This post is part of our Women’s History Month series – follow along with us on Twitter @VMwareCarbonBlack  

In continued celebration of Women’s History Month, we are excited to bring you our next featured security expert as a part of our six-part Women in Security series. Throughout March, we are highlighting outstanding women on the VMware Security Business Unit team as well as customers who are making their mark on the security industry and helping to keep the world safe from cyberattacks.

 

Meet Lavine Oluoch, Threat Analyst in the VMware Security Business Unit. A 2020 college graduate, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer and Digital Forensics. She started her post-grad career at VMware in late 2020. She is passionate about all things cybersecurity and partners with SEIDEA, a career development platform with a social mission of diversifying the cybersecurity industry, by providing online training to members and helping them get certified.

Tell us about yourself and your background and what led you to VMware?
I graduated in May 2020 from Champlain College, where I earned a degree in Computer and Digital Forensics. Early on I was interested in programming and participated in a number of coding boot camps right after high school. But when I began to think about my career long-term, I gravitated towards cybersecurity and ethical hacking. While working on my undergrad degree, I interned at the Leahy Center for Digital Forensics & Cybersecurity as a technical researcher, which led me to my role here at VMware.

What is your current role at VMware? And what does a typical day look like for you?
As a threat analyst, my team acts as a managed response and detection service for various VMware customers. As an analyst, I go through alerts generated by multiple organizations on a daily basis based on what activity is doing on their networks. We then determine if any malicious activity is taking place. If it is, then we notify the client and provide recommendations on how to mitigate these risks. When larger attacks are identified in these environments, we do a deep-dive analysis after the initial response to determine the root cause of the attack and the policies that can be put into place to prevent future attacks.

One thing that drew me to this role was the flexibility it offered. As someone who was just getting their feet wet in the enterprise security industry, I found this role allowed for a great deal of personal growth and development. It also offers a number of opportunities to collaborate with other team members on various projects, and with other security teams across the VMware Security Business Unit.

Who is your role model in tech or security?
In college, I was one of the very few women in my classes, so most of the female mentorships or help I received was sought out externally through networking groups such as Women in Cybersecurity. Noureen Njoroge, who is now the Director of Global Cyber Threat Intelligence at Nike is a great role model for me. Noureen and I are both Kenyan, so it helped to see someone from a similar background in the industry not only be so successful but also move up the corporate ladder. At VMware, Taree Reardon is a member of my team and someone I look up to. Generally, I seek insight on how to excel in my career from other women in my online communities.

What excites you most about security and the future of security at VMware?
Recently,  VMware introduced VMware Carbon Black Cloud Workload. This product offering is continuing to grow, which is very exciting to watch. Our team at VMware is also looking to put more of our skill sets to use, which I’m excited about. We currently have a lot of talented people on our teams with different backgrounds and experience areas so we are hoping to expand our individual skills in order to really harness the team’s knowledge for the benefit of our customers.

In honor of Women’s History Month, what advice do you have for women looking to get into the security industry?
I would advise them not to fear digging deep if they find an area of expertise they are really interested in. Dive right into it and strive to be a subject matter expert in that particular field. Many programs offer a small amount of insight into the different areas of security but it’s then your job to go in and peel back the layers to really understand how that field works. I also think it is important to note the value of certifications. I would advise those who are still working on their undergrad degree to ask around about the trainings and courses they can take to prepare for their first job. This is something that I wish I knew in the early days of my career. The certificates and trainings can play a key role in getting your foot in the door within the industry.

Is there anything you are doing outside of work that encourages women to join the security industry?
Last year, especially during the height of COVID-19, I participated in a number of webinars with SEIDEA. This is an organization that aims to help women obtain their cybersecurity certifications in order to break into the cyber field. It is a great way to network and meet new people within the industry. You never know when you will need someone’s help, so the best way is to give back to the community and be of service to other people – that is how you can also get value in return.

Stay tuned for more Q&As throughout Women’s History Month, and be sure to follow the #WomensHistoryMonth and #ChooseToChallenge conversations on Twitter: @vmw_carbonblack.

Follow the Women in Security Series: