Q&A: Liz Banbury

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Liz Banbury is a cybersecurity leader operating in the critical and highly-pressurized financial sector. She is passionate about improving the field and has a particular interest in the impact of culture and behavior on security holistically. Liz is also a keen traveler and has spent 20 years living in Asia, first in Hong Kong and, more recently, in Singapore, returning to London in June 2017. 

If you could work with any client on any project, who and what would it be?

Elon Musk and his satellite Starlink program. The ability to bring access to the internet from satellites will benefit millions, which has been proved during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The ability to make a difference and the feeling that I’m adding value. I’m passionate about security and believe that I can help improve the security posture of the company I’m working for and support the individuals within it.

And what’s the worst?

Being called on a Friday evening because of an ‘incident or issue’ to deal with.

What’s your biggest professional regret?

Not having the courage to think that I could have got the roles I obtained recently a lot earlier. We often discuss why women don’t just go for roles and apply, and the general consensus seems to be that we read a job description and think that if there are components we aren’t sure about, then we won’t get the job. Not true! Have the courage and the belief!

Who do you really admire in the industry?

Oz Alashe. He has built an amazing business and software to bring technology and people together so that security training is based on individual requirements and psychology.

What was your route into cybersecurity?

Joining ANZ bank in 2012 as the office administrative assistant on a ‘retail channel enablement’ global program, I was subsequently asked to join the project as a technology project manager. Then, six weeks into that, I was put in charge of all security, risk and compliance for the program.

Quick-fire Q&A:

  • What is your job about in one sentence? Information is now considered to be one of the most valuable assets in the world, both legally and on the black market; my job is to keep it safe! 

  • What’s your proudest achievement? Passing my CISSP, what a nightmare six-hour exam!

  • A time you screwed up? Nothing to do with cybersecurity, but when I worked in Hong Kong as the office manager for a small structural engineering company, I accidentally paid someone HK$200,000 instead of HK$20,000!

  • Something about you that our readers will be surprised by? When I left school, I went to live in Hong Kong, supposedly for three months before going to university. I loved it so much I stayed for 10 years and could speak passable Cantonese.

  • What’s your guilty secret? Ice cream! I’m meant to be a vegan…

Bio: Liz Banbury has spent approximately 18 years working in technology within the financial industry and has now been in the information security space for 10 years. She joined Hiscox Insurance as CISO in 2021. Liz is CISSP certified, has been a member of (ISC)2 since 2016 and is currently president of the (ISC)2  London Chapter. 

Follow Liz: @LizBanbury

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