Name: Robert Kato
Title: IT Specialist
Employer: African Development Bank
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology and Master’s Degree in Information Systems
Years in IT: 10
Years in cybersecurity: 5
Cybersecurity certifications: CISSP, CCNA Security
How did you decide upon a career in cybersecurity?
I started my career mostly doing systems administration and networking roles. At that time, especially in Africa, connectivity and system performance were the most important aspects. We had servers that had 128GB of memory and a 64 Kpbs DSL link and would cost $500 monthly. However, with the increase in computing power and high speed internet connectivity, security threats have increased and organizations started to look for security professionals to protect their networks and data. There was a shortage of qualified professionals, and I saw this as a career growth opportunity. That is when I immersed myself into cybersecurity, after all it was something that I enjoyed doing.
Why did you get your CISSP®?
I had been doing information security tasks in the various positions and companies I had worked for, but I didn’t have a formal certification from a reputable organization. I researched extensively and came to the conclusion that the CISSP was the undisputed king of cybersecurity certifications. The depth of knowledge of the course, the experience required to become certified and the endorsement from (ISC)², a globally recognized and respected body in the field made the CISSP the right fit for me.
What is a typical day like for you?
I get into the office at 7:30 a.m. and spend my first hour on devotions, reading newspapers and tech blogs. For the remaining part of the day, I am mostly monitoring and analyzing the company’s network, applying security patches and updates, reviewing logs of different systems to identify any suspicious occurrences or behavior and developing mitigation strategies. Since I am part of a team, I also help out on other tasks like troubleshooting, backups, network administration and 3rd level user support. I also design and implement security projects and upgrades as needed.
Can you tell us about a personal career highlight?
There have been several highlights in my career, and each have been unique. One I can mention is when I interviewed for the position of Network and Security Manager at East Africa’s biggest commercial bank. I emerged as the best candidate and the feedback I received from panelists were that they were very impressed with the broad knowledge I had on several key issues. They were also impressed with my level of attention to detail and were convinced that I was the perfect fit for the role. This new role and level of responsibility has pushed me to work harder and become an even better security professional.
How has the CISSP certification helped you in your career?
The CISSP certification has equipped me with new skills and broad knowledge that I can draw on while performing my duties. I have learned not to focus on the nuts and bolts, but rather think like a manager and focus on the big picture. I have come to appreciate that as much as security is important, safety must come first in any security design or implementation. The CISSP has also provided me with the opportunity to meet and collaborate with like-minded security professionals through my local (ISC)² chapter.
What is the most useful advice you have for other cybersecurity professionals?
The most useful advice I can share is to be professional and maintain integrity in everything you do. The skills that cybersecurity professionals possess are enormous, and if used the wrong way they can have far reaching consequences.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share?
Cybercrimes have increased in the recent past and I have witnessed careers and businesses get destroyed as a result of security breaches. It’s our duty as security professionals to do our best and stop these criminals.
Are you interested in earning your CISSP certification? Download the free exam outline today.