A close-up headshot of a woman smiling at the camera against a picturesque outdoor background.
Ayesha Imtiaz. Image: Avanade

‘Working with different industries can broaden your perspective’

23 Jun 2021

Security analyst Ayesha Imtiaz talks about the challenges working in infosec and why diversity is so important in her role.

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With virtually every company looking to improve their cyber defences, it’s vital to have security professionals who are able to work closely with businesses to maximise their security position and safeguard their business.

In her role as senior security analyst at Avanade in Dublin, Ayesha Imtiaz does just that – working with the company’s clients to help them improve their security posture and implement new technologies to keep their data safe and secure.

She told Siliconrepublic.com that the role is both challenging and exciting as she gets to work with many different clients and is exposed to multiple security practices within the industry.

‘I try to focus on the newest technologies in order to remain up to date with current trends in security’

If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?

During a typical workday, one of my biggest tasks is checking in with my team and updating the progress on various projects. We normally meet on Monday morning and set goals for the week.

Most of the day is spent on project work, which includes working on various technologies, designing roadmaps for clients and then implementing them.

I spend any remaining time with extra tasks I have taken on, such as innovation and engagement activities within Avanade.

What kind of projects do you work on?

As I am in security, I normally work on cloud security projects and with growing security concern around data, this is becoming more challenging and exciting to work on.

I try to focus on the newest technologies in order to remain up to date with current trends in security.

What skills do you use on a daily basis?

On daily basis, I get to use my Microsoft cloud skills and I get to learn new skills almost every day, which is very exciting.

For a role such as mine, technical skills are definitely important but these are something that you can learn with time.

Soft skills play a very important role as well, such as communication skills. You need to have great communication skills to make sure everyone in the team is understanding their responsibilities and there is no communication gap left as that can cause serious glitches while implementing a project.

Presentation skills are also very important as they help with explaining the business value of a project to the client.

What is the hardest part of your working day?

At times, taking on too many tasks can be a problem. That doesn’t happen too often but whenever it does it could be a little stressful.

There are big perks with working with various clients in different sectors, but there can also be a few setbacks as well such as administrative overheads, for example, following long processes to get approvals and getting access to different things etc.

It can be little time consuming at times but at the end of day, processes are there for better auditing and logging, which I understand.

Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the working day?

I would say organising your tasks of the day first thing in morning is very helpful and communication with the team is very important, especially now when we all are working remotely. It is very important for the team to stay on the same page and keep communicating.

Managing time smartly is also very important. If something can wait and be done on an email, don’t schedule a call for that. Or if a two-minute call can be quicker, do that rather than waiting a day for reply on email.

When you first started this job, what were you most surprised to learn was important in the role?

Avanade has a very diverse team and I love this. What I was surprised to learn was how important soft skills can be, especially when working in a diverse team.

Other than that, I was pleasantly surprised to know the exposure you can get working with clients of various scales and industries. It helps with your own learning a lot.

How has this role changed as this sector has grown and evolved?

My role has always been around security and with ever-growing security challenges, my role is focusing more and more on improving security for the client’s environment.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

I enjoy working with clients of different industries, it broadens your exposure and perspective and you get to learn a lot.

I love working with a diverse team. You get to learn a lot from others’ experience and skills. It is never boring working for Avanade. There is always something outside of normal work as well.

Outside of work, we have different activities one can participate in such as games, movie club, cooking club etc. It is quite fun working for Avanade, and they always encourage maintaining work-life balance.

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