Interviews, North America

Dominique West – Senior Cloud Security Consultant at EY

It is important to make sure we are undoing biases in our technology evolution and that only comes with diversity of thought – aka making sure women and minorities are not only in the room but heard and leading conversations.

Dominique West is currently a Senior Cloud Security Consultant for a multinational professional services and creator of the Security in Color cybersecurity podcast. Achieving her CISSP and Master’s degree in cybersecurity, Dominique is deeply passionate about cloud security & cyber awareness, with 8 years of experience in IT spanning risk, vulnerability, incident and response, cloud transformation & security across the commercial industries.

In addition to her professional endeavors she founded a platform,
Securityincolor.com, that delivers top national and world cyber and cloud security news in a modern and digestible format via podcast format. Dominique aims to help the next generation of cybersecurity professionals succeed in the field. Additional, Dominique also leads the Atlanta chapter of the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu, a nationwide non-profit with the aim of empowering women in the field of information security.

In a Nutshell: Tell us a bit about your job and what role technology plays in it?

Currently, I serve as a Senior Cloud Security Consultant for a multinational
services company. Technology is a huge part of my role as I am the strategic and technical lead for implementing cloud security controls for our clients. I work with various cloud platforms and security tools daily that allow me to do my job effectively and efficiently while also learning.

Where did your professional journey start and how did you get to where you are now?

I started my professional journey back in college, when I was fortunate to have several technology-focused internships. I would do basic tasks such as database backups and management. Those internships gave me a great foundation in the field and from there I was able to pivot into a full-time help-desk position upon graduation at a museum. It was one of the best jobs because even though we were a small team, I was hands on with so many different things and it is there that I found my focus in security and being a consultant. I mapped out a goal that included the skills, certifications and kinds of roles that would help me achieve my dream job and now a couple of years later it has paid off.

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?

Hands down I would say the rise of IoT devices and AI/Machine Learning
technology. The internet of things has changed our entire way of modern life – from smartphones to wearable technology to voice assistants, it’s incredible. As with all technology, it is important to make sure security is embedded in the design of these devices so we are protecting the consumer and is a big reason why I am in the security industry now.

When you think about ‘women’ and ‘technology’ what comes to your mind first?

Success, Innovation and Better Quality were the first three things that popped in my mind. It has been researched and proven that organizations that include women are more successful at innovation then those who do not. This is especially true when it comes to technology. It is important to make sure we are undoing biases in our technology evolution and that only comes with diversity of thought – aka making sure women and minorities are not only in the room but heard and leading conversations.

We always hear there are not enough women working in Tech. What needs to happen to change that, which steps should be done to achieve gender equality in tech?

It is important to create a culture of inclusion in technology companies and diminish the long-standing bro-culture that has dominated the field.

I think there are plenty of women who work in, or want to work in, technology. The change needs to come with retaining these individuals as they progress in their careers. It is important to create a culture of inclusion in technology companies and diminish the long-standing bro-culture that has dominated the field. Empowering women to lead initiatives and projects, giving them the tools and resources to be successful. Sponsorship and mentorship is also another important aspect so that women are able to see representation at more senior levels and know they can achieve anything they set their minds to.

How different would our world be if more women worked in STEM?

Equality is everyone’s responsibility and brings about a better world for everyone.

If more women were in STEM, I am positive that the speed and accuracy in
which technology is deployed would be much better. We’d be able to break down the barriers of biases that leave many out when it comes to new technology. Equality is everyone’s responsibility and brings about a better world for everyone.

Which was the best decision in your career?

I would definitely say starting early with internships during college. I know getting internships is not an easy feat but getting a head start on figuring out where I wanted to take my career and being able to test it out helped me greatly. In the moment I was afraid I was losing out on the college experience but in hindsight I realized I made the right choice.

What advice would you give to women who want a tech career?

Take more risks and network!

Take more risks and network. I am a big proponent of taking risks as they more often than not lead to a great experience and learning opportunity. I know technology is vast and overwhelming with the amount of options available but there is a great community here for those who need help. In the security industry, for example, there are great non-profit organizations, such as The Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu, that aim to empower women in the field of cybersecurity. I help lead a chapter in Atlanta and though I have never been a part of a non-profit organization, taking the leap to lead has not only helped me connect with some phenomenal women but helped me grow as a leader. Take those risks, I promise you won’t regret it.

Dominique West is currently a Senior Cloud Security Consultant for a multinational professional services and creator of the Security in Color cybersecurity podcast. Achieving her CISSP and Master’s degree in cybersecurity, Dominique is deeply passionate about cloud security & cyber awareness, with 8 years of experience in IT spanning risk, vulnerability, incident and response, cloud transformation & security across the commercial industries.

In addition to her professional endeavors she founded a platform,
Securityincolor.com, that delivers top national and world cyber and cloud security news in a modern and digestible format via podcast format. Aimed at new and continuing cyber and cloud security professionals, Dominique aims to help the next generation of cybersecurity professionals succeed in the field. Additional, Dominique also leads the Atlanta chapter of the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu, a nationwide non-profit with the aim of empowering women in the field of information security.

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