Meet CyberSecurity Professional Services Expert, Tina Smith

July 14, 2023

As part of a series called “Meet our Deeps,” we introduce you to Tina Smith, a cybersecurity professional services expert at DeepSeas. Let’s dive in to learn more about Tina’s work and career.

Hi, Tina. Can you tell us about your current role at DeepSeas and what attracted you to it?

As a cybersecurity professional services manager, I manage a crew of talented Deeps who are responsible for post-contract project implementation, delivery of contracted services and developing a long-term relationship as the single point of contact for clients throughout the life of their contract. We all also share a common vision – to transform our team into a full-service professional services crew, where project management is just one of many components of our work.

One of my favorite parts of this role is the ability to not only manage change but to lead others to embrace the changes. To me, remaining in the status quo is scarier than change itself. Always seeking to improve ourselves and what we deliver keeps us on top of our game at DeepSeas.

Cybersecurity is ever-changing, which makes it ever-challenging to stay on top of latest threats and combative solutions against those threats. I was specifically drawn to DeepSeas as an opportunity to build a Professional Services team that will differentiate ourselves from competitors, and to make a huge “splash” navigating the cyber seas.

How does your background and cybersecurity expertise enhance the ability of DeepSeas to protect our clients?

I have over 14 years of experience in project management, and more than six of those years are specifically within cybersecurity, building expertise in client esclalations, as well as implementation, deployment and operation of  cybersecurity solutions to build a solid foundation of security in client environments.

Every proactive solution we deploy is an opportunity to provide protection in the way of monitoring, detecting, and responding to threat actors.  In the case of a reactive incident response, how quickly and accurately we engage reduces risk for further collateral damage.

Have you had any special mentors in your life who have helped you along your career path? What advice would you offer others for their careers?

I have fostered allies and friends by being transparent and worthy of their trust. I have had multiple people in my life who have allowed me to learn and live out the “best of the best” from each of them. Even those who were not positive role models in my life have allowed me to shed undesirable character traits by helping me understand who I don’t want to be.

To other women building careers in cybersecurity, I would say – be you. You don’t have to change to fit into cybersecurity professional services. The variety of roles in cybersecurity require all the basic traits innate to so many of us already – to analyze, hunt, find the root cause of a situation, organize, be relational, document, be an advocate, be influential. It’s really a matter of further refining who you are and finding where you add the most value in the cybersecurity world.

Do you believe cybersecurity leaders should be motivated by fear or peace of mind, and why?

Fear motivates people to react, whereas peace of mind motivates people to respond. I would much rather have a thoughtful approach to how leadership responds to situations than to react out of any emotion – including fear.

We like to say that at DeepSeas heart rates go down, careers take off, and security programs mature. Does this resonate with you? Why or why not?

I relate to each of these statements deeply and broadly across both our customer base and employees who we call Deeps. Heart rates go down when people feel secure, either in their jobs (Deeps) or in their security program (clients). Careers take off when we make our clients look good, and when we develop our Deeps to grow in their careers at DeepSeas so they can do more through others. Security programs mature when we go deep with our clients to increase their security posture and also internally as we invest in our own knowledge, experience, tools, and people.

What examples have you seen or experienced when security leaders sacrifice their personal health and wellness for work? Why do you think personal well-being may be especially important in the cybersecurity professional services area?

As a leader at DeepSeas, I watch for signs of burnout in our Deeps. We all know the signs when someone is fraying around the edges – consistently working long hours, not using PTO, and allowing negativity to creep in with short responses. Cybersecurity is ever-changing, and it takes a lot of energy to keep up and stay ahead of the curve. While it’s easy to say that “we work to live, we don’t live to work,” it’s harder to walk the walk. It’s important we stay focused on the long-term wellbeing of each person so we can stay fresh, recharged, and balanced. The best way to do that is to be the example, foster the culture, and ensure direct team members are free to thrive in that culture.

What single piece of advice would you share with a CISO to improve her/his organization’s cyber defense posture?

Prioritize and invest in your cybersecurity team, either directly or through trusted partners (depending on size and feasibility). If you start with a solid pool of people, internal processes, awareness of vulnerabilities, and solid solutions will fall into place.

We’re fortunate to have Tina as a cybersecurity professional services expert at DeepSeas, and thank her for sharing a bit about herself and her career journey. Come back to meet more of our DeepSeas cybersecurity experts in future issues of our “Meet Our Deeps” series.