Table of Contents
In this interview blog, we speak to Farhad Foroughi, Head of Information Security and IT at AZA Finance, who has been instrumental in establishing a strong security culture within the organization for over four years. Farhad discusses his role in ensuring the security and integrity of all information technology systems and data within AZA Finance, his proudest accomplishments, his superpowers, and the best advice he can give to those starting their careers in the security and IT field.
Q: How long have you been at AZA Finance, and what is your role?
A: I have been at AZA for four years. My primary role as the Head of Information Security and IT at AZA Finance is to ensure the security and integrity of all the information technology systems and data within the organization. I am responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures to protect our information assets’ confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
In this role, I oversee the IT department and work closely with other departments to identify and mitigate information security risks. This includes conducting regular security assessments, implementing appropriate security controls, monitoring systems for security breaches, and responding quickly to security incidents.
I also ensure all employees know their roles and responsibilities in maintaining information security. This involves providing training and awareness programs to help employees at AZA Finance understand the importance of information security and how to protect sensitive data.
Overall, my role as the Head of Information Security and IT at AZA Finance is to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our information assets while also ensuring that our IT systems are reliable and efficient.
Q: What accomplishments are you most proud of?
A: As the Head of Information Security and IT at AZA Finance, I am proud to have led efforts to establish a strong security culture within AZA Finance for over four years. This includes promoting security awareness among all employees and ensuring that security is considered in all aspects of our operations.
One of the key accomplishments I am proud of is implementing a comprehensive security program that aligns with industry best practices and regulatory requirements. This program includes regular security assessments, vulnerability scans, and penetration testing to identify and address potential security threats. We have also implemented strong access controls, encryption, and other technical measures to protect our systems and data.
Another accomplishment that I am proud of is our focus on customer privacy. We have taken steps to ensure that our customer’s personal and financial information is always protected. This includes implementing data protection measures, such as encryption and access controls, and ensuring that all employees are trained on the importance of protecting customer data.
Overall, I am proud to have worked with the exceptional team at AZA Finance to enhance our security culture and prioritise the privacy of our customers in compliance with applicable regulations. These efforts have helped to build trust with our customers and ensure that our organization remains secure and resilient in the face of ever-evolving security threats.
Q: What is your superpower at work?
A: One of my superpowers is connecting with people, which is crucial to my success as a security manager. It enables me to create messaging that resonates with our audience and build strong relationships with colleagues, partners, and clients.
I understand that security is not just about technology but also about people. Therefore, connecting with people from all walks of life and communicating effectively is a valuable skill necessary for maintaining security. This is especially true when dealing with non-technical staff or external stakeholders who may need a deeper understanding of the technical aspects of security.
Another thing I consider to be my superpower is the ability to deeply understand the significance of reviewing past outcomes and using the takeaways to make informed decisions for the future while also recognising the importance of being adaptable in the face of new challenges and responsibilities. Threats and challenges are constantly evolving, and it is necessary to be able to pivot and adjust strategies to address them effectively.
In summary, my superpowers are my ability to connect with people, my analytical skills, and my adaptability. These skills enable me to build strong relationships, make informed decisions based on data, and respond effectively to the ever-changing threat landscape.
Q: What’s the best advice you can give someone who just started their career in your field?
A: Starting a career in the security and IT field can be exciting and challenging at the same time. As a new professional in this field, there are several things that you should keep in mind.
Firstly, information security is constantly evolving, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends, tools, and techniques is crucial. Cybersecurity threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and new vulnerabilities are continually emerging. Therefore, you should actively seek out opportunities for professional development, attend industry conferences, participate in online communities and forums, and read industry publications to stay abreast of the latest developments in the field.
Secondly, attention to detail is critical in the security and IT field. Even minor oversights can lead to significant problems, including data breaches, system downtime, and loss of productivity. Therefore, it is essential to follow best practices, meticulously document all activities, and double-check all work to minimize the risk of errors.
Thirdly, it is essential to collaborate effectively with other stakeholders in the organization. Cybersecurity is not just an IT problem but a business issue that affects the entire organization. Therefore, you should work closely with other departments, such as legal, human resources, marketing, sales, finance, etc., to ensure that security policies and procedures are aligned with organizational goals and objectives.
Lastly, you should also develop strong communication skills. As a security and IT professional, you must communicate complex technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders, including senior management, clients, and partners. Therefore, it is essential to develop clear, concise, and compelling messages that all parties can easily understand.
These skills will help you succeed in this fast-paced and challenging field.