Q: How did you get into security?
I had a friend in a security role who told me how much fun it was. I've always been interested in computers, taking them apart and playing about with them. At my first firm, Worldcom, I was lucky enough to work in many different areas, but security was the most interesting.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
I enjoy the fact that no two jobs are ever the same, and each one represents a new challenge. Getting the keys to the kingdom is always satisfying for any security expert, although system administrators don't always see it like that.
Q: What most annoys you?
Not having enough time. Keeping up to date on research is literally impossible. Every anorak I've ever worked with would like more time. Also, management sometimes see me as a threat because I have access to information that could jeopardise their job. They don't understand my role.
Q: Who has influenced you the most?
Obviously, my friend who I followed into security, but back further my head of sixth form who encouraged me to go to university. Before that, I liked toying around with computers, but he encouraged me to go into further education. My business IT degree led to my first job at Worldcom.
Q: How do you describe your job to strangers?
It's often tough to explain without some sort of metaphor about being a guard dog! But I would say that it's more about finding out and identifying problems before someone else does. Once I have explained it, though, people are interested and often clients will want to sit in and observe what I do. I teach them the easy stuff, like watching port scans. Security certainly gets people's attention.