Cyber Work Podcast

Join us in the fight against cybercrime with weekly conversations about cybersecurity skills, jobs and industry trends.

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Previous Cyber Work episodes

Starting a cybersecurity business and building a diverse workforce

Despite being told she was “too young, too inexperienced, and too naïve” to contribute anything to the industry, Christine Izuakor decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Security Engineering at the age of 23. Four years later she completed the program, making her the youngest student and first African American woman to do so. On today’s episode, Dr. Izuakor talks about being a security engineering prodigy, hiring for a diverse workforce and her new company, Cyber Pop-up, an on-demand cybersecurity service platform powered by vetted freelancers.

Christine Izuakor is a Houston native, born of two parents who immigrated to America from Nigeria to pursue higher education. Starting from humble beginnings, Christine has always been motivated to maximize on the opportunities her parents and community created for her. In 2013, Christine decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Security Engineering at the University of Colorado. Her research contributions were published in numerous international journals, and she presented in international conferences from South Korea to Rome, Italy. During this entire journey, Dr. Izuakor also maintained a full-time job within the cyber security team of a Fortune 100 company.

Most recently, in 2020, Dr. Christine Izuakor shook up the industry with her departure from the corporate arena coupled with the launch of her new cybersecurity startup, Cyber Pop-up (, an on-demand cybersecurity service platform powered by vetted freelancers.
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Cloud security best practices and career tips

What exactly is the cloud? And how do you secure infrastructure that is not your own? On today’s episode, Oliver Tavakoli, chief technology officer at Vectra AI, discusses current cloud security best practices as well as tips he’s picked up during his 25-year cybersecurity career. He also has some good advice for people thinking of starting their own company (hint: have cash saved up, you're going to be money-losing for quite a while!).

Oliver Tavakoli is a technologist who has alternated between working for large and small companies throughout his 25-year career – he is clearly doing the latter right now. Prior to joining Vectra AI, Oliver spent more than seven years at Juniper as chief technical officer for the security business. Oliver joined Juniper as a result of its acquisition of Funk Software, where he was CTO and better known as developer #1 for Steel-Belted Radius. Prior to joining Funk Software, Oliver co-founded Trilogy Inc., and prior to that, he did stints at Novell, Fluent Machines and IBM. Oliver received an MS in mathematics and a BA in mathematics and computer science from the University of Tennessee.
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Job hunting tips for cybersecurity professionals

Learn all about cybersecurity job hunting with Eric Jeffery, senior managing consultant and solutions architect for IBM Security. Eric created the "Cyber Security Gray Beard" podcast to share his job experiences and help others advance their careers so they too can enjoy professional happiness in the cybersecurity industry. We dive deep into job hunting, rebounding if you've been fired or let go, ways non-technical people can make an impact in cybersecurity and other types of career advice he dispenses on his show.

Eric Jeffery has over 20 years’ experience in cybersecurity and currently works as a senior managing consultant and solutions architect for IBM Security. Eric has extensive industry experience with stints in entertainment, defense, aerospace, healthcare and technology, among others. He’s published numerous articles and spoken at several conferences around the U.S. and Canada. He runs a podcast under the moniker of Cyber Security Grey Beard® where he helps students and early professionals begin and grow in the cybersecurity field. Eric lives outside of Denver, Colorado, with his wife and has four grown children.
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Get started in computer forensics: Entry-level tips, skills and career paths

This week we're excited to have back one of the major figures in digital forensics, Paraben CEO Amber Schroader. Amber dives deep into the specific forensics skills you need to be successful, traits that make a good forensics investigator (her best team member is someone with a psychology background!) and the art of understanding language and semantics — all while walking us through key moments of a case. If you're looking towards career advice in computer forensics, get ready to learn from one of the best!

Amber Schroader is the CEO & Founder of Paraben Corporation. She has spent the last two decades as a driving force for innovation in digital forensics. Amber has developed over two-dozen software programs designed for the purposes of recovering digital data from mobile phones, computer hard drives, email and live monitoring services. In addition to designing technology for digital forensics, she also spearheaded the procedures for mobile and smartphone devices as well as the emerging field of IoT devices. Amber is the patent holder on the EMI shielding container, otherwise known as a Faraday bag, as well as inventor to many other shielding products. Amber has written and taught numerous classes for this specialized field as well as founded multiple certifications in the field. Ms. Schroader continues support through book contributions and other industry speaking engagements.
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Getting into security architecture: Careers, skills and ransomware

Get a peek behind the curtain of security architecture careers from Pranshu Bajpai, a security architect with Motorola who recently earned his doctorate in computer science with an emphasis on ransomware research and analysis. Pranshu discusses how to break into security architecture and build the skills you need for that type of a career. In particular, he says academic study at that height mostly prepares you for research and teaching work, and there are there are quicker and easier ways to build up your skill set.

Pranshu Bajpai has research interests in systems security, malware, digital forensics and threat intelligence. He has authored several papers for reputed magazines and journals including IEEE, Elsevier, ACM and ISACA. His work has been featured in various media outlets including Scientific American, The Conversation, Salon, Business Standard, Michigan Radio, GCN, GovTech and others. He is an active speaker at conferences and has spoken at APWG eCrime, DEFCON, GrrCon, Bsides, ToorCon and many others. He obtained his doctorate in Computer Science from Michigan State University and master's in Information Security from Indian Institute of Information Technology.
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Data privacy careers: GDPR, CCPA and the right to be forgotten

Whose responsibility is privacy, and what skills do you need to effectively implement and carry out new regulations like the right to be forgotten? On today's episode, Gabe Gumbs, Chief Innovation Officer at Spirion, discusses how GDPR and CCPA are affecting cybersecurity careers and how the data privacy job market will shift in the coming years. He also shares his thoughts on the much-discussed cybersecurity skills gap — and why it's never really existed.

Gabe Gumbs has a deep-rooted passion for technology, information security and problem solving. As Chief Innovation Officer of Spirion, a leader in rapid identification and protection of sensitive data, he’s channeling that passion to make the digital world a safer place. By spearheading Spirion’s vision for data privacy in the next decade and beyond, he’s leading the way to a more secure and private future for us all.
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About the Cyber Work Podcast

Knowledge is your best defense against cybercrime. Each week on Cyber Work, host Chris Sienko sits down with a new industry thought leader to discuss the latest cybersecurity trends — and how those trends are affecting the work of infosec professionals. Together we’ll empower everyone with the knowledge to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.

Chris Sienko

Cyber Work Host

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