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A Spectrum of Professions: ‘The World Needs Us’

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From the days of determining how to secure and derive value from early computers to today’s challenges as organizations enact digital transformation, it has been a remarkable 50 years for ISACA’s professional community. That trajectory came into focus Monday during the 50th anniversary-themed “Spectrum of Professions” panel, part of ISACA’s 2019 North America CACS conference in Anaheim, California, USA.

Moderator Marios Damianides and panelists Kelly Lin, Jenai Marinkovic, Dean Kingsley, Paul Regopoulos and Andrew Tinseth took a decade-by-decade look at the advancement of technology before sizing up the challenges faced by governance, audit, risk and security professionals now and in the future.

“There’s been a lot of change in the past 50 years, and there’s going to be a lot more,” said Damianides, a past ISACA board chair. “The beautiful thing is we’ve been able to remain relevant.”

While much has changed in the realm of computers, information systems and technology – the panelists nostalgically recalled using Commodore 64s, early Apple computers and a range of other outmoded devices – Regopoulos emphasized some of the principles that have endured over the decades.

“There’s always going to be change, whether it’s a new topic, a new tool, a regulation, whatever it may be,” said Regopoulos, senior manager, information security audit, with The Walt Disney Company. “The fundamentals are always going to be what are the risks associated with them, and how do we respond?”

Kingsley, principal with Deloitte & Touche, said today’s professionals are uniquely positioned at the intersection of risk/governance and technology. While pursuing a technical career track in areas such as audit or cybersecurity are viable options, being mindful of the broader implications of technology on businesses, the economy and society can also make for exciting career options, he said.

“If you think about yourself first and foremost as a risk and governance professional who happens to focus on technology, I think that gives you so many options,” Kingsley said.

On the career progression front, Marinkovic said that those in attendance at the conference are logical candidates to advance into high-impact organizational roles such as chief information security officer and chief technology officer.

“The reason is that no one knows the business – the intersection of business and technology – better than auditors and better than security people,” Marinkovic said.

Citing the proliferation of sensors and the rise of artificial intelligence, Marinkovic finds the growing interplay between technology and biologic systems to be intriguing. She said there could be valuable lessons learned from a renewed focus on science.

“I would say it’s time for us to go back to our high school biology and start studying because there are a lot of things the natural world can teach us about this new world that we’re about to go into,” Marinkovic said.

Lin, AVP IT Audit Lead with East West Bank, said adaptability will be essential to excel amid the shifting technology landscape, providing the example of IT auditors needing to be able to add auditing cybersecurity to their traditional skill sets.

In his closing comment, Kingsley noted some of the major technology-related risks threatening society, and called on attendees to be part of the solution.

“Be brave and have an opinion,” Kingsley said. “It’s our time in the sun. … The world needs us. There’s never been a better time to be in this profession.”

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