- Rika Pydde
- 29 years
- Employed since september 2016
M.Sc. IT (Software Development), ITU
How would you describe your field and main tasks?
My job as a IT Security Specialist in the NNIT Cyber Defense Center is to help protect the IT systems and data of our customers from malicious attackers. In my daily work, I am mainly a security analyst, which means that I investigate and analyze events that happened on a laptop or in an IT system to find out if there is a potential threat or a compromise happening. I do this by using the different tools and software that our customers have bought, like e.g. intrusion detection systems, log management systems, endpoint detection and response systems or antivirus software. By looking at the data in the systems, I can find out if something unusual and suspicious has happened or is currently happening.
The other part of my job is then the role of a security incident handler, which means that I am identifying and containing the threat or attack and ensure to eradicate any malicious artifacts, so that we can recover the system or machine. After every security incident, we also meet and discuss in the team to learn from our experiences and improve the way we are handling similar situations in the future.
What are the most exciting and challenging parts of your job?
When a customer suddenly is under attack by a malicious group or person and everyone from our department is getting involved in stopping the attack, there is a lot of excitement in the air. I love these kind of situations, because they really show how awesome it is to work together with an amazing team of nerds – of whom everyone has their own special competences and skills. We all cooperate to find out what is going on and stop the attack. This is also the most challenging part of my job, because there is a lot of pressure in such a situation – especially because we are also directly communicating with the customer and keeping them updated of the steps we are taking. Depending on the incident, it can even be possible to track down the attacker and deliver the forensic evidence to the police to ensure that the person can be caught.
How do you use your education in your position?
Since I have a background as software developer, it appears very unusual to end up as a security analyst and incident handler instead of working as a security-focused developer. However, I realized that I do not only want to program 24/7, but participate in handling actual attacks. I am still scripting in my daily work (mainly in python), e.g. to automate different tasks like the creation of investigation reports.
Furthermore, my educational background helps me to understand how software is build up and how it works – and since malware (e.g. Trojans) are also just software, it makes it easier for me to understand how a malicious program is working and acting on a machine. During my Master program, I already had an interest in security and therefore selected security courses as electives. The knowledge from those courses helped me greatly to quickly get into my current job.
Additionally, the fact that my education was spread over three different countries (Germany, Japan, Denmark) gave me an advantage in regard to interaction with our global customers.
What are the three most important things to you in your work at NNIT?
1. Working together with open and honest nerdy colleagues (who I am also hanging out with after work) with many different skills and backgrounds.
2. Flexibility of my company and my manager in regard to work hours and methods (e.g. work from home), which gives me a lot of freedom and ensures a good work-life balance.
3. Knowledge-sharing initiatives and social activities with my team and other departments, that spark my creativity and inspire me.
Why is NNIT an attractive company for you to work in?
NNIT is such an interesting work place within IT due to its position as an IT service provider with many large customers and software vendor partnerships. NNIT delivers IT services (including security services) to customers from very different business lines (e.g. enterprise, public, healthcare, pharma). This is a big advantage when working with security in NNIT, since I can see many different targeted attacks and types of malware depending on the customer type and therefore learn about a wide array of threats.
Furthermore, the various departments and roles within NNIT give me the opportunity to try out many job positions. The main reason I chose NNIT in the start was the NNIT Graduate Program, which I participated in. It gave me the opportunity to try out three different job roles within the company over a period of 18 months. This ensure that I got a lot of experience within the field of IT and within the company, which now helps me greatly in my daily work.