Jigar Lad is a Cyber Security Consultant at EY. He works in the Cyber Security Practice and, more specifically, his expertise are in Cyber Threat Hunting, Security Incident Response and Forensics. He joined EY after completing a Master’s in Cyber Security & Incident Response. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. Jigar is part of various security communities where he delivers talks and conducts workshops on cyber security.
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Jigar Lad and I currently work at EY (previously known as Ernst & Young) as a consultant in the Cyber Security Practice. Initially, I joined EY as a summer intern while pursuing a Master’s in Cyber Security & Incident Response. I continued to work with EY after completing the Master’s with Distinction. I have also achieved a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology with distinctions. I have had the opportunity to work with a State Government-run Digital Forensics Lab. My key expertise are in incident response and investigation, security operation centre and digital forensics and malware analysis.
What made you choose a career in Cyber Security?
Since childhood, I have been interested in exploring digital stuff and technology. One day my dad brought a computer (It was Pentium 4, and I still have it) home and it all started with coding and sharing data with friends on floppy drives. I also explored the web and started reading hacking blogs & security related news, which appeared pretty interesting. During my Bachelor’s degree I started attending Ethical hacking workshops and later I began delivering talks and workshops on the same topic. Then I decided to acquire a deeper knowledge and made the decision to pursue a Master’s in Cyber Security, and I joined EY.
What are the greatest positives about working in Cyber Security?
Out of the many positives, the greatest positive, I feel, is the exposure I have, and constantly learning new things, from IT to OT. Every time you face a new challenge, you also benefit from a new learning experience. You get to work with different industries and get to know about their security issues and how they affect their business and revenues. With today’s rapidly evolving technology, cyber security is becoming a key part of every business enterprise, and even a key concern for each individual.
What are the greatest challenges in Cyber Security?
I feel there are two main challenges in cyber security: One is the exponential growth in IT and Business systems and protecting organisations and individuals from the associated threats. Second, there is a shortage of cyber security professionals, which the industry will be facing for many years.
What are the highlights of your career?
From getting into the cyber security domain to working today with EY, there have been lots of highlights to share. I have been meeting and understanding business leaders and their challenges around data and security. I have been involved in responding and investigating many cyber breaches that have hit front pages of the newspapers; I have been helping clients, from implementing Security Operations Centres to setting up Incident Response strategies and practices.
What/Who has been the biggest influence on you?
My character and interest in breaking things down, exploring them and building them up again attracted me to the computing and technology associated with it. Friends with similar interests and supportive parents have been the greatest influence with regard to where I stand today, and to my future trajectory.
Where do you see Cyber Security in 10 years?
In the future, more and more devices used in our daily lives will be joining cyberspace, making them more complex and vulnerable and demanding more pro-active security solutions and strategies. Trending concepts such as Blockchain, IoT and big data are going to influence cyber security in many ways. We will also see a rise in state-sponsored cyber threats and more secure defence mechanisms around the concept of artificial intelligence. Overall, cyber security is going to be a primary concern in our daily lives.
What are your career ambitions?
In the years ahead, I want to continue delivering the highest quality and contribute to building a better and safer business world. Simultaneously, I will work on improving and growing professionally and gaining new skills. However, I do not want all these experiences and knowledge just for myself but I am planning to share them by joining any university in order to help prepare the coming generation for tackling the cyber security challenges of today and tomorrow, and to help overcome the current shortage of capable security professionals.
What would you do if you were not a consultant?
If I would not be a consultant, I would have pursued a PhD in Cyber Security and started teaching in any university, and/or joined any start-up in the same field.
What advice would you give young people hoping to enter a career in the field?
One should always have that eagerness to know and learn new things. I would advise adopting and learning trending concepts in the field. You can start subscribing and reading blogs of cyber security researchers. Participating in workshops, hackathons and events like ‘Capture the Flags’ will also allow you to surround yourself with people who have similar interests. Taking a course and obtaining basic security certifications is always a plus and helps with getting into the industry.