Interview: Neira Jones

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Neira Jones has so many roles and titles that we can’t fit them all on the page. Let’s just say she’s an independent advisor and international speaker with various board positions. All of these things give her the freedom to choose who she works with and just be herself, which is why even when pitted against working with performance cars, shoes, travel or being a Michelin restaurant reviewer (all passions of hers), she still considers her current role her dream job.

Who do you really admire in the industry?

Those that continue to strive to make our world a safer place, and there are many. To pick out a few: I bow to Prof Fred Piper for being such an inspiration and making cryptography sexy; Elizabeth Denham for doing such a fabulous job at the UK ICO in the short period she’s been in position; Brian Honan and Prof John Walker for their indomitable stamina; Troels Oerting for finding the time to be involved in very worthwhile initiatives whilst being CISO at Barclays; Jenny Radcliffe for telling it like it is and making it her business to eradicate that scourge that is social engineering; and Lee Munson for not giving up on his dream.

Tell me about a time you screwed up

I remained in a job much longer than I should have, causing myself – and those around me – a lot of angst. In fact, I failed to follow my own advice in a timely manner, which is “If you can’t change the people, change the people. Sometimes it’s you.” So I extracted myself, albeit late, and that was a good lesson.

How do you feel about the ‘women in tech’ conversation?

I’m definitely in the camp of favoring the conversation about ‘people in tech’ more generally. Whilst the gender imbalance is undeniable (not just for cybersecurity but for STEM in general), I think the root of the problem happens much earlier in the education system. With ‘women in tech’, we’re trying to fix a symptom and whilst there are many worthwhile initiatives, on their own, they can only achieve so much.

What’s the most misunderstood thing about information security?

That it’s about technology only and should be left to the IT guys. If I could change one thing about the sector, I would want it to be more open and stop the fear-mongering.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry today?

Keep informed, interact and build a network and really understand that it’s about people, process and technology. Don’t be scared, we don’t all wear foil hats…(well, unless they’re Philip Treacy’s).

Tell me something that will surprise our readers

I collect antiques and I’m really interested in Tudor history. My favorite management book is Macchiaveli’s The Prince.

"With 'women in tech', we’re trying to fix a symptom."


Neira Jones has more than 20 years of experience in financial services and technology. She advises organizations of all sizes and addresses global audiences on payments, fintech, information security, regulations and digital innovation. Neira has won numerous industry awards and holds a number of board positions with security and payments organizations.

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