As part of our series celebrating Women in Cyber, we are recognizing the achievements of women in science and technology by sharing insights from the women leaders of Verodin. In the first of our “Day in the Life” blog series, we introduce you to Ashley Zaya, who works with Verodin’s Behavior Research Team as a senior threat research analyst.

I recently celebrated my two-year anniversary with Verodin, and without a doubt, these years have been an exciting journey, as each day brings an opportunity to learn something new. As a member of the Behavior Research Team, my main responsibility is to research today’s threat landscape, understand the different types of behaviors and techniques used by malware families and adversaries, and recreate those types attacks within Verodin’s Security Instrumentation Platform. Still operating under a startup mentality, I often wear many different hats and have taken on a number of other responsibilities, including infrastructure management of our lab environments, building out internal processes such as the onboarding and training of new team members, to somedays putting on my engineering hat and helping to solve various issues that come up in our day-to-day tasks.

Truthfully, a career in cybersecurity, or any other technical field, was not part of my plan when applying for college. In fact, as an animal lover, I initially applied to college with the intention of studying zoology. But by the time I actually entered college, my focus changed – I learned about a new program around Security and Risk Analysis at Penn State University and found that this was more in line with what I was interested in doing long term.

After graduating, I starting working as a SOC analyst at Boeing, and after a few years there, I joined the Behavior Research Team at Verodin. It’s now been approximately five years since I started my career in cybersecurity. I’ve been fortunate to have learn from and work alongside extremely intelligent people, both men and women, but I think it is important to put emphasis on closing the gender gap for women in our field. Without a doubt, there are many female trailblazers in information security, a lot of whom I look up to and learned a lot from through their social engagements, either through blogs, conference presentations, or simply their interactions with others in the community over Twitter. It’s important that we continue to adopt a culture that welcomes and promotes other females who are currently working in this field as well as the younger generations who are interested in information security.

When I’m not working, I prefer to spend my time outdoors. During the warmer months, I enjoy hiking, biking, and other activities that keep me away from a computer screen. In February 2019, I presented at Day of Shecurity in Boston where I talked about how my experience is a lot like climbing a mountain. You know that your goal is to reach the top, but it can take awhile to find the correct path and direction to take. Once you reach the top, it’s incredibly rewarding – and in a nutshell, that summarizes how I feel about cybersecurity. With the right tools and data, the possibilities of what we can do are boundless, and for me, I know that I’m making a difference by helping our customers solve their problems so that they can better protect their business-critical assets from an attack.

Want to hear more from leading women in cyber? Visit here to subscribe to the Verodin Cybersecurity Effectiveness Podcast, winner of the 2020 Cybersecurity Excellence Awards in the category of best cybersecurity podcast for a company with 1,000 to 4,999 employees. Listen in to our latest podcast series and gain insights from some of the most powerful women in cyber.

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