Meet Your Classmates | Cybersecurity: Managing Risk in the Information Age

CAREER ADVICE, SYSTEMS & TECHNOLOGY   |   2 minutes  |   June 8, 2018

The Cybersecurity: Managing Risk in the Information Age online short course from Harvard University’s Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning (VPAL), in association with HarvardX is an entirely online 8-week course providing students with the opportunity to identify vulnerabilities in an organization’s networks and systems with precision, and the tools to design and implement a risk-mitigation strategy.

Here’s what you can expect to cover on this cybersecurity course:

  • Cybersecurity risk is business risk – learn about the risks to organizations inherent in the current cyber landscape
  • Identifying the threats to an organization – identify notable threat actors and typical methods of attack
  • Identifying important business systems and assets – Assess the vulnerabilities of an organization’s critical business systems, networks, and data
  • The crucial role of leadership in managing cyber risk – explore the role of leadership in managing an organization’s cyber risk
  • Understanding your technology – identify appropriate technologies for protecting systems, networks, and data
  • Cyber risk and the law – learn to identify the legal and compliance requirements that govern an organization or sector
  • Incident response and accountability – review appropriate responses to a cyberattack
  • Designing and implementing a mitigation strategy – develop a risk-mitigation strategy for your organization

Here’s what your classmates are looking forward to about the course.

MAY PRESENTATION 2019


Aman Basanti
Consulting Manager, Digital Transformation, PCCW Solutions

What would you say are your most interesting or noteworthy professional achievements?
I’ve been working in the management consulting and telecom field (Accenture, Amdocs, Ericsson, PCCW) for over 13 years and have extensive experience in digital transformation, 5G and Internet of Things (IoT), testing and verification, as well as bid management. I’ve worked in North America, as well as just about every single country in Asia.

Why did you choose to take this online short course?
I chose to take the course to bolster my skills in telecommunication. Cyberattacks are a real threat to the democratic way of life, and I want to make certain that I can use my knowledge to ensure that not only are businesses successful, but that technology is not infiltrated to impede the well-being and peace of society. As a society, we are at the convergence of many technologies and I believe we all play an important role in ensuring success in the future.

What’s at the top of your bucket list?
For my bucket list, I’d like to open a 1920s-style New York bistro/bar. Professionally, I’d like to ensure that I’m able to use my knowledge to build ideas, and not just solve problems.


Ajit Gupta
IT Consultant, Plaqsa Limited

What would you say are your most interesting or noteworthy professional achievements?
I have 19 years of IT consulting experience (11 years at Accenture UK, followed by eight years as an independent consultant). At Accenture, I ran the security practice for the UK public sector, as well as developed a variety of technical and business consulting skills, ranging from technical/cybersecurity to stakeholder management and commercial negotiation. These have enabled me to successfully undertake challenging roles that continue to push me outside my comfort zone.

My biggest recent professional achievements are:

  • I transformed and successfully sold a small UK-based textile manufacturer, achieving the owner’s asking price despite being in a depressed market with increasing pressure on profitability due to imports and employment regulations.
  • At a global transport and logistics company, I successfully delivered a highly available customer identity and access management platform (ForgeRock) on top of a new greenfield (unproven) containerised architecture (orchestrated using Kubernetes). The aim was for this new service to replace a bespoke legacy application that was delivering a poor customer experience due to availability issues.

Why did you choose to take this online short course?
I have chosen the course to help structure my cybersecurity experience to date, as well as plug any gaps I may have.

What are you looking forward to most about the course?
I’m really looking forward to the case studies and understanding the cause, the tactical measures that were implemented following a major cyberattack to mitigate them, and how companies then reacted in the long-term. I’m also interested in sharing my own experience of cyberattacks.

What’s at the top of your bucket list?
Top of my bucket list is to relocate to Singapore (I’m currently UK-based) in 2019.


Rachel Golson
Vice President, Information Technology, Precision Drilling

What would you say are your most interesting or noteworthy professional achievements?
After 20 years of progressive experience leading business systems transformations, I was recently promoted to vice president of information technology.

Why did you choose to take this online short course?
With the broader portfolio of responsibilities, it is crucial that I have a strong foundation in cybersecurity.


David Stabenaw
Senior Information Security Engineer, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

What would you say are your most interesting or noteworthy professional achievements?
I have been an IT/IS professional for 25 years. I’m a published author in the area of network architecture, and also co-authored the CompTIA Security+ Exam. I’ve held the CISSP designation since 2002.

Why did you choose to take this online short course?
I have recently begun work in the area of bank supervision and regulation. Much of that work revolves around risk. I’m always interested in learning new things. The opportunity to interact with other professionals is always rewarding.


Stephina Pulane Molefi
Director, South African government department

What would you say are your most interesting or noteworthy professional achievements?
I am an MBA graduate with six distinctions. I serve on the board of the Institute of People Management, a renowned professional body. I am also a successful strategic manager in a government department.

Why did you choose to take this online short course?
I chose the course to deepen my understanding of cybersecurity issues, and most importantly, how to successfully mitigate the risks in business that arise from cybercrime, posing threats to organisational competitiveness and survival.

What are you looking forward to most about the course?
The ability to provide strategic risk management strategies and advice to business leaders.

In what ways do you believe this course will aid in your career objectives?
Development and inculcation of skills learnt to improve organisational effectiveness.


Carol Nichols
Corporate Director

What would you say are your most interesting or noteworthy professional achievements?
I’ve created and led high-performing, commercial banking teams at JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Capital One. I’m also the co-founder of Texas Women Ventures Fund, which has funded fast-growth, innovative companies, and created a class of women angel and venture investors.


Elif Babaoglu
Law Student, Osgoode Hall Law School class of 2021

Why did you choose to take this online short course?
I am a law student and I would like to pursue a career in cybersecurity litigation. Eventually, I would like to work as an in-council lawyer for one of the big tech companies and assist them to manage their legal liability in cyberspace.


Tor-Ståle Hansen
Global CISO and Head of Global Portfolio Data Protection & Privacy, Capgemini GBL Insights & Data

Why did you choose to take this online short course?
I want to stay ahead, respond and proactively act based on insights and knowledge. I chose this course in pursuit of the best learning experience.


Michael David Noonan
Chief Financial Officer, Finjan Holdings, Inc.

What would you say are your most interesting or noteworthy professional achievements?
I am an experienced CFO impacting publicly traded companies through the expert management of financial planning and analysis and skilled handling of initial public offerings, mergers, acquisitions, and more.

Why did you choose to take this online short course? Information technology and cybersecurity issues are areas that I am responsible for, therefore this course is an excellent fit for my career.


Prathap Latchmanan
Military Professional

Why did you choose to take this online short course?
As a military professional, cybersecurity and cyber defence are two key areas where expertise must be built in. As such, I’m looking forward to the course to start my learning journey in the right direction.

What message would you like to give to your future classmates and support network?
Through the forum interactions I hope to interact with like-minded individuals to establish a community of practices, so that we can quickly learn the best practices.


Harish Chandar Krishnamurthy
Senior Software Development Manager

What would you say are your most interesting or noteworthy professional achievements?
I am a senior software development manager at Oracle with about 19 years of industry experience.

Why did you choose to take this online short course?
My current job role involves decomposing ultra-monolithic enterprise applications into highly available microservices. The role requires me to be security and compliance aware. As a mid-level executive, I intend to leverage security domain knowledge in my professional career to work on turnkey enterprise-level projects.


OCTOBER PRESENTATION 2018


Michael Nelson LinkedIN logo image

Founder & CEO, Lumen Technologies Inc.,
Former US Army Paratrooper

Why did you choose to take this online short course?

The business strategy for many of our customers is rapidly changing and cybersecurity is a major part of the new scope, and I feel the need to improve my understanding of this emerging threat to my customers.


Gary Weessies LinkedIN logo image

CEO, Keystone Health Group

What would you say are your most interesting or noteworthy professional achievements?

I am a physicist that has been a CEO for an orthopedic group for 20 years.

What are you looking forward to most about the course?

As a serial entrepreneur, I look forward to sharing my business experience with others, as well as making new connections.

What’s at the top of your bucket list?

I am transitioning to cybersecurity with CISSP expected in February 2019. While I am learning the technical aspects of cybersecurity, I will enter the field in the managerial and executive roles.


Sanjay Gupta LinkedIN logo image

Senior Manager Security and Compliance, Cisco Webex Cloud Engineering

What are you looking forward to most about the course?

Always looking forward to meeting and networking with people in the security, risk and compliance areas.

Why did you choose to take this course?

I certainly want to keep my knowledge up to date and what can be better than a Harvard course in risk management? I want to increase my understanding of the risk, mitigation methodology and managing the risk in the most efficient and effective way.


Youssef Abillama LinkedIN logo image

Managing Director, Shelt

What would you say are your most interesting or noteworthy professional achievements?

I am a serial entrepreneur, growing a business that relies on quality people. My latest business is a cybersecurity-managed service business focused on Africa and Europe. We have an alliance and partnership with cybersecurity-managed services and telecom operators with a strong presence in Africa.

What are you looking forward to most about the course?

I am looking to learn more about cybersecurity applied to corporate business.

What’s at the top of your bucket list?

At the top of my bucket list is networking with cybersecurity professionals. I look forward to growing Shelt, as I did with other businesses.


Ger van Hees LinkedIN logo image

Director, GoodSecurityAwareness.com

What would you say are your most interesting or noteworthy professional achievements?

One of my most interesting or noteworthy professional achievements was the successful implementation of an information security awareness program at a New Zealand government agency.

Why did you choose to take this course?

I chose this course because I’d like to learn more about the global aspect of information security risk.

What are you looking forward to most about the course?

I am looking forward most to learning and collaborating with people around the globe.

What’s at the top of your bucket list?

At the top of my professional bucket list is making my company more successful. My personal bucket list top is getting my airplane instrument rating.


Makonnen Melaku LinkedIN logo image

Lead Systems Engineer, Consultant

What would you say are your most interesting or noteworthy professional achievements?

I am a highly motivated professional, creative problem solver and team player. I was granted four patents in the wireless area; served as a vice-chairperson in a technology committee for Mobile Entertainment Forum (2001); served as a co-chair for the Circuit/Systems and Signal Processing Chapter of NJ Coast Section (1997-2000); served as IEEE North Jersey Chapter Young Engineers Treasurer and Secretary (1987-1989); and as a paper reviewer of MilCom (2006-2008). I am also listed in the international Who’s Who of professionals.

Why did you choose to take this course?

I believe this is one of the next hot areas to be in. It will provide me with tools in the box. It fits into my schedule to take this course and it is great to take it from a well-known institution.

What are you looking forward to most about the course?

After taking the course I would like to equip myself with the cybersecurity building blocks. And it will be nice to have access to a community of professionals in this area.

What’s at the top of your bucket list?

I always make a commitment throughout my professional life that if I want to stay in a technical field I need to adapt new skills, either on my own or taking crash courses.


Julia Andrea Ramirez Suarez LinkedIN logo image

Small Business Advisor, Independent

Why did you choose to take this course?

With a background in advising business and startups in their setting process and growth, I believe preparing them for the influence of Cybersecurity in their business is key. Additionally, I have specialized in HR and immigration to fulfill the needs of organizations in the areas of recruitment, onboarding, and workforce training.


