#MIWIC2022: Dr Kiri Addison, Mimecast

Organised by Eskenzi PR in media partnership with the IT Security Guru, the Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Awards aim to shed light on the remarkable women in our industry. The following is a feature on one of 2022’s Top 20 women selected by an esteemed panel of judges. Presented in a Q&A format, the nominee’s answers are written in their own words with minor edits made by the editor for readability and where relevant, supplemented with additional commentary by their nominator.

This year, the awards are sponsored by Beazley, BT, KPMG and KnowBe4.

Dr Kiri Addison, Senior Product Manager, Mimecast

What does your job role entail?

My job entails creating new security products and features in response to the changing threat landscape. I work closely with threat researchers, engineers and customer-facing teams to make sure we are staying on top of the latest techniques used by cybercriminals and keeping our customers safe. 

How did you get into the cybersecurity industry?

After completing my PhD, I worked as a risk and fraud analyst at HMRC. Here I applied my data analysis and data science skills to detect high risk tax fraud. I then moved to another UK government department, DWP, where I was the data scientist leading the development of the in-house cyber attack detection capabilities. Many of the techniques used in fraud detection can also be applied more generally to cybersecurity, but I was also able to build up my cyber domain knowledge through training and working with subject matter experts.

What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a woman in the tech/cyber industry and how did you overcome it?

In this industry, I feel the ability to share and present your work is very important. However, during my teenage years I had developed a fear of public speaking. To overcome this I took a number of public speaking classes and had help from coaches and mentors. It was scary at first, but I took every opportunity to present and eventually became comfortable with speaking in front of large audiences. It is now one of the aspects of my job that I enjoy most.

What are your top three greatest accomplishments you have achieved during your career so far?

  1. One of the products I helped build as a data scientist, detected some very vulnerable people being exploited by criminals for monetary gain. The most rewarding part of my job is being able to help people.
  2. Two years ago I completed an MBA. This gave me a different perspective on my work that directed me to move into Product Management.
  3. Delivering the keynote at a cybersecurity conference.

What are you doing to support other women, and/or to increase diversity, in the tech/cyber industry?

I think the most important thing is making sure I share the kind of opportunities that helped me grow and raise my profile. I also ensure I am visible, speaking at various events and sessions aimed specifically towards women or girls considering a career in STEM.

What is one piece of advice you would give to girls/women looking to enter the cybersecurity industry?

It is a fantastic industry to work in. The best bit of advice I can give is to make the most of any opportunity that comes your way, even if it pushes you outside your comfort zone. It is probably when you will grow and learn the most.

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