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Meet our employees: Women are the future of cyber security (part 2)

More and more women are working with cyber security in the software industry, and Visma is no exception. In the second part of this two-part series, get to know more of the talented women who are protecting Visma’s cloud software from cyber threats.

A collage showing the photos of some of the women interviewed for this article about women working with security at Visma.

For this article, we’ve interviewed women working across the security function at Visma, including Operations, Governance, Awareness, Testing, and Management. In Part 1 of this series, we profiled women working specifically with Security Development.

Cyber security is expected to cost the world over $10 trillion by 2025 according to global cybercrime researcher Cybersecurity Ventures. Visma invests heavily in security for its products and services and has seen a remarkable increase in women joining this vital discipline.

Isabel, Helle, Arbnora, Andreea, and Viltė  are five talented women working within various cyber security areas at Visma: Operations, Governance, Awareness, Testing, and Management. We asked them how they got started, what their typical day looks like, what they enjoy most about their job, and their advice for others interested in working in the field.

Isabel Arkvik, Security Management

Isabel Arkvik smiles for the camera.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

My background is from the banking industry within fraud and scams. I worked with that for seven years before I started working for Visma. I worked in many different fields within the fraud department at Nordea, including monitoring, incidents, intelligence, anti-money laundering, fraud related projects and business development. However as soon as I stepped into the field of security awareness, communication and training, I knew I had found my passion within security.

I have a Masters degree in Business Administration (M.B.A), Management controlling from Uppsala University, and a Bachelors degree from Solent University, International Business Management. 

What does a typical workday look like for you?

I work with security awareness and training at Visma. A typical day includes a variety of development activities for security projects at a global level. The day consists of many strategic planning activities, long-term projects and all the tasks that belong within the different projects. I also coordinate and facilitate for my team’s progress and assist as much as I can where it is needed. In the situation of security incidents, I assist with communication externally as well as internally. 

What is your favourite part of working with security at Visma?

Definitely all my colleagues and the energised culture at Visma. I love the people-oriented approach that Visma has and all that comes with it. I feel that people at Visma know that their work is truly valuable and that their opinions always matter and I think that is one of the reasons why the atmosphere is very joyful here.

Can you give one piece of advice to someone who’d like to work in security?

To work within security is actually something that we all should take part in, regardless of background and studies. I believe that everyone that has the motivation to work within the security field should contact the security department and simply express their wish. One can always learn very much and the field of security strongly benefits from all types of backgrounds that employees have. There is something for everyone!

Also read: Interview with Lead Security Researcher at Visma, Daniela Cruzes

Helle Hobbelhagen, Security Awareness

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I might have a bit of an uncommon/untraditional background for someone who works in cyber security, even though I don’t work technically but rather with security awareness, communications and training. I have a bachelor degree from BI Norwegian Business School in art management where I mainly focused on communication and brand building and then I went on to work with communications at an embassy before I took a Masters degree in information systems with a specialisation in digital business systems. This is because I was very interested in digital transformation and all the possibilities that it entails, but I also started to think about all the risks. Being curious by nature, I quickly took interest in the field of cyber security and the risk that cyber crime poses for businesses and governments across the world.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

A typical workday consists of all sorts of initiatives related to building a security culture within the whole of Visma. We have many projects related to putting security on the agenda in ways that make it comprehensible for everyone and relevant for our business activity.

Together with my colleagues I also provide support when it comes to communicating around cyber security to our clients, our partners and also internally. I organise participation at conferences, school talks and other security events, and I create content about security. We all have a responsibility when it comes to keeping our companies and ourselves secure, and my job is to teach Visma’s employees how to do so, so that everyone feels motivated and prepared to do their best in dealing with potential cyber crime.

What is your favourite part of working with security at Visma?

The people! I’m so lucky to be surrounded by so many extremely talented and passionate people which provides not only an awesome environment to be in but also so many learning experiences. No question is ever stupid! They’re always there to help out and answer questions and really do contribute to making security a popular topic in Visma.

Can you give one piece of advice to someone who’d like to work in security?

Be curious! And don’t be afraid of asking questions. I have been told that there’s no stupid questions and you should always keep that in mind if you should hesitate to reach out. There’s also many different fields within cyber security so it’s worth looking into, especially if you don’t necessarily have a technical background.

Also read: Two Visma employees among Norway’s top 50 women in tech

Arbnora Tahiri, Security Governance

Tell us a little bit about your background.

