5 Minutes With... Ashwin Pal MACS CP, Director, Cyber Security –APAC at Unisys

3rd November 2020

Highlights

  • Ashwin Pal MACS CP is a cyber security expert with 22 years’ experience in the industry. 
  • Read more as Ashwin discusses knowing your cyber security footprint and advises on the most common cyber security challenges facing businesses today.
  • Ashwin will be speaking at our exclusive Parramatta event on cyber resilience. Learn more below.

1.  What inspired you to get into ICT and tell us about your career journey in cyber security? 

Computers always interested me and when I was in high school, it became obvious to me that IT and related technologies was going to become impervious in our lives so I thought, why not?

I got into cyber security as that always intrigued me and I was fortunate enough to join PriceWaterhouse in Wellington, NZ (PWC now) as a grad recruit and that’s where my journey began 22 years ago. It was steep learning curve, but it definitely put me on the right path. Within 5 years I was shoulder tapped to move to one of NZ’s largest Systems Integrator (Computerland and then Gen-i) to start up their cyber security practice.

4 years later I moved to their Sydney office to do the same and that’s how I ended up in Australia.  After 7 years at Gen-i I moved to Dimension Data as their Managed Security Practice Manager and then to Unisys to run Security Services as Director across APAC.  I have been in my current role for just over 4 years now.

2.  What are the most common types of cyber security mistakes or challenges you see businesses facing? How is the ICT industry working to overcome these challenges? 

The key things that come to mind are not understanding or realising the risk that cyber security poses to the continuity of your business, the inability to communicate cyber risk in business terms to boards and executives, and organisations not provisioning the resources necessary to adequately address this key business risk.  Unfortunately, the results of this are plainly obvious with new breach reports coming out daily.

The ICT industry is working hard on raising awareness of this key risk to organisations so that they can understand it and start to address it.  Again, this can be a little patchy as we still seem to struggle a little to articulate this in business language as opposed to technical terms. 

3.  As a technology leader, what is your greatest achievement to date?

I am going to cheat and list a few that come to mind:

  1. Designing and delivering cyber security for the Invictus Games held in Sydney in 2018 with zero budget! And managing to achieve zero security incidents
  2. Having organically grown a gender and ethnicity balanced cyber security team in my current role
  3. Giving back to the community through presentations to kids in schools and small business owners on cyber security

Also, to me it is about giving back, not what you achieve in the corporate world. The latter is a given.

4.  How has ACS membership supported your career journey in tech and what wisdom would you give to others looking to advance their career in ICT?  

The membership has allowed me to interact with like minded professionals and being able to share ideas. This is key in a field such as cyber security. It is also a great platform for networking and now as we are about to embark on the Micro-tribe event series, a platform to share what I know with others. 

My advice to others would be to never stop learning and always keep expanding your network. 

5.  What advice would you give to members around their cyber security footprint?

Know your security risk profile and align this to your risk appetite. Never assume you will not be a target. Everyone on the internet is a target and for cyber criminals, everyone is fair game regardless of size.  Organisations have to realise that cyber security is not a technical thing. It’s a real business risk that needs to be managed like one, as any serious cyber incident can affect your ability to continue as a business.  Know your security footprint and manage it to your risk tolerance levels. 

 


Meet Ashwin Pal as he shares his expertise on how to increase cyber resilience for your business. Register today!

Ashwin will be presenting on Cyber Resilience on Thursday 19 November from 12:15PM in Parramatta. For more details, please visit the event registration page.

If you would like to learn, be inspired and network with your ACS peers, join us for your local micro-tribe event. Register here.

To hear more from expert matter speakers like Ashwin Pal or if you would like to speak at a local event, please contact [email protected].

 


"5 Minutes With..." is a series of articles showcasing exceptional ACS Members and their amazing, innovative, and game changing stories. Representing over 48,000 tech professionals across Australia, our Members work across industry, government, research, and education organisations and each edition highlights the role they are playing in making Australia a world leader in technology talent, fostering innovation, and creating new forms of value.