‘From an early age, I’ve been interested in lots of different things. I used to go to the library with my father to read magazines about astronomy, physics and technology. Stargazing is my hobby now. I head out with my own telescope and take photos of stars, planets and the moon. My wide-ranging interests and curiosity are probably why I ended up in cybersecurity. Because it’s a very broad area too. It’s not just about the technologies used because the people working with them are just as important, so you really need to know about the human factor.’

Everything under control? Everything secure?
‘At NN, they were looking for somebody with a knowledge of security and security awareness. By coincidence, that’s what I had graduated in, so it was a great fit. I’ve recently taken up a permanent role as a Security Officer in the IT Risk & Security team at Pension New Business. This is a new role in a progressive business unit. Our team therefore includes lots of DevOps engineers who are constantly building and maintaining innovative applications and portals. It goes without saying that they have all kinds of questions about the security of these new technologies. It’s my job to monitor the security of IT processes and to help the engineers with risk assessments. These are investigations into the possibility of a specific risk occurring and into the effects of that risk when it occurs.’

Spider in the web
‘Like a spider sitting in its web, I try and connect all the threads. Cybersecurity affects all the departments in our business, which is why I also deal with organisational issues. For example, I work closely with our risk managers and with external players such as De Nederlandsche Bank, who look over our shoulders. As a security officer, I’m also a kind of ambassador. I don’t just want to draft security guidelines and check IT processes. I also want to promote a way of working. That’s why I ask our developers to think carefully about cybersecurity at an early stage. The earlier the better.’

Rapid growth driven by personal development
‘At NN, I get to spend one day a week on my personal development. I take part in workshops and discover new technologies. It’s incredible how quickly you grow as a result. This growth is crucial in an environment in which my colleagues are constantly innovating. Stagnation means decline. I’m also part of NN’s IT Young Potential Programme. You get to know the business, other disciplines and other professionals and build a network. The programme is a huge opportunity to discover what suits you.’

Cybersecurity guild
To keep developers up-to-date with the latest security developments, we’ve set up a security guild. In the guild we also tackle issues that can strengthen our security even further. As a result of the coronavirus crisis and working from home, there’s a changing dynamic of course. When I’m back at the office, I try and make the best of being physically present by focussing on the work that’s easiest to do at the office.’

It makes you stronger as an individual and as a team
‘I recently spoke to a colleague. She thought I was an open and pleasant colleague and was happy that I had a permanent role at NN. She also said that the care I took in my job was really appreciated. Of course, it’s inspiring to hear that: you’re appreciated for who you are and that’s also expressed openly. Of course, that openness has a positive impact: you become stronger as an individual and as a team. And that means that together we can get a huge amount done here.’