CSO Spotlight: Annalea Ilg, Flexential

The cybersecurity threat is ever growing and its clear companies are still not following basic security practices. If they were, we wouldn’t be seeing so many breach notifications, says Ilg.

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Annalea Ilg is vice president and chief information security officer at hybrid IT infrastructure provider Flexential. Her remit covers maintaining programs, policy, security and compliance teams, crisis management, privacy and security resilience for clients, vendors and partners. Before joining Flexential she held security roles at CoSentry and Central States Indemnity Co. of Omaha. Here, she shares her career path and offers advice for aspiring security leaders.

What was your first job? My first job ever was at FunPlex Amusement Park in Omaha, Nebraska when I was 16, where I worked at the ticket and snack bar counter. My first professional IT job came in 1999 when I was the systems administrator for a small international telecommunications company, where I managed desktops, Exchange and servers. I distinctly remember the hysteria around the Y2K scare at that time!

How did you get involved in cybersecurity? My IT career evolved during a time when security regulations were maturing and that’s when I really developed a passion for cybersecurity. I also think my personality fits square into the qualities required to manage cybersecurity. As you can imagine, it’s not for everyone.

Tell us about your career path. Once I decided to pursue IT and cybersecurity, that was the path. Funny enough, I started in IT by accident as I was an executive assistant for a computer cabling company. I, by default, became remote hands for a consulting firm out of Minnesota. There, they would troubleshoot through me and that is how I became interested and learned the basics. I loved IT so much that I changed my education path.  From there, I went on to networking, disaster recovery and then security for insurance, healthcare and financial businesses.

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