October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month! Here at Nuance, our Global Security team’s mission is to ensure customers and employees are kept safe and secure. In this blog, hear how Umar, Senior Director Security Intelligence and Operations, and his colleagues protect Nuance stakeholders and data each day… in a single bound!
Meredith Mascolo joined Nuance in 2013 and is the Senior Manager, Communications. A perfect job for her, as she loves words, puns and idioms. She’s also the community manager for our company intranet. Meredith earned a B.M. in music education from Oberlin Conservatory and a M.S. in Administrative Studies, Innovation and Technology from Boston University. She is a classically trained violinist who enjoys playing her 5-string electric at yoga classes and other musical projects. She loves reading, cooking and yoga.
What do you do at Nuance? Share a little about your team.
I lead the Security Intelligence and Operations team, and we look after operational security, incident response, and threat hunting as part of our Chief Information Security Officer’s (CISO) team. My team’s mission is to detect and respond to threats and keep Nuance, our people, products, and data safe and secure. We do this in a number of ways – our highly skilled analysts utilize very sophisticated security toolsets to proactively monitor our environments, hunt threats, and prevent malicious intrusions. No day is the same and I am lucky to be in such an exciting role!
My team has grown to twenty strong, and we are based in North America, Europe, and Asia to cover all time zones. They have a real diversity in thought and skillset and are a truly exceptional team – they do a great job in circumstances that can be challenging.
This month is Cybersecurity Awareness Month – what does it mean to you? Why is it important?
My favorite month of the year – it’s like Christmas for me! In all seriousness, it is so, so important. We all need to take security into account in our day-to-day work to prevent attacks. My team monitors the level of cyber-attacks across the globe, and over the last year or so, attempted intrusions have shot up massively. And it’s not just the sheer number of attacks, but the sophistication of them, too. There are some well-financed and resourced groups out there, and the scope and scale are bigger as well. This isn’t a scare tactic, but more a fact of life, and since this is the way the world is now, we need to ensure that we are prepared – and we are. These threat actors don’t just try some sophisticated, fancy and complex network attack! They try to send phishing emails, they attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in systems that haven’t been updated in while, and they use ID’s and passwords that have been previously compromised and leaked. We can all be caught out like this. This is why it’s important that our Nuance employees continue to be security savvy. We need to keep cybersecurity in the forefront of our mind – hence, Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a great opportunity for our Global Security team to build even more awareness about security.
What are you and your team planning for Cybersecurity Awareness Month?
We have loads planned! Each week, we will hold a live session open to all employees featuring our Global Security team. They’ll talk about cybersecurity and topics that resonates with them in their day-to-day lives, like how to speak to their kids about cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is an area that affects us outside of the workplace as much as inside, so much of our lives, and our families’ lives are online these days, and it is important that we remain safe and secure. I really believe these sessions will further open our colleagues’ eyes to the nature of dangers on the web. I’m looking forward to an engaging conversation!
What inspires you in your security work?
Slightly corny, I know, but there is a big amount of satisfaction in my work since I’m on the side of the good guys. The fact that we are trying to keep our company and people secure against nasty and downright evil entities keeps me motivated. As far as inspiration is concerned, my team tackles this each day. They are technically gifted, yet humble, and work so hard in their roles. Looking at the effort and expertise that they consistently put into their jobs, I can’t help but feel inspired, not to mention driven to work as hard as I can so I don’t let them down.
What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
Apart from singing “Don’t Stop Believin’” at full volume at myself, wow, this is a tough one! There would be so much. There is little that I would actually change in my life, but there are so many times where I wish I had a bit more courage in my convictions. Maybe that would be it – “don’t be afraid to speak up!”
What are you currently listening to?
I have a 4-month old baby, so the “Baby Sleep” playlist on Spotify is currently my highest played playlist. But outside of that, I have an eclectic taste in music, and there probably isn’t a single genre that I don’t enjoy. The latest Royal Blood album is good, as is the latest release by the Canadian band Cleopatrick. Both are two-piece rock bands though, so maybe my taste isn’t as varied as I thought?