I never thought of working in cybersecurity before, but it’s such an interesting business and there’s so much going on.
31 August 2017
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Author: Security Talent

I never thought of working in cybersecurity before, but it’s such an interesting business and there’s so much going on.

Karin never thought she would be working at a cybersecurity company when she was looking for a job after graduating. But a friend introduced her to SecureLink and since then the industry has won her heart. She tells us why she has become so enthusiast about this buzzing fast-paced sector.
Karin van Rijswijk
Team Lead Inside Sales
SecureLink
Education

International Business and Languages, Utrecht University of Applied Sciences
Course on Computer Science at Open University (course from the bachelor curriculum)

Team Lead Inside Sales, what does that mean?

 

Most of the time, our account managers are on the road visiting clients and prospects. The Inside Sales team supports them in all the solutions SecureLink offers. Like drafting up quotations, based on the input we get from the account managers. We also maintain contact with all of our vendors and distributors. Our technical consultants, on the contrary, help us with the technical aspects of projects. They make the configuration that we use as input for quotations.

 

A large part of our job also evolves around customer contact. If customers or account managers have particular questions, we try to answer them, or get them in touch with the right person. This can be on anything; deliveries, products, you name it.

 

All the assignments SecureLink has, start at Inside Sales. We’ll take care of the transfer of the project to the internal organisation. We’ll make sure our Administration, Planning department, Project Managers and Security Engineers know what to do – that they have the right scope. Sometimes the scope is clear from the beginning, but sometimes you really have to dig deeper to get a clear understanding of a client’s wishes and needs.

 

I’m aware a lot of people use this saying and it’s a bit of a cliché to say so, but we’re basically the spider in the web. People really do know where to find us and come to us for help. We get a lot of questions and requests from all the various departments.

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What kind of projects are you involved with?

 

We have a lot of different vendors in our portfolio, who offer solutions from WLAN, to firewalls, to switches. Our portfolio basically covers everything in infrastructure and security nowadays. Besides the fact that we sell products and solutions, we are a supplier of managed security services. Our added value is in the maintenance of the products, the project services and the NOC and SOC services. We see the market move from just buying a box and installing it, to buying services. Companies don’t want to buy a router, but connectivity. So, they ask for connectivity and leave it up to us how we provide, maintain and support that connectivity solution. That brings an interesting new challenge to our work. We also have our own Cyber Defence Center and quite a few clients for our Network Operations Service Center (NOC) and Security Operations Center (SOC). The various services and clients are very diverse in size and scope. This is what I like most about SecureLink. We don’t just sell our products but rather our experience in delivering security solutions. Our clients can sit back, relax and trust that we make sure everything is taken care of. We mostly focus on the top 500 companies, really the big guys. We’re not exclusive to a certain industry, we supply schools, government, healthcare, commercial companies. Really every industry you can think of, this is also what keeps our job diverse and interesting.

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Why did you pursue this career?

 

I, more or less, rolled into the business by coincidence. It wasn’t really a conscious decision to look for a job in cyber security. After I graduated I went backpacking through Southeast Asia. When I got back home I started looking for a job. That was easier said than done. Five years ago, there weren’t as many vacancies as there are now and my ‘common’ commercial education didn’t really help to find one. One of my friends works in the Marketing department at SecureLink. She told me their Administration department was looking for some support. It wasn’t really the kind of job I was looking for, but I needed the money and decided to apply. That’s how I got to know SecureLink. While I was there, an Inside Sales position became available and they asked me if I was interested. And I sure was! It’s a much better match with my education and I never left since. The position is still as exciting and interesting as it was in the beginning.

 

SecureLink surprised me, in a positive way. After graduation everybody wants to work for big companies, like Unilever or Coolblue. My experience is that you need to be open for other opportunities, you’ll be surprised of what you’ll find. I never thought of working in cyber security before, but it’s such an interesting business and there’s so much going on. Because I’m working with a lot of technical people it even crosses my mind sometimes to move to the technical side. But for now I’m happy with the position I’m in. That’s also because of the acquisitions SecureLink made last year. We now operate internationally and with my background in international business that’s an interesting development. It’s nice to witness this growth from up close; SecureLink grew from a relatively small Benelux operating company to a large Pan-European player.

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Can you name a milestone in your career?

 

Last year I’ve got promoted from regular Inside Sales to Team Lead. It’s a sign of trust and appreciation based on the work and effort I have put in. Really a step forward in my career. Another thing I’m proud of is successfully finishing my computer science course. The exams I made to practice for the final exam were quite difficult. I even went around the company and asked some of the technical guys to help me with the things I didn’t understand. In the end I’ve managed to complete the course successfully and that’s something I take pride in.

 

How will your industry or job change over the next few years? How do you keep up?

 

I think one of the most important trends for the next few years will be the transition from products to services. We see a growing demand in the market for service and unburdening. Aside from that, we keep track on new product developments in the market. We constantly look for new products and vendors. If a new solution pops up, and we think it could be an asset to our clients environments we include it in our product portfolio. The transitioning to cloud services also affects our business. It isn’t delivering a hardware solution that we install and configure anymore. Cloud services are inherently connected to IT. It’s a fast-paced domain and the technique is rapidly evolving.

 

How do I keep up? It’s very important to educate yourself on the products and solutions SecureLink offers, especially when we sign contracts with new vendors. I talk to colleagues with technical expertise to get a basic understanding of the product before I start working with it. SecureLink facilitates this learning process through organising breakfast and dinner sessions at the office. Everyone can sign in and a colleague will give a lecture or demonstration on the product or service. It’s a nice way to keep track on industry trends on a personal and company level. At SecureLink we only do the things we’re good at, we want to help our clients as much as possible. Only then you can offer a complete package to them.

 

We also attend product specific sales trainings organised by the vendors of the products we offer. And last but not least the news is an important source of information. Especially lately with cybersecurity news making headlines more frequently. You really need to know about the incidents and what’s behind it, only then you can provide decent answers when customers come to you with questions.

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Do you have any tips for up-and-coming talent?

 

The most important thing is to keep an open mind. Think about what you like beyond the comfort of things you know. In my case that was IT. Another thing I would advice, is to get to know the culture of a company you’re interested in. Try to find a company with a culture that matches with you as a person.

 

I never thought of working in cybersecurity before, but it’s such an interesting business and there’s so much going on.