Riding the cyber highway

An impressive rise through the ranks of online security

A courageous move to Singapore to take on the role as Head of Security Risk for an international banking group opened up an unexpected cyber journey for Kate Healy.

Since taking that leap of faith at the age of 29, the UOW computer science graduate has held senior roles across some of the largest organisations in Australia and continued to help organisations better manage their cyber risk.

As Telstra's Principal Cyber Security Strategist, Telstra Enterprise, she now works with the chief information security officers of Australia's largest organisations, understanding their cyber strategies and advising on industry trends and innovations.

She is also a cyber evangelist, regularly presenting at industry events both within Australia and Internationally.

Healy recently returned to UOW to provide the keynote address for the annual School of Computing and Information Technology (SCIT) Trade Show, sharing insights into her career and cyber security with today’s students.

“It’s been 20 years since I was in their shoes and it was a wonderful experience visiting the place my career started and seeing the amazing work these students produced. And, I’m so excited for how they are going to be changing the world once they leave university.”

Healy was keen to open students’ eyes up to the multiple opportunities available to them if they wanted to pursue a career in cyber security.

“It’s a really rewarding career. There are so many different roles you can do in this space. Roles in architecture, communication, governance and policy and compliance. And you get to work on amazingly interesting projects.

“I’ve worked on high-frequency trading platforms, online banking platforms and the A380 hangars when they were being adopted by Qantas.

“I love being at Telstra. And working in cyber security, the work I’m doing with organisations, helps individual Australian’s be more secure.”

Having both a risk and cyber background allows her both to understand and communicate with senior executives, whilst translating needs into technical security requirements, ensuring a faster path to better managing cyber risk.

“Cyber is a constantly evolving landscape, with new threats and new solutions the status quo. I help our customers make sense of this always changing environment and work with our products and consulting teams to ensure we have the best solutions.”

Drawing on her expertise and leadership in the industry, Healy has recently launched a cyber risk meetup group called the Australian CyRisk Network to allow knowledge sharing on cyber security and risk issues and how to better communicate and drive conversation.

“So it’s not just a technical conversation, but a vital business conversation that we’re having.”

Healy encourages other alumni of UOW to get involved in activities like the SCIT Trade Show, which showcases samples of work by current students and provides an opportunity to discuss the latest innovations and technologies.

“If you get the opportunity to come and speak to the students and understand what they’re doing, please do it. It’s been such a rewarding day. And I think it’s really important that we give back to the places where we all got our start and we help inspire these students and future leaders.

“It was an honour to give back to my University and I am looking forward to looking at ways I can help in the future.”

Kate Healy
Principal Cybersecurity Strategist, Telstra
Bachelor of Computer Science, 1999