An Unexpected Journey into Cybersecurity
Michael Meli, Group CISO at Julius Bär, discusses his intriguing journey, the unique challenges in the financial sector, and shares invaluable insights for those looking to move into the field of cybersecurity. Meet Michael at GOHack23, he'll be speaking in the EDU Track on December 1.
Michael, how did you get into cybersecurity? What fascinates you about this field?
Actually by chance. After graduation, tI was at a crossroads regarding my career path. UBS was looking for an IT Application Auditor; I applied and got the job. At that time, we had little idea of the magnitude this field would reach. What fascinates me most is the vast scope of cybersecurity and the rapid pace at which it evolves. It never gets boring.
What fascinates me most is the vast scope of cybersecurity and the rapid pace at which it evolves. It never gets boring.
Given the critical nature of the financial services industry and the sensitive data it handles, it's especially susceptible to cyber threats. How do you view the current and future challenges of cybersecurity specifically in finance, and how does this differ from other sectors?
To be blunt, I don't think there are any significant differences from other industries in terms of future challenges. The financial services industry was the first to be confronted with the issue, hence the head start.
Julius Bär is an Education Partner for GOHack23. What motivated you to support this cybersecurity event?
Fundamentally, it boils down to two things: I want to give back what I also received during my studies – a tangible insight into a profession and benefiting from practical advice. Additionally, our field is experiencing a shortage of new talent. I aim to counteract that by highlighting how exciting this profession truly is.
Cybersecurity's importance is increasingly being recognized by many organizations. How do you see the role of a CISO in today's business landscape compared to the past?
The CISO role has undergone significant transformation, shifting from a purely technical standpoint to a more risk-oriented business perspective. While understanding technology remains essential, one must also articulate and convey risks in a language comprehensible to senior management. The CISO role is now increasingly emerging as a decision-maker and a prominent member of senior management, finally living up to the "C" in its title, which stands for "Chief."
The CISO role is now increasingly emerging as a decision-maker and a prominent member of senior management, finally living up to the "C" in its title, which stands for "Chief."
GOHack23 will host new talents, enthusiasts, including career changers. What advice would you give someone interested in a cybersecurity career, possibly considering joining Julius Bär?
The first step is identifying what you genuinely enjoy: whether it's pinpointing vulnerabilities, designing technical solutions, detecting breaches, or risk management. Are you a reserved techie or a more outgoing doer? In cybersecurity, there's something suitable for everyone. However, it's crucial to know your strengths and weaknesses and choose your specialization accordingly. Once you have clarity, pursue your goal with determination, be ready to go the extra mile, and show true dedication.