Infosec: "we need somebody to help fill that gap today"

Krystina Gray, senior risk manager in information security at Amazon, is also vice-president of the Women Cyber Force Vio Dudao

Krystina Gray, senior risk manager in information security at Amazon, is also vice-president of the Women Cyber Force Vio Dudao

Krystina Gray has been in Luxembourg a little over three years, having left a job at a Canadian financial institution in her native Toronto. She had worked in information security field for over 10 years, although she has since transitioned more into areas covering risk-management, compliance and governance. 

Although she says she “didn’t struggle too much to find employment in my profession”, she did so as an independent contractor or freelancer, in part because it was her husband’s work which brought her to the grand duchy, and she had struggled to find childcare for her two children.

“I found it challenging coming to Luxembourg,” Gray told Delano in a recent interview. “If I wanted to work, I had to make sure that there was some kind of care and support for my children. 

“And it is like a catch-22: you weren’t necessarily able to commit to a job without knowing your children had childcare, but then I wasn’t allowed a ‘maison relais’ or some kind of school care programme in between until [having] proof of employment.”

Setting up as a freelancer helped her bridge that gap. And today, she works at Amazon as a senior risk manager in information security. 

“I like the idea of being included and helping to contribute to an organisation’s growth. It’s why I went back to working in a corporation,” she explains. Among the perks of working for the US e-commerce giant are the wealth of “opportunities for growth and development”, as well as a working culture which really resonates with her.      

Amazon, the country’s 12th largest employer last year, said in May it plans to employ 3,600 in Luxembourg by end-2021, a headcount growth of 20%. 

Even as they fill these roles, on a more personal level Gray wants to encourage people, particularly women, not to short-sell themselves, as some skills are transferrable to certain roles, plus upskilling is required in any case for such a rapidly-changing field. “I think it’s really important to encourage women who are transitioning careers,” she says. “Even if you don’t have very specific technical skills, there are so many experiences in previous work that can easily translate over. Sometimes you just need somebody to think outside of the box as well.”

Gray says she has been contacted on numerous occasions by women asking her for advice, for example when preparing for an interview. As Gray puts it, “I’m always willing to try and help. As women we need to stand together, as individuals in this profession in general we need to stand together, and we need to connect and learn how to present ourselves better when the opportunities arise.”

And, while her work as a vice-president on Women Cyber Force is just one way she is trying to help, she says there is an urgency that goes beyond implementing Stem in youth education.

“It’s not just students we need to think about because today we need to help fill that gap,” Gray added. “There’s a skills shortage in information security, we can fill it with the people we already have today, with the different experience they have in their previous roles, especially when it comes to risk management, governance and compliance. There’s a strong appetite from a lot of individuals to learn as they transition.”