Q&A: Anna-Lisa Miller

Anna-Lisa Miller is the Group CISO for Spectris, a world leader in specialist engineering and manufacturing of precision technology and services. She is also a member of the ClubCISO community. 

Over the last 20 years, Anna-Lisa has built deep expertise in technology and cybersecurity across a broad spectrum of sectors. She believes that great security enables all of us to work efficiently and effectively while simultaneously protecting the enterprise’s digital assets. In her downtime, she can often be found swimming in rivers, lakes and seas.

How did you get into the industry?

I was lucky to start my career with PwC. The graduate program was a great introduction to the corporate world and the foundation of my network. Initially, I didn’t really know what to do with my degree, but it became apparent pretty quickly that the combination of psychology, computer science and artificial intelligence stood me in good stead for a career in security. Going back more than 20 years, security was pretty much bottom of the food chain and I found that by doing the jobs that no one else wanted to do, I was able to connect with people on many levels and find ways to make security a part of the broader technology agenda.

What is the greatest data security challenge right now?

Mark Brown recorded a ThreatConnect podcast recently and summed this up really well. The trouble is, there isn’t a single challenge that we’re grappling with at the moment. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges is that security is always continuously improving. When you think about that across people, process and technology, it is every employee’s personal responsibility, it has more uncertainty than other business processes and it has mostly indirect measures of success. Add to that the fact that there are increasing amounts of legal and regulatory obligations and potentially catastrophic consequences if it fails, and I think it’s fair to say that keeping organizations in an appropriately balanced state of security is a huge challenge in itself.

What’s the most interesting thing about information security?

Read Geoff White’s book Crime Dot Com – I absolutely love it! I love it so much I sent signed copies to the whole exec team at Spectris. This book perfectly encapsulates the human side of information (and cyber) security – it’s brilliantly written and explains the background to some really interesting events. The most interesting thing about most things (including information security) is the people, and the storytelling that Geoff brings to this subject is superb.

What is your proudest career achievement?

Early on in my career, when I left Nestlé in Sydney, my boss organized a champagne breakfast with the entire office to say goodbye. In his speech, he said how I’d made a real and lasting difference and that he predicted that, one day, I would be his boss. That never happened, but I liked the sentiment and it has stayed with me ever since. Now I take great pleasure in others’ success and seeing my team thrive–despite COVID-19–and all the disruption and trauma it has brought, fills me with enormous pride.

Quick-fire Q&A

What’s your favorite movie?

Life is Beautiful/La vita è bella

What’s your guilty pleasure?

My Spotify playlist

What’s your personal goal for 2021?

To run 5K in under 30 minutes

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