Employee Spotlight: Lydia, Managing Consultant, RM&G, UK

Lydia Lavender

How did you end up working in cyber security?

In a nutshell, I did a degree in computer programming.

When I finished university I did a bit of traveling before realising it was time to get a job. There was an advert at my local council for an admin assistant role on the information security team and I applied. I joined the team for a year before taking the opportunity to go traveling again for a bit longer.

When I came back a few years later the same role was being advertised again and the team took me back. So that’s where it all began. I spent the next seven years on the information security team working my way up from admin assistant, to consultant and then manager.

In the end I was managing the team for a couple of years. I then hit a bit of a glass ceiling and moved to one of the big four consultancy firms. I was there for a while before I decided it wasn’t for me, so when the opportunity arouse I jumped at the chance to come to NCC Group.

Why is your role important?

When I started at NCC Group I was a PCI DSS Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) because there was a shortage and there was a lot of work going on from a payment card perspective.

But quickly after I joined, the draft General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came out and after having conversations with my manager he realised that there was a gap in the team.

Now I’m part of a team delivering GDPR and privacy work almost exclusively because the legislation is only a few months away.

At the moment for me this is the best part because I’m finally doing privacy, which is what I originally got in to information security to do.

What do you love about your career?

What is it I don’t love? What gets me out of bed at 3:15am every morning to get to my clients around the country so that I can start my work? I simply just enjoy it.

You’ll chat to your friends and they’re always moaning about their jobs and how tired they are and how they don’t get paid enough. I’m tired too but I love what I do!

From a consultancy side of things I’m always meeting new people and I’m somewhere new every few weeks. I get enough time to go in, learn a business, meet loads of new people, help them and then move on. There’s just no time to get bored.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I don’t think I’d change anything because I fell in to this and that’s one of the reasons I like it so much. I learnt as I went along because I didn’t know much, I mean, cyber security wasn’t around when I left university, but learning as I went opened a lot of doors for me and I have found myself doing things and understanding things that I would never have even considered.

But to my younger self I’d just say to go with whatever opportunity comes up that interests you. Be open minded and learn as you go. One of the reasons I’m excited about where I am now is that I genuinely feel like I’ve worked my way up. It’s important to have a bit of patience and to enjoy the journey.

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Published date:  13 March 2018

Written by:  Lydia Lavender

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