A Conversation With Dr. Meg Layton | An InfoSec Life


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By Sean Martin and Marco Ciappelli Dr. Meg Layton and I both worked at Symantec during the early 2000s, where we were both tasked with building security management and incident response products for the enterprise market. At the time, neither of us could have guessed we would end up doing a podcast together nearly 20 years later. But we did. And this is it! With educational roots in political science—which gets Marco to perk up during any conversation—Meg takes us back to her time in high school where she gained an appreciation for technology and essentially became a hacker by getting the lighting board/computer on stage to do what she needed it to do. After beginning her tech career at a non-profit, Meg took her freshly-learned skills of building out a network for an African-operating telecommunications company. During her time with the telco, she quickly realized that the cybersecurity challenges faced were different in different countries—a country in the middle of civil war had to prepare for and deal with things others may not encounter. It’s not every day that you have to think about protecting critical communications beyond rebel lines. And, even though the networks she was working on were based on cellular technologies, the work she was doing around some of the first security data correlation activities involved shipping security log data on CDs via DHL. “ Everybody’s interpretation of reality is just slightly different based on their life experiences. — Dr. Meg Layton As she progressed in her career, Meg speaks to the value of her political science education as the need for human-oriented soft skills continues to rise to the top of the career stack in terms of importance and relevancy. It also comes in handy as questions involving ethics and morals arise. As Meg notes (paraphrased ): “In this field, you have to make ethical and moral choices ... you need to know what personal lines exist and be able to articulate them before you are asked to do something that makes you cross the line—these decisions will define your career.” Another area that defines us as humans is the work we do for others—and Meg is very active on this front, educating and mentoring and grooming the next generation of InfoSec professionals. Not only does she support the Cyber Patriot program and Cyberjutsu Girls, but she also works closely with both the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts of America to help young adults earn their cybersecurity badges. Looking back to see how technology and cybersecurity have changed over the years, Meg’s journey into and throughout the cybersecurity field is one filled with adventure, exploration, and inspiration. It’s great to see her success and also her giving back to the community. Are you ready to hear her story? Good! Press play now. _________________ Learn more about this column's sponsors: Devo: www.itspmagazine.com/company-directory/devo Find more An InfoSec Life stories on ITSPmagazine: www.itspmagazine.com/an-infosec-life

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