Cybersecurity Awareness Month - Celebrating Victoria Beckman
October is considered Cybersecurity Awareness Month to highlight the importance of cybersecurity and to exchange ideas, plans, thoughts and programs that strengthen cybersecurity for businesses as well as individuals. In honor of this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness month, Meru Data would like to showcase privacy and security professionals in this field and share their professional journey.
Victoria Beckman privacy and cybersecurity professional. She is currently an Associate General Counsel for Security & Privacy at Shopify. She has extensive expertise in areas like cybersecurity, cyber policy, AI, and data privacy. She has provided her insights on the profession and shared her journey with us.
Victoria Beckman was named One of Latin America’s TOP 25 Women in Cybersecurity 2022 by LATAM Women in Cybersecurity. She was awarded the Rising Star award by Latino Leaders Magazine in 2023. She received the MCCA Rising Star Award in 2021. MCCA’s Rising Stars features stellar attorneys whose accomplishments and dedication to the legal profession and to their community place them among those “attorneys to watch”. She was also listed as one of the 50 Top Influencers in Cybersecurity by Engatica in 2022.
What drew you into the Cybersecurity profession, and what do you love about what you do?
I did not plan to be in cybersecurity; I ended up doing this because I had to move to another state and get a different job. However, once I found out about cybersecurity, I was attracted to the idea of using my engineering background while still practicing law. I preferred the technical aspects of cybersecurity over verbose legal writing. I love a lot of things about what I do. I love the adrenaline rush of incident response, the ever-changing challenges and novel legal issues generated by new technologies, exploring new legislation, and the less traditional practices of cybersecurity because it somehow feels like a more even field for people starting their careers.
How do you think Cybersecurity as a profession evolved in the last 2-3 years and why is it essential for most organizations?
The frequency of attacks, their coverage in the media, and the consequences to critical infrastructure or to services that people use on their day-to-day have increased awareness for organizations, and most importantly, for their leadership. Cybersecurity is no longer considered a function solely of the IT or technical teams. Also, new regulation and enforcement actions of both security and privacy laws have helped evolve the profession to be seen as a more holistic field that needs professionals with diverse skills that go beyond only technical knowledge.
What skills do you think are essential for your role? What have you learned over the years to be successful in the cybersecurity profession?
In addition to the technical knowledge, there are several skills that are helpful like being open minded to entertain different ideas and work with multiple teams, being able to see the big picture of an issue, identifying the strengths of each member of a team to leverage them efficiently, humility to know that you don't know everything and own your mistakes, and many other skills that are needed in cybersecurity or any other field to be successful and work well with others. I also think it is important to give opportunities to people starting in cybersecurity and be willing to mentor them and help them advance their careers.
If you go back to the beginning of your career, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Always wear sunblock! :) There are many things that my younger self should have listened to, but to list a few: I would tell myself to be more flexible with my approach to interpreting certain laws to be aligned with the resources of organizations and not sweat too much the small stuff.
Any closing thoughts to other cybersecurity professionals especially other women aspiring to be leaders in this space?
Cybersecurity is a fascinating and rewarding career and a field with plenty of opportunities. I would encourage other women to find the subjects they enjoy and become experts in those topics. I would also tell them that it is never too late to get into cybersecurity and that there is not a specific or linear career path to be in the field and become a leader.