Mosi Platt, Security Compliance Manager at BetterCloud
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Tell us a bit about yourself?
Sure. My Name is Mosi Platt. I’m a security compliance manager at BetterCloud. I joined the company on March 1st, 2018. Before joining BetterCloud, I was a governance risk and compliance consultant for 16 years.
What’s your typical day like?
So a typical day for me, the first thing I do when I come in and check email and check slack messages. And then I will start working. We are in an agile shop. So everything is broken into two weeks sprints. If I don’t have any meetings I’ll spend the first half of the day working on whatever stories are at the top of the priority for that sprint. Those stories can be anything ranging from documenting or reviewing policies or creating new policies or reviewing and improving existing ones. Or making improvements in access controls or doing a review of compliance with the existing policies and customer security requirements and things of that nature, to reviewing third parties that the company wants to use to deliver its services or respond to a customer security questionnaire.
What led you to the tech industry?
So my aunt was the first computer teacher for the Trenton Public School District in New Jersey. And she used to practice her lesson plans on her children and her nieces and nephews. So that’s when I first got exposed to a computer. After college I was working at a grocery store and my uncle called me and said [this was shortly after 9/11].
“Hey, you know the government is paying for the set up of I.T. training programs to train a new workforce. So the local community college is offering a program, you should come up here and interview and see if you can get in.”
I got into the New Jersey I.T. Centres Program. I was working overnight at the grocery store while I was taking the classes during the day for eight hours. It was a three-month program. So I would generally try to catch a nap during the morning classes because I had been working all night. When they were teaching the security track, the teacher was asking questions, and nobody was answering it. So he just kept talking louder and louder repeating the question. I responded so that he would go back to an average volume. Once I answered the questions he was like, “Oh I’m surprised you answered because you’ve been asleep the entire time.” He wouldn’t let me go back to sleep and started asking me questions directly. We ended up hitting it off and he ran his own security consulting company. So he offered me a job when I got out of the program. That’s how I got into it.
What is your experience being a POC in Tech?
I guess you could say it’s somewhat of a lonely existence. The good thing about consulting is you get to see a lot of different companies in a short amount of time. But even in the companies that I went to, I would say I’ve only dealt with a person of color probably one in five. But I guess maybe in hindsight maybe that’s not that bad. Perhaps that’s to be expected. When you do see another person of color there tends to be that. I don’t know the right way to describe it. That “Hey, good to see you. Good to see you’re in this field as well.”
Almost an assumed comradery or an instant comradery. You see something you don’t usually see. So you try to look out for each other and take care of each other or check in with each other. So that was good because you don’t see a lot of people like yourself that often.
What advice would you give to a young person who wants to get into the industry? Particularly in security?
The advice I give people is just to start doing it on your own. Before I got my job I was volunteering at a couple of different nonprofits just to get the hands on the technology and see what problems people were having. And so you know a couple of years ago I got invited back to speak at my high school for career day. And you know the good thing about security is, if you’re a college student or if your going to college. I would suggest going to a college where part of the curriculum includes a certification track so you can get a security certification just as part of the education you’re paying for. And once you get that certification you can use that to go out into the world start making real money. Even if it’s just part-time, that certification will get you into the door especially with there being so many information security job openings and not enough talent to fill them. Anybody with a certification is going to be given a shot and that way you can get over that experience hurdle early. And kill two birds with one stone.
If you’re a high school student, there are a lot of high school cybersecurity programs or competitions or training that students can get involved in or volunteering or doing this as part of their extra-curricular activities. I encourage students to join those things. So for instance I’m in Atlanta and they have the BDPA. They do a coding competition for high school students. The local chapter here they typically either win it or finish in the top three every year at the National Conference. Doing something like that. There are a lot of ways to get involved but to start getting your hands dirty whether it’s with an organization or just a personal project so that you can show people that you have some hands-on experience.
Where can we find you online?.
So it’s Mosi Platt on Linkedin, and that’s probably the best way for people either in I.T. or in security to reach me.