Meet Martine Koch – Security Operations Manager at the SOC

‘Working at Northwave’ can mean a variety of things. Some people are on the road a lot, to meet clients or to help save a company when they are faced with a cyberattack, others are helping clients from our office. In this blog, we talk to Martine about her position as Security Operations Manager at the SOC.

Curious what she does at Northwave? Then let’s dive in!

What is your function in the company?

“Since October 2020, I have been a Security Operations Manager in the Northwave SOC, or Security Operations Center in full . This means that I am the link between the customers and the Northwave SOC, where we aim to support the customers in their cyber security. In the SOC we focus specifically on detecting “strange” behaviour in the network or end points of a customer, this is also referred to as monitoring. Our role as Security Operations Manager is to be the point of contact for both the Northwave SOC and the customer.”

How did you end up in this position?

“From an early age I had an interest in fighting crime, I often watched Law and Order, CSI and many detectives, for example. When I chose my study, I looked at various options, including law, eventually I chose to study criminology. After my studies I started an IT traineeship, which led me to the IT field. This experience, combined with my interest in criminology, put cybersecurity on my radar. After having had various roles in IT, including a pentester, I wanted to take a new step. Right when I wanted to discover the blue team side, I saw that there was a position at Northwave. During the application process I noticed how enthusiastically all employees spoke about Northwave, which is incredibly contagious.”

Why did you want to work in the tech sector?

“Every year I can have something different to get my hands on, it is an enormously dynamic field. The cybersecurity area has new vulnerabilities every day that we will protect our customers against. I can read up on a new topic every day. And, despite the image that many people have of the tech sector, it offers a lot of room for developing your soft skills. You can develop your organizational side and your communication skills very well. In IT it is important that you can communicate well with a customer. It is often less tangible what exactly we do for a customer, good communication helps them to form an idea of the added value.”

What is the best thing about your job?

“There are a lot of things nice about my job, but in my top three these things would come up: firstly, I think it is great to see that I can contribute, in second place for me are the colleagues and third the variety and the dynamic environment in which I work.”

As a woman, what do you notice about ICT as a predominantly male world?

“Actually nothing. In daily life I do not notice that I am a woman in a so-called man’s world. The only thing I can think of is that it stands out when you suddenly have a new female colleague.”

What would you like to say to women who are considering working in the tech sector?

“Do it! It is a fun field, I learn a lot and besides the technical side there is also room for soft skills, fun and personal connections. So if IT is your passion, go for it.”

What tips can you give women in IT?

“It is difficult to give advice that is applicable to everyone and perhaps it is also good to reflect on that. I would say: try to make sure that you can make your own path. Some people like to be in the foreground and others feel more comfortable in the background. So don’t let yourself be guided by or held back by stereotypes, but delve into your own interests and the skills you want to learn.”

Who is your example in the professional field? And why?

“Paula Januszkiewicz is a lady who has been able to put herself at the forefront of the cybersecurity world. For example, she provides training on Microsoft and actively conducts hacking demos for the public. What I find special about her is that she is not only technically very strong, but she also takes the time to share her knowledge.”

How do you think more women can be encouraged to pursue careers in tech?

“Most importantly, it is essential that women enjoy working in the tech sector. Although we cannot control that, it is of course important that it is normalized that women can also be technical. For example, if you see images in textbooks about technical jobs, you often see that a man is depicted. In my opinion, an important part of sparking interest in working in IT is also done by straightening these kinds of images. Men are not by definition more technical than women, it mainly comes down to a bit of encouragement and interest that makes people want to work in a certain sector.”