, not words to encourage more diversity into tech and cyber. She is fortunate enough to lead a technical team with a 50/50 gender split which is almost unheard of in the industry. She does this by ensuring flexibility (down to offering all roles on a part time and job share basis – also rare in the industry), mentorship and advocating opportunities for others. The thing Lianne is most proud of however, is for the last two years, during International Women’s Day, she offers up her skills and expertise in coaching women on how to ask for pay rises. She has successfully coached 11 women who have had great success in negotiating for pay rises or promotions, including one woman who successfully managed to negotiate a £20K increase.

What is one piece of advice you would give to girls/women looking to enter the cybersecurity industry?

As a hiring manager, Lianne never expects anyone to meet the job spec 100%, so don’t be afraid to apply even if you only meet about 70% of the criteria! A good leader is always looking for potential, not perfection.

The post #MIWIC2024: Lianne Potter, Head of SecOps at ASDA and Cyber Anthropologist at Compromising Positions first appeared on IT Security Guru.

The post #MIWIC2024: Lianne Potter, Head of SecOps at ASDA and Cyber Anthropologist at Compromising Positions appeared first on IT Security Guru.

Go to Source
Author: Charley Nash