“Risk awareness and management is the corner stone of a successful Cybersecurity Leader”, says Mahesh Mandalika, CISO & VP at SwinkPay Fintech Pvt Ltd.

Can you describe your current role, and what responsibilities do you undertake?

As a CISO of a bootstrapped Fintech startup the role demands a fine Balance between the Security posture and the security spend. For a comprehensive security posture, it is essential for CISO to have an oversight on the IT infrastructure and Application security to achieve and maintain compliance to PCI-DSS and RBI mandates for Data localization.

How will you describe your journey in the cybersecurity Industry?

I consider it my highest honor to be one of the faculty to train Senior defense and Admisntrative personnel in GRC with specific focus on Cyber security organized by Information Sharing and Analysis Center | National Security Database. (isacfoundation.org). I started with network design and implementation, including structured cable for converged network for a new location for Indian IT Major, and was also responsible for Location IT operation covering LAN, WAN and Server Administration. Got an international exposure when had to setup Infrastructure in two USA co-location facilities and Global DR site in Canda. Including design and setup an DMZ Subsequent role presented opportunities to draft, enforce and carry audits for the same Indian IT Major which result in the elevating the ISO27001 ISMS as an Assurance to Management of the organization and its to the Fortune 500 clients.

If you could make one recommendation to the next generation of cybersecurity leaders, what would it be?

NextGen leaders should harness management skills Business alignment, laser sharp balancing between Security requirements and Budget, motivational approach to the stressed Cyber security team. NextGen leader should an excellent facilitator and collaborator capable of fostering a culture of tight coupling between all teams from board level to the desk-side support engineers to break department Silos. NextGen leader can provide and sustained, continuously improvement and business aligned cyber security posture by defining strong and enforcement of process and not rely only on men and machine. Risk awareness and management is the corner stone of a successful Cybersecurity Leader.

How do you stay updated with the latest security threats and technologies?

Attendance to events more of Virtual events, email newsletter, updates from professional networks, discussion with clients and prospects, Internet browsing for trends, updates of regulatory compliance, blogs, white paper etc. As one of the faculty for GRC course by Isac Foundation, we get tremendous learnings from senior personnel from various non-corporate sections.

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