Azadeh highlights emerging trends in the cybersecurity space you should watch out for and offers advice to other women looking to start their own company in tech.
W.I.T. Republic (WR): To kick-off, could you tell us a bit about what got you interested in a career in tech?
Azadeh Haratian Nezhadi (AHN): There are a few reasons why I was interested to pursue a career in the tech industry. First of all, I like to solve problems (puzzles) every day and find solutions, a tech career gives me the opportunity to do just that. I also have a passion for learning and in order to solve these problems, it is necessary to study a lot and learn by doing.
The diverse scope of technology makes me existed because every day is interesting, no two days are the same and I always feel as though I am delivering value to my organisation. The final thing that attracted me to a career in tech, was that I would have the freedom to work anywhere in the world, it’s not mandatory to work in an office.
WR: As the Co-Founder of Taktify, what would you say are some of the benefits and challenges of starting your own company in the industry?
AHN: Building a company from scratch is similar to raising a baby. You know how to develop a product, but you don’t know the language of the customer and the market. To overcome this challenge, it’s necessary to trial and error test several times with several different customers.
The first advantage of starting your own company is the autonomy of decision-making. At Taxify, we interviewed the customers first to discover what need it was that needed solving and then built the product and validated it.
A personal advantage for me when starting Taxify is that I am able to invest my energy in ways that simply bring me joy and meaning. If the company grows, it would help me grow not only financially but also emotionally.
The third advantage of starting your own company is that you get to meet so many people during the journey and expand your network, which if you were an employee of another company, you may not have the opportunity to do.
In my experience I would say that the most challenging part for me when starting my own company was the instability of financial agreement with the customers; the difficulty turning your pilot customer into a paying customer. I have noticed that this has become even more of a challenge since the pandemic.
WR: What advice do you have for other women in tech looking to take the leap and start their own business?
AHN: Trust your ability and the journey. Find a good mentor that helps you to accelerate your company’s growth. Be a lifetime learner in order to be successful in your business.
Do not listen to negative feedback about your gender inability. Build your network with other women. Help each other to grow.
WR: Since your career in tech began, what are the biggest changes you have seen in the cybersecurity space?
AHN: The biggest change has been the advancement of emerging technologies and how we are able to utilize these technologies against cybersecurity threats. That being said, these cybersecurity attacks have become more sophisticated since my career in the industry began, making the identification and detection of these threats very challenging.
Another good change has been the development of so many standards and best practices that help cyber security professionals to define baselines.
WR: Looking forward, what emerging trends in cybersecurity are you most excited about seeing and why?
AHN: Cybersecurity is a very interesting domain. In order to be in the field, it is necessary to have a diverse knowledge of different technologies. I’m excited about the evolution of new technologies like machine learning and blockchain as they will be extremely beneficial in the cybersecurity space.
To go into this a bit more; machine learning will help to automate the cybersecurity detection and prevention mechanism by using historical data and it will enable cybersecurity experts to automate their process and emerging new tools and techniques. Blockchain provides decentralized system data storage which can be used to prevent data theft, fraud, and identity theft. Which is going to be used in product designs to reduce risk.
Another area that I am excited to see develop, is the IoT/smart systems space. These technologies are used in many different critical systems and although they would bring additional value of automation, they do impose new risks to both businesses and individuals. The security of IoT devices and data transmission is definitely an emerging trend and something to watch out for.
WR: The digital skills gap is currently a hot topic, what are your top tips for other women in tech to continuously develop their skills in cybersecurity?
AHN: Cybersecurity is a very interesting and unique space, and there are several areas where women in tech can utilize their soft skills to develop their technical skills.
One way to learn more about cybersecurity is to attend the Cybersecurity Awareness program, this is a great way to find your knowledge gap and propose and define a plan to conduct awareness.
Another thing that I would recommend to ensure that you are staying up-to-date with the industry, is to always monitor and track changes in standards and best practices, this is particularly true for data security which is a hot topic at the moment.
WR: Finally, what’s the best piece of advice you have received throughout your career?
AHN: Be persistent in your journey, invest in your growth, you will find your way eventually. You cannot imagine how much power you have.
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