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In the areas that matter for your career – graduate Colm Conneely talks cyber security

25 Jan 2023, 13:33

Cyber security is an ever-changing dynamic industry and talent is being sought out more than ever before.

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Cyber security is an ever-changing dynamic industry and talent is being sought out more than ever before.

Now part of the cyber-security team at EY, Colm Conneely who joined as a graduate in September 2019 highly recommends this exciting career and gives us an insight into what it’s like at the coalface. If you’re curious about what working in cyber security is really like and how EY works with companies to protect and monitor their systems, networks and data centres, Colm has it covered!

“I’ve always been interested in technology, but could never put my finger on what exactly - whether it was the programming or networking side. I studied Business and Information Systems in Galway and it was a great starting point for me.

I’ve now discovered the areas of expertise that matter for my career and can bring this background into my current role, as the cybersecurity team are client-facing. We help clients with a lot of the technical issues they come up with, along with strategy. So for me, having that balance between business and technology is very useful as I can explain technical things to non-technical people.

I was attracted to EY because of the learning. EY promotes learning at work and they really put an emphasis on that. We're encouraged to take different courses and provided with great access to learning platforms. So for me, that was a big interest. But also positive word of mouth from people I had gone to college with who did internments here, sparked my interest.

A typical day can change by engagement or from client to client. So whether it's an implementation project, or if we're helping them with a cybersecurity strategy, we provide that support. It involves a lot of interaction with my senior manager and with the client, back and forth, figuring out exactly what they need and coming up with solutions and presenting those to them.

Cybersecurity is the issue now listed as having the most significant impact on many companies. Businesses worldwide are facing an increasing number of cybersecurity threats with attacks getting more and more sophisticated. What’s so exciting about working in this area is that it's different day to day. What I only realised when I joined EY is that cybersecurity is actually quite a broad domain. There are a lot of areas in cyber that are just as important as each other. So in my time in EY so far, I've been involved in completely different areas of cyber.

Obviously, when you start in any company you're a little bit nervous. It's a professional environment. So you're dealing with clients, which I had never done before. But they're just really great people and the team at EY is so kind - everybody makes it a lot easier. You can always reach out to somebody if you're not sure - that’s welcomed - it’s a completely open-door policy.

The culture is great too. The graduate group who joined in 2019 all socialise really well.

Since I started, the biggest project I’ve been involved with is a public sector client, where we provided managed security services. I worked on different things like threat and vulnerability management and incident response - a lot of really interesting domains. Right now, I’m working with one of the senior managers to implement a threat and vulnerability management solution for a client.

The big thing is we're always learning. Since I started, most of what I've been involved in has been new to me. But it's also quite safe in the sense that while you are given the responsibility you will never be left to do something all by yourself. You can never be really fully secure when it comes to cybersecurity and it’s always just about how we can improve and keep improving - it’s always changing.

I’m doing a Masters in Internet of Things (IOT) at the moment. I’d like to progress into IOT network security and industrial IOT and figure out how I can add value and move forward.

I’d really recommend working at EY to other graduates. EY has a really strong people culture. I’ve seen it. They care about the areas that matter for your career. I would definitely say that the people aspect probably stands out.”

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