INTERVIEW WITH CHERYL SODERSTROM
R&C: What attracted you to the industry?
Soderstrom: I came from a liberal arts background. My father was the Headmaster of the Stony Brook School in beautiful Long Island, New York. I grew up on the campus – my friends were all children of the faculty and staff, who were constantly teaching and challenging us. Along with the classics, we were taught how to think and write, how to organise an argument, and how to articulate a position. Very early on in my career it became apparent that the IT industry needed more people like me – and they were hiring us. I lucked into the IT industry, this amazing revolutionary sector that changed the world, and which continues to do so.
R&C: What has kept you in the industry and continues to motivate you?
Soderstrom: I’ve been working in cyber security since before most people had ever heard the term. I was asked to build up a security practice within our Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) public sector business. I named it the cyber security practice. What was going on was different than traditional IT security. To educate myself, I talked with our ‘ninjas’; these people really understood how cyber space worked, and how to move around in it undetected. Then I talked with colleagues who understood intelligence gathering; they really knew tradecraft. When I got the geeks and the spooks together, we had the most fascinating conversations, however I quickly realised that they weren’t really speaking the same language, and it certainly wasn’t business language. I joke that my role was explaining cyber security in a language even an executive could understand. Once we had a common definition, language and taxonomy, we could really understand the business... and how to grow it.
Jul-Sep 2016 Issue
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services