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Cyber Angel – Sushila Nair

Oct 6 2023

Join us in this interesting and insightful conversation with Sushila Nair, Vice President & Head of Cybersecurity Service Line, North America, where she explains the importance of diversity in cybersecurity and how Capgemini’s values foster a positive and supportive work environment

Tell us about your role. What does a day in your life at Capgemini look like?

As the North American cybersecurity practice leader my days vary considerably. However, some common activities may include:

  • Meeting with clients: I meet with clients to discuss their cybersecurity needs and challenges. I share trends in the industry and the work we are doing within cyber that might help increase the client’s security. Some of the work we may discuss would include conducting assessments, developing security plans, or implementing security controls.
  • Managing a team: I manage a team of cybersecurity professionals. This includes setting goals, assigning tasks, and providing feedback.
  • Managing sales, opportunities, and resourcing: I manage a team of cybersecurity professionals that must be kept busy and so I help manage upcoming sales opportunities and RFP solutions to ensure we are responding and designing solutions that meet our clients’ interests around our cybersecurity services.
  • Providing thought leadership: I must stay up to date on the latest cybersecurity threats and trends. I also share this knowledge with my team and our North American clients.
  • Networking: I network with other cybersecurity professionals to stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices. I also attend conferences, speak at events, and participate within the cyber community.

In addition to these common activities, I am also involved in other tasks, such as:

  • Advising on cybersecurity policies and procedures
  • Responding to client escalations
  • Managing budgets and resources

The specific duties of the cyber practice leader will vary depending on the region and its needs. However, the role is typically highly demanding and requires a strong understanding of cybersecurity principles and practices.

What makes you proud to work at Capgemini?

There are many reasons why I am proud to work at Capgemini. Here are a few:

  • Global reach and impact: Capgemini is a global company with nearly 350,000 employees in more than 50 countries. This means that Capgemini employees have the opportunity to work on projects that have a global impact.
  • Challenging and innovative work: Capgemini is a leader in the IT industry, and employees have the opportunity to work on cutting-edge projects. This is a great way to learn and grow professionally.
  • Strong corporate culture: Capgemini has a strong corporate culture that is based on values such as sustainability, respect, diversity, and innovation, and Capgemini has committed to helping achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by signing onto the United Nations Global Compact. Capgemini’s values create a positive and supportive work environment.
  • Opportunities for growth and development: Capgemini is committed to the professional development of its employees. This means that I have the opportunity to learn new skills and advance my career.
  • Work-life balance: Capgemini understands that work-life balance is important, and it offers flexible work arrangements and other programs to help employees achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Here are some specific examples of how Capgemini employees have made a positive impact on the world:

These are just a few examples of the many ways in which Capgemini employees are making a difference in the world and why Capgemini is an excellent company for those who want to be proud of their work.

How are you working towards the future you want?

I am also the Vice President of ISACA Greater Washington, DC, which has over 5,000 members. This role not only enables me to contribute to community education but also teaches me leadership skills and broadens my network. Here are some things I am working towards to establish the future that I want, including supporting my values around sustainability, diversity, and inclusion:

  • Advocating for sustainable cybersecurity practices: We advocate for using energy-efficient technologies, reducing the environmental impact of data centers, and using cloud centers with renewable energy.
  • Educating clients and colleagues about the importance of cybersecurity: This involves giving presentations, writing articles, and participating in workshops.
  • Supporting diversity, equality, and inclusion: We support CyberPeace and City of Refuge, enabling the cyber team to volunteer as mentors, offer cybersecurity advice, and work to create a better, more equitable world.

By taking these steps, we are trying to help create a more sustainable future for cybersecurity. Here are some specific examples of how we are making a difference:

  • Recommending for our clients to use cloud computing services that are powered by renewable energy.
  • Helping our clients implement security measures that reduce their threats while also reducing their environmental impact.
  • Developing material that teaches clients about the impact of cybersecurity threats and how to mitigate them.
  • Volunteering our time to a nonprofit organization that is working to promote cybersecurity.

By taking these steps, we help to ensure that cybersecurity is a sustainable practice that will protect our planet for future generations.

What difference does it make to have diversity in cyber leadership?

Diversity in cybersecurity leadership is important as it can help to improve the security of organizations. When teams are diverse, they have a wider range of perspectives and experiences, which can help them to identify and address security threats more effectively.

