Top 10 Under 40: Megan Doherty, Security technical specialist, Microsoft Canada
By Canadian Security StaffNews top 10 under 40
What do you enjoy most about your security role?
Building trust and helping teams feel empowered. Nothing is more fulfilling to me than working with a team and having them feel confident in the solution we are progressing towards. There’s a privilege to getting to problem-solve and understand the risks and complexities organizations go through in terms of cybersecurity. Getting direct exposure and being able to approach that through the lens of creating a positive change in security teams is exciting.
Another understated aspect of my role is the internal collaboration. Security is not a one-person job and it takes many talented individuals to lean on for expertise.
How has the industry changed since you became a security professional and what further changes would you like to see?
I officially joined this industry in 2020. The increase in malicious activity was terrifying, but there was excitement in the challenge. I want to see security vulnerabilities and risks being talked about at a business level. You can have as many security tools as you want but if policies and risks aren’t being understood from the top down, there’s a large disconnect that creates gaps and pockets for insider risk and mismanagement of security processes.
Outside of professional training, what has helped you the most in terms of skills development?
Mentorship, exposure and honest conversations. Mentorship showed me what was possible and how to overcome certain obstacles, like finding the areas that interest you most and tackling impostor syndrome. Competitive painting helped with understanding how to read a room. There’s a lot of difficult conversations in this field and understanding how to approach them in the moment is vital. Art Battle is a competitive painting exhibition where artists paint live for 20 minutes, competing against each other while a live crowd votes for their favourite piece. The key here is to understand what the crowd enjoys, create shock and tension, and then pull them in! These skills also apply to security storytelling.
How can the security industry encourage more participation and market itself as a viable and thriving career?
I truly believe we need to draw more young people in by highlighting the exciting and fulfilling parts of cybersecurity. Problem-solving and genuinely helping people, you quickly see the impact in this field.
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