Many societies have always held the belief that as long as virtual crimes are out of sight, they are out of mind. The Covid storm, on the other hand, has had a more tangible impact. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that cybercrime will be a $6 trillion business, and cyber security is already universally acknowledged as a serious problem. Individuals and families are affected as well as corporations.
In today’s world, cybersecurity is a vital investment for organisations, as well as a required collaboration across all industries. With her team of strategic advisers, risk assessors, and ethical hackers, Shamane Tan, Chief Growth Officer at Privasec (now Sekuro), is responsible for identifying issues faced by various CISOs or security executives in organisations and assisting them in bridging any knowledge or skill gaps. She says, “We have a whole army who contributes to maturing an overall organisation’s security posture.”
Privasec (now Sekuro) is one of the APAC’s fastest growing cyber security company. It has a RED Team that conducts ethical hacking for organisations and a GRC team specialising in Governance, Risk, and Compliance.
Shamane Tan, Sekuro’s Chief Growth Officer, is in charge of the company’s outreach strategy, which aims to assist C-level executives in achieving value preservation and corporate growth goals through cyber risk management. She began her career with a bachelor’s (hons) degree in computer engineering and even as a keynote speaker today, brings the best perspectives of both worlds, technical and business, to assist executives bridge comparable barriers.
The following are the highlights of the interview between World’s Leaders and Shamane Tan:
How would you describe your leadership style and philosophy?
Having experienced the benefits myself of being under leadership that empowers and encourages their staff to take ownership of what they desire to achieve, I am a strong believer in the same. Great leadership influences. It does not look at clipping people’s wings, but empowers, equips and supports people in expressing their potential on a blank canvas that’s laid before them. A disruptive leader is creative, challenges boundaries, and celebrates diversity in thinking. It is also important to have a culture that does not condemn mistakes but displays empathy.
What are the three things you would like to see improved in most businesses in addressing cyber risk?
In order to impact a cultural change across an organisation, we need to pivot the awareness and thinking at the leadership level that cyber risk affects everyone. This has to be at the front of mind across all levels of the organisation, and we need to help make it personal and relevant to the individuals.
The second thing I would do is to challenge the mindset of the business, especially the executive leaders, if they have taken a proactive approach with their cyber risk strategy, instead of being reactive. As part of growth and security maturity, it makes sense for businesses to start looking at an offensive strategy which will give them foresight to plan their next tactical move, as compared to just being on the backfoot playing defence.
Finally, executive leaders will take a very different approach to preparing their organisation if they start from the assumption that a cyber-attack or breach is bound to happen. I believe if businesses start preparing for the inevitable cyber disruptions, they will be looking at running more war room exercises and maturing their business continuity processes as part of crisis management drills. Companies need to be talking to their peers more, especially across industry sectors. Information and experience exchange are invaluable in contributing to the growth and uplift of our ecosystem.
According to you, what is the most significant barrier for female leaders in the tech sector?
I have always grown up in a male-dominated industry. Even in university, when I was doing my Bachelor’s Honours in Computer Engineering, there were only two of us women in a whole class filled with men, and it could be quite a daunting sight to enter the room.
A significant barrier for women would be the existing stigma from society that technology is a male dominated industry, which has also perpetuated any inner doubts that women might already have.
I would say the key challenge first is in overcoming the critics in our own mind, and the imposter syndrome that we’ve always had to battle with which persuaded us to let the extroverts, stronger personalities and the louder voices dominate the room.
Striving to achieve your aspirations will always be an on-going journey. I would like to encourage our industry to pivot and aspire for greatness together. Just like what I shared in my TEDx talk, ‘The Impostor Syndrome of the Tall Poppy’, let’s be a nation of tall poppies together.
What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken as a professional?
It would be being vocally unafraid to go for my dreams and combining that with authenticity and vulnerability at the same time. I challenged myself to step out of my comfort zone when I saw a need in the industry, which led to me founding an international cyber risk meetup community.
I believe in the power of building strong and deep relationships, and in reaching out to mentors, who have helped me navigate the corporate landscape over the years. They have contributed to accelerating my growth, and I realised that as professionals, we should not only be vocal about our achievements, but even more importantly, vocal about cheering the people around us who have made positive strides as well.
Does your organization’s corporate responsibility strategy match the availability of your current resources?
We take great care and pride in curating a culture which promotes our diversity, individual passions, and development aspirations. Our collective values bring us together as one team to execute our mission.
As we are passionate in advancing the security industry and supporting community mentorship initiatives, we recognise the need to be intentional in creating space and time for the team to give back. Once a quarter, the team is also encouraged to spend a day on us, contributing to a charitable association of their choosing.
Where do you see your company in the next five years?
As the landscape of cyber security is constantly evolving, Sekuro will continue to grow with exceptional focus on people and quality. Our mission is to provide a fully integrated end-to-end security services catering to the modern ways of doing business, from start-ups, future unicorns to enterprises, while maintaining high standards of accountability and care. It’s about offering an unprecedented customer experience as we aim to turn every customer into a client for life.
What is some of the advice you share with young women entering a male-dominated tech field or any profession?
Sometimes, when young women enter their profession, they can find the journey more challenging to navigate, especially when their view of the top of the ladder is that of an overcrowded male leadership. However, my advice would be to own the fact that we might be a minority but be proud of it. We should use our uniqueness and differences to our advantage. Let’s see our differences in the way we approach, think about and see things, as a complementary value add to the current way things are being done in organisations.
Also, surround yourself with mentors, and a community of healthy and positively minded people who will inspire you for greatness. Just don’t fall into the trap of expecting perfection from yourselves, because if you do, then you might never dare to attempt it.
A coach once told me that the sky was the limit, and it has just stuck in my mind. When my limiting beliefs arise within me, I simply remind myself that it is only I who can limit my own potential.