JUNE PRESENTATION 2018


Meet your classmates harvard cybersecurity abe smith

Abe Smith

Director of Information Security, Equinix

What would you say are your most interesting or noteworthy professional achievements?

I built four large, successful InfoSec departments from scratch.

Why did you choose to take this online short course?

It is critical to understand the process of cyber-risk management.

What are you looking forward to most about the course?

It is sponsored by Harvard University.

What’s at the top of your bucket list?

To fly solo around the world in a single-engine plane.

In what ways do you believe this course will aid in your career objectives?

It will make me a good cyber risk manager.

What message would you like to give to your future classmates and support network?

“If you think that education is expensive, try ignorance.” – IBM


meet your classmates harvard cybersecurity jeffrey padwa

Jeffery Padwa [GS-general]_square_linkedin_How Private Education Is Meeting The Demand For Lifelong Learning_

Founder, Padwa Law LLC

What would you say are your most interesting or noteworthy professional achievements?

I am a former Providence City Solicitor; past chief of staff to the Rhode Island General Treasurer; co-chair (RI) of the presidential campaign of Barack Obama; past president of Rhode Island Association for Justice; and have won the Wiedemann Wysocki Award for significant contributions to the Civil Justice System.

Why did you choose to take this online short course?

To become more knowledgeable as clients are requesting my help in dealing with cybersecurity issues.

What are you looking forward to most about the course?

Learning how to perform assessments and creating plans for addressing cybersecurity risks.

What’s at the top of your bucket list?

Cycling across the USA and running back.

In what ways do you believe this course will aid in your career objectives?

It will provide me with subject-matter expertise and a template for addressing cybersecurity issues, which comprise some of the most significant risks to personal and business safety.

What message would you like to give to your future classmates and support network?

Go for gold.


Shivakumar Sambashivam harvard cybersecurity meet your classmates

Shivakumar Sambashivam [GS-general]_square_linkedin_How Private Education Is Meeting The Demand For Lifelong Learning_

Head of Engineering, Digicel Pacific

What would you say are your most interesting or noteworthy professional achievements?

I built a technical and IT organization, with systems and processes that could support and sustain the organic growth with business continuity in place.

Why did you choose to take this online short course?

IT/IS systems are ever-changing and with business plans to implement Cloud and Hybrid Cloud, the current security systems adapted requires further strengthening. To lead and manage, the first step is to gain insight on the industry trends that help to rebuild people, process and technology with consciousness around security and adaptability within the existing and new systems.

What are you looking forward to most about the course?

Identifying the risk and threats, and preparing a framework to mitigate and avoid.

What’s at the top of your bucket list?

Knowledge enhancement and to move to a digital world. Information and tools are key strengths.

In what ways do you believe this course will aid in your career objectives?

Improve my overall ability to educate internal stakeholders in adapting the culture of security and vulnerability in a digital world, and provide me with a tool to negotiate with vendors, by being better informed.

What message would you like to give to your future classmates and support network?

I am open to a collaborative approach and willing to share knowledge in the field I come from. At the same time, I am eager to learn from their past experiences on best practices and failures.


Atahan Bozdag harvard cybersecurity meet your classmates

Atahan Bozdag [GS-general]_square_linkedin_How Private Education Is Meeting The Demand For Lifelong Learning_

IT Manager, Security & Risk, R1 RCM

What would you say are your most interesting or professional noteworthy achievements?

Being able to diversify my knowledge and experience in our company departments and becoming a noteworthy asset.

Why did you choose to take this online short course?

To advance my career and knowledge, and earn a certificate from a very reputable university.

What are you looking forward to most about the course?

Being able to use the knowledge and implement it in our IT department.

What’s at the top of your bucket list?

At one point, I would like to lead my department where I excel: IT security and risk.

In what ways do you believe this course will aid in your career objectives?

It will show that I am a worthy and qualified person for the job.

What message would you like to give to your future classmates and support network?

Nothing is ever late. Dream big and make it happen.


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