Here are some of the specific benefits of diversity in cyber leadership:

  • Better decision-making: Diverse teams are more likely to make better decisions because they have a wider range of perspectives to consider. This is especially important in the field of cybersecurity, where the threats are constantly evolving.
  • Increased creativity: Diverse teams are more likely to be creative because they have different ways of thinking. This can help them to come up with new and innovative solutions to security problems.
  • Improved problem-solving: Diverse teams are better at solving problems because they can draw on a wider range of knowledge and experiences. This is important in the field of cybersecurity, where problems can be complex and challenging.
  • Enhanced innovation: Diverse teams are more likely to innovate because they have different ways of approaching problems. This can help them to develop new and innovative solutions to security challenges.
  • Increased employee satisfaction: Employees are more satisfied when they work in a diverse environment. This is because they feel more valued and respected, and they are more likely to feel like they belong.

In addition to these benefits, diversity in cyber leadership can also help to improve the organization’s reputation and attract top talent.

Here are some specific examples of how diversity in cyber leadership has been beneficial:

  • Gartner found that inclusive teams improve team performance by up to 30 percent in high-diversity environments.
  • A study by Cloverpop analyzed approximately 600 business decisions made by 200 different business teams in a wide variety of companies over two years and found that diversity makes decision-making two times faster with half the meetings and improves decision team results by 60 percent.
  • In a global analysis of 2,400 companies conducted by Credit Suisse, organizations with at least one female board member yielded higher return on equity and higher net income growth than those that did not have any women on the board.

These studies show that diversity in cyber leadership can have a real impact on the security of organizations. By creating a more diverse workforce, Capgemini can improve our ability to protect ourselves and our clients from cyberattacks.

What advice would you give to someone joining Capgemini Cybersecurity?

Here is some advice I would give to someone joining Capgemini:

  • Be prepared to learn and grow: Capgemini is a large and complex organization, and there is always something new to learn. Be open to new experiences and challenges, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Be a team player: Capgemini is a collaborative environment and is highly relationship driven; success depends on working well with others. Be willing to share your knowledge and expertise and be open to feedback.
  • Be proactive: Don’t wait to be told what to do. Take initiative and look for ways to contribute.
  • Be positive and enthusiastic: A positive attitude can go a long way in any workplace. Be excited about your new job and the opportunities it presents.
  • Be yourself: Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Capgemini is a diverse organization, and everyone is welcome.

Here are some specific tips for someone joining Capgemini’s cybersecurity practice:

  • Get up to speed on the latest cybersecurity threats and trends: The cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay up to date on the latest threats and trends. There are many resources available to help you do this, such as Capgemini University, online blogs and articles, and vendor training.
  • Build your skills and knowledge: The cyber field is constantly changing, so it’s important to be a lifelong learner. Take advantage of the training and development opportunities that Capgemini offers to build your skills and knowledge.
  • Network with other professionals in the field: Networking is a great way to learn about new opportunities and stay up to date on the latest trends. Attend industry events, join online forums, and connect with other professionals on LinkedIn.
  • Get involved in the community: There are many ways to get involved in the cybersecurity community. Volunteer your time to participate in a local chapter of ISACA or ISC2 or a CSA Working Group, participate in a hackathon, or write a blog post about a security topic. Getting involved in the community is a great way to learn and give back.
  • Get certifications: I take one certification exam every year to ensure continuous learning. If you are interested in cybersecurity, it is critical that you continue to learn. Cybersecurity is not just a job; it’s a career that demands passion and commitment.

Diversity in cybersecurity leadership enhances security by bringing a broader spectrum of perspectives and experiences to the table. It fosters better decision-making, increased creativity, improved problem-solving, enhanced innovation, and higher employee satisfaction. By embracing diversity, organizations like Capgemini can significantly bolster their ability to protect against cyber threats.

If you are looking for a role in cybersecurity at Capgemini, please visit our career page.

Sushila Nair

Vice President, Head of Cybersecurity Service Line, US | Cloud infrastructure Services 
Sushila Nair CISSP, GIAC GSTRT, CISA, CISM, CRISC, CDPSE, CCSK, CCAK is Capgemini’s Vice President, North American Cybersecurity practice. Capgemini is a global leader in providing secure digital transformation for our clients. Sushila has most recently served as the Vice President for cybersecurity offers at NTT Data Services and has held the role of a CISO for 10 years. Sushila has over 30 years of experience in computing infrastructure, business and security risk analysis, preventing credit card fraud, and served as a legal expert witness.