Women in Security Part 1: Meet Taree Reardon, Senior Threat Analyst
This post is part of our Women’s History Month series – follow along with us on Twitter @VMwareCarbonBlack
In celebration of International Women’s Day, we are excited to kick off our six-part Women in Security series. Throughout March, we will highlight outstanding women on the VMware Security Business Unit team as well as customers who are making their mark on the security industry and helping to keep the world safe from cyberattacks.
Meet Taree Reardon, Senior Threat Analyst, VMware Security Business Unit. As a GIAC certified Incident Handler with over three years of experience on the VMware Security Business Unit Managed Detection team, Taree is responsible for identifying and dissecting new and emerging threats. She is an active speaker in the cybersecurity industry and a member of the Howlers, where she shares her experiences and helps the security community succeed. Taree also has a passion for mentoring and empowering the next generation of security professionals. We spoke to her about her career path, role models, and tips for other women looking to succeed in the security industry.
Tell us about yourself and your role at VMware?
I joined Carbon Black prior to the acquisition by VMware. I’m on the threat analysis team and responsible for identifying emerging threats to protect our customers against emerging cyberattacks. I work on a team of experts who come from different backgrounds – they’ve often held two or three different types of jobs before this one – which brings creativity and unique perspectives to the table.
How did you land a career in security and what led you to VMware Security Business Unit?
I knew that Carbon Black was a really inclusive place to work. I was looking for a company that was pushing women up vs. down and I found exactly that. While it was a two-month process with more than eight interviews, it was worth it. I had the chance to speak with my potential teammates and understand their priorities and values, which got me even more excited about the role. Post-acquisition by VMware, I’m glad to see the culture and values remain the same. VMware has a very similar approach to lifting women up and I’m constantly seeing new initiatives from leadership to push these efforts forward.
We know there are no typical days in security, but can you tell us about what a day entails in the VMware Security Business Unit for you?
You never know what you’re going to do on a given day – I love this about security and it’s what keeps me engaged in my job. On incident days, our first priority is protecting our customers of course. But on non-incident days, we focus on how our team is doing and discuss areas for personal and professional growth. I always love being able to take a step and back and think about my team’s well-being and our path forward together. As leaders on the team, we provide resources, new trainings, and opportunities so they consistently feel challenged and can grow their security expertise.
Who is your role model in tech or security?
I love everything Michelle Obama stands for, especially about female empowerment and breaking glass ceilings. In security though, I love following @malwareunicorn and @hacks4pancakes – they both post engaging content, and they’re so personable. I know I can go to them as a knowledgeable resource and as people who can answer important security questions.
What excites you most about security and the future of security at VMware?
I think we’re at such an exciting, pivotal time in security. I look at security as a warfront – there are attackers and we’re defending against them. I feel privileged to be on the “front lines” protecting important industries like healthcare prepare for and stop attacks, especially with the increase in ransomware attacks over the past year. I’m proud to say we can make a difference, and even save lives in the case of the recent surge of attacks on the healthcare industry.
In honor of Women’s History Month, what advice do you have for women looking to get into the security industry?
- Imposter syndrome is normal – you may second guess yourself, but don’t worry, everyone feels that way, not just women. It’s normal and talking about it helps. I always talk through any insecurities or challenges I’m facing with management and look at the opportunity as one to learn something new.
- When you’re interviewing, ask to speak to women on the team. Ask them about their role, and if they feel supported and challenged. It’s critical to vet the place you’re interviewing beforehand. Once you take the job, if it’s not working out, then give it some time, learn what you can and move on. Just be sure you put yourself and your growth first.
- Connect with women in the industry – it’s great if you get a woman to mentor you, but otherwise, network on LinkedIn, ask questions, and speak to other women in the industry.
- Don’t try to do it all. There’s an immense amount of pressure on women to not only do their job well, but also to keep things at home and with their children organized. If you have the ability, ask for help because we don’t have to do it all.
Stay tuned for more Q&As throughout Women’s History Month, and be sure to follow the #WomensHistoryMonth and #ChooseToChallenge conversations on Twitter: @vmw_carbonblack.