My name is Arbnora Tahiri, and I come from Kosovo, but I have lived in Norway since 2013. I hold a Bachelors degree in Computer Science from the University of Prishtina, and a Masters degree in Information Security from Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

After finishing my studies, I have been working with security in different industry sectors – such as in banking, insurance, and healthcare – covering different security roles (mostly technical).

I started to work at Visma in April 2021, as a Security Manager in Group Security, and I am located in the Oslo office.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

Well, not so many days are alike in Visma, and that makes this place a wonderful place to work. 

A typical workday for me is a combination of meetings and hands-on tasks. Between other things, I have the responsibility to work with Visma companies and help them to onboard and implement our security program, thus enabling them, as a company in the Visma family, to run their business in a secure, transparent and efficient way.

What is your favourite part of working with security at Visma?

The diversity of people and companies I work with! 

Being able to work with more than 250 different companies and more than 10,000 people, and help and enable them to make good security decisions every day, makes my role in Visma one of the favourite roles I have had until now.

Can you give one piece of advice to someone who’d like to work in security?

Working with security can sometimes be felt as a stressful and hard field to work with, and yes, get used to working hard and sometimes failing!

But the good side with it is that you will, every day, encounter new challenges and learning opportunities, so bored is not a word you will be using often :).

Andreea Daniela Jugarean, Security Operations

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I studied computer science at my town’s university. I was really into helping out and I always liked to get involved in different activities held for students that were dedicated to the IT industry. I participated in a few courses organised by Visma called “Meet the Geeks” and that is where I met for the first time those who would become some of my future colleagues. That summer I applied for a trainee position and ended up in Visma. I worked and studied for 2 years and then continued in this team full time ever since. 

What does a typical workday look like for you?

This is a very interesting question, because the security field and IT industry change constantly so you never have time to get bored. Also, a typical day is just hard to describe since there is so much going on. It would, however, start with our daily meetings. It’s always nice having them with the team, getting to discuss topics in the industry, share events and just have our nice talks. After that, everything varies from day to day: new cases, new investigations, new project ideas, new awareness articles and new reports. It’s always so exciting!

What is your favourite part of working with security at Visma?

I have to say, my absolute favourite part of working in security in Visma is my team. I like our dynamic very much, the knowledge sharing and the way we help each other. I am encouraged to do what I like and I feel like I can come up with ideas, suggestions and overall feedback and it will be listened to. I enjoy working on side projects that bring value into the team.

Working in security in general is really fun because it’s such a broad spectrum and I get to learn and experience so much in just one day. 

Can you give one piece of advice to someone who’d like to work in security?

Learn, research, adapt and never give up on it. It might seem overwhelming at times but just take a breather and come back to it. And never be afraid to seek help – even from strangers.

Viltė Gražulevičiūtė, Security Testing

Tell us a little bit about your background.

My name is Viltė, and I’m working from Vilnius, Lithuania. I’m a fourth-year student of Software Systems, and before I came to Visma’s security team, I had quite a few jobs: I worked as a customer support specialist, teacher for a few months, and then there were a few years of software development. However, I had a few security-related modules in university and it was quite an interesting topic for me for as far as I can remember, so I started learning some basics on my own and last July I got an internship here at Visma. After my internship, I was offered to join Visma’s MAVA (Manual Application Vulnerability Assessment) team, and so, here I am. 

What does a typical workday look like for you?

Well, my typical day usually starts by oversleeping: I either don’t hear my alarm clock or I dismiss it and get back to sleep. Once I finally wake up and come to the office, I make myself a few cups of coffee, talk to my colleagues for a few minutes and only then do I start working.

So, my day mainly consists of trying to break stuff. On the first day of testing a new application I get credentials to log in, I then map it out, make some notes on parts I find interesting and from there on I just try to find anything that works differently than it should and has an impact on the application’s security. 

What is your favourite part of working with security at Visma?

There are a few favourite parts of mine about working here. Firstly, I really like the diversity of Visma’s products as they’re built using different technologies. Therefore, the testing methodology has to change as well, at least a little bit, making it more interesting. Another thing is communication; while testing an application, I have to communicate with the development team, which, for me, is quite fun. Finally, the opportunity to grow: I’m surrounded by an amazing team. Everyone I work with is a professional who has worked here for far longer than I have and knows stuff I can only dream of knowing. So it’s a big motivation to boost my learning, just being around these people. 

Can you give one piece of advice to someone who’d like to work in security?

Well, the most important thing is to do what you love, so if security is something you’re interested in, just don’t give up. Learn stuff you don’t have any understanding of and do not pass up opportunities just because you think you know too little. Everything comes with time.

Want to learn more about the women of Visma?

Learn about Visma’s women in tech

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