In November, Noha Amin received the Women in Cyber Security Award at the 2017 International Cyber Security & Intelligence Conference (ICSIC). This award joins the long list of accolades behind Noha’s name. We are all extremely proud of Noha at TalkTalk and her energy and passion are infectious. I caught up with her to find how she does it all!
Who is Noha Amin?
Well, she is TalkTalk’s Information Security Awareness & Training Manager. She is also a female leader in Cyber Security arena. She has won multiple awards, is CISOCouncil Advisory board member, Chairman for Women Leaders in CyberSec, OWASP advisory board member, speaker and panellist for Cyber Security conferences in the Middle East, and ambassador for Tech City Exceptional Talent Visa Programme. Not only that but she currently has a book being published on women empowerment and also has time for her family.
She relocated to the UK a year ago to embark on the next step in her career journey. Two things become very clear when speaking to Noha; her focus on constant development and her passion for empowering women in Technology.
Noha has spent 16 years in the Cyber Security Management field. Her career started in Egypt, before heading over to the Gulf region and finally here to Manchester. I was keen to know why she decided to explore such a male dominated career path and what learnings she would pass on to others considering a similar career.
"“The cyber security field is booming as is the future of the digital technology growth. However, it was obvious that there was a lack of female contribution. I wanted to improve the strength of women when it comes to securing the cyberspace.”"
What was the trigger for you to explore a role in Security?
“The cyber security field is booming as is the future of the digital technology growth. However, it was obvious that there was a lack of female contribution. I wanted to improve the strength of women when it comes to securing the cyberspace. Women need to break the glass ceiling, which can put rigid barriers in front of their career path. I believed it was possible to be agile and go beyond the job. To solve the puzzle of overcoming these barriers, and to work on multiple identities to develop in the digital industry as well as improve women in cyber security contribution.”
Tell me about your career journey.
“Being an Engineer, I was always striving to invest in myself to improve my career, seeking quality in my work and to create team spirit with my colleagues to achieve our goals. I have done this by self-study, professional courses/certifications and working hard to overcome the barriers that could affect my career path (e.g. being a mother and managing work and childcare).
I started in Egypt, working in the Information Security Department for Egyptian Stock. I then moved to Bahrain, managing the Information Security Units for several Banks. I successfully had the honour of building a robust security framework that achieved the ISO 27001 certification for several consecutive years. It also received recognition from the banks as the best Security Implemented Program in Dubai. Throughout this time, I was overwhelmed by being recognized in Dubai and London by either being finalist or winning awards of Women in Cyber Security.
I realised that it was time to grow more and seek new challenge. I was lucky enough to get endorsed by Tech City UK-London as Exceptional Talent in this field, and believed that this is the right time and place to embark a new chapter.
I believe that success lead to success. Despite numerous awards and recognitions, I was overwhelmed by joining TalkTalk. I loved the team spirit, diversity and the encouragement for all colleagues’ efforts. It is a promising environment to achieve goals and lead the awareness of Cyber Security.”
What resources have supported you on your career journey?
“My beloved family was the starting point for me and supported my steps and decisions. My father, who is well recognised in the field of Engineering, helped me to develop a personality focused on achievement and success since my early years. My husband has also been a major supporter. He works in the same field and understands how I think, what we are looking for and continues to be a major supporter.
“Working in big firms that has solid management base and support security management helped me a lot to achieve for those employers, but also for myself. I always remember the old saying: “Don’t choose a job, yet, choose a boss” and I really believe that this is true. Having a supportive manager who believes in you and guides you towards achievement and success is a key to reach the goals and to learn more throughout the career path. I was humbled and grateful to have managers who have had those elements through my work journey in the Middle East, and I was lucky to find a role model manager here in TalkTalk. Stuart Lyle supports my steps and leads the journey. Equally, having truly marvellous colleagues who cooperate and encourage my ideas and participate in many of the activities that we conduct to support security awareness is brilliant!”
Is there any other advice you would give to those wanting to pursue a career in Security?
“Set high goals - women can achieve and are capable of overcoming the barriers. Break the glass ceiling and be confident of your skills. Check the possible ways to reach these goals and work towards that. Improve and seek help from others through feedback and listening to the comments of others. Look for role models and try to gain the experience by working hard and seek every opportunity to succeed.
I want to really encourage people to lead the change and be the game changer. Sometimes you will find difficulties, don’t stop, go ahead, find different solutions. When you come to a real crossroads or focal point in your career, follow the right path and be confident in your choice. Very often success points will lead to the other, and you will find greater success.
Hard work and determination is the key to success. At the beginning of my journey I was working a lot to learn even the small tasks that others may not want to do! We are learning each and everyday even if we don’t realise it.
Watch others, connect to others through social media and LinkedIn, and see how others think. You will then build your way and your personality.”
Finally, what is your current role in TalkTalk and how do you and your team add value to our colleagues and customers?
“I’m working for Stuart Lyle, Head of Security Risk Management, as Information Security Awareness and Training Manager.
I had a Security Awareness Strategy that builds on the ‘WOW effect’; that utilises subliminal and NLP techniques (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) through several effects (including image-based posts, videos, text, interactive assessments/games).
I always receive fantastic feedback from management and colleagues, throughout my career life, that I had a strong effect on them in the field of Information Security, to educate them and raising the security maturity level.
I’m looking forward to fully embedding the security awareness culture into colleagues everyday workings and helping build a more secure TalkTalk for both colleagues and, ultimately, our customers too.”