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Opportunity in Cybersecurity: Q&A With Niki Tailor From Tessian

  • By Maddie Rosenthal
  • 18 January 2020

Tessian’s mission is to secure the human layer by empowering people to do their best work, without security getting in their way.

Niki Tailor is a Platform Engineer at Tessian, where she’s worked for almost two years. Since starting, she’s been promoted to Team Lead and manages three people. Prior to joining Tessian, she worked first as an Analyst at Nomura, then as an Equities Technology Development and Operations Engineer at Bank of America. 

Before entering the field, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Computer and Management Science.

“Working in a start-up that’s trying to solve really interesting real-world problems is the best part for me. The challenges around securing sensitive data are immense, but that’s where the most interesting challenges lie.”
Niki Tailor Platform Engineer, Tessian

Q. Describe your role as a Platform Engineer in 300 characters or less

Security, stability, scalability, reliability, and automation of our Human Layer Security platform. As a Team Lead, I have people management responsibilities too, but day-to-day work involves solving problems, building new architecture, and empowering our engineering teams.

Q. Have you always been interested in cybersecurity?

Even though I studied Computer Science and Management, I didn’t always know I was interested in the field. My A-levels were a random mix of Math, French, Art and Economics. I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I chose a broad range of subjects that would allow me to pursue pretty much anything later on. 

But there are a few tech professionals in my family, so I was exposed to it throughout my life. I was always taking a peek at what my dad was working on so, unlike a lot of other people, I knew the industry existed and what the path to it could look like.

Q. How did you isolate Engineering as your area of interest from the larger umbrella of Computer Science?

I’ve had a lot of opportunities both at University and through the work experience I got during and afterwards that have helped direct me towards what I enjoy the most. 

My business-focused courses showed me that the technical, hands-on work was what I was most interested in and the work I did coding as a developer made me realize that sort of role probably wasn’t the best use of my skills. I think those experiences are really important. Even though I didn’t enjoy the work, it’s good to have an understanding of the theory behind each of these things. It’s helped me do better work in the roles I really like.

Q. What interests you the most about the work you do?

Working in a start-up that’s trying to solve really interesting real-world problems is the best part for me. The challenges around securing sensitive data are immense, but that’s where the most interesting challenges lie.

As a comparison, I’m not working in a corporate environment where bureaucracy is a challenge. The work I do isn’t done with the goal of making rich people richer. I’m actually doing something good. 

You read articles where businesses or charities get scammed and organizations lose millions and people lose their jobs. It’s rewarding to be a part of what’s preventing things like this from happening.

Q. Does that sort of work lend itself to unlimited growth potential?

The field is only going to get bigger. The problems we solve are only going to get bigger. I mean, right now, Tessian is solving the problem of security on email. Eventually, we’ll be solving the problem of security on all platforms. 

That means there are so many opportunities to learn new things and exercise creativity. This is a field that really encourages trying, even if it means failing which means you never get bored. No two days are never the same.  

This profile is a part of the larger Opportunity in Cybersecurity Report 2020. Click here to download the report and click here to read more profiles of women in cybersecurity, including professionals from IBM, Funding Circle, KPMG and more.

#TheFutureIsCyber

Maddie Rosenthal
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