Captain of Capture the Flag: Nisos’ Manager of Intelligence Services on Continuous Learning in Cybersecurity

An interview with Natalie Brady reveals her love of challenges and how the environment at Nisos allows her to learn something new every day.

Written by Taylor Rose
Published on Nov. 27, 2023
Captain of Capture the Flag: Nisos’ Manager of Intelligence Services on Continuous Learning in Cybersecurity
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Studies have shown that Americans are lifelong learners. In a 2023 IBM survey of 14,000 job seekers, more than 80 percent said they planned to build their skills within the next two years.

Learning new skills is a vital part of every industry, but is especially important in cybersecurity, a field that is expected to grow by over 12 percent from 2023 to 2030, according to Grand View Research. 

At Nisos, a digital and cyber security intelligence services firm, team members must continuously learn the newest skills and threats to remain at the top of their game in delivering smart defensive strategies for clients.

“Professional development is at the heart of Nisos,” said Manager of Intelligence Services Natalie Brady. “We have an excellent People Strategy team, including dedicated training and development experts who take time to listen to everyone’s input and develop appropriate training plans for each person.” 

Built In sat down with Brady to learn more about the personal and professional development that Nisos is bringing to the cybersecurity industry.

 

What has been your career path up to this point?

Natalie Brady
Manager of Intelligence Services

Prior to Nisos, I was a senior program manager for 20 years within IT and cybersecurity organizations. I’ve been exceedingly lucky in my career, as I’ve always been able to dive into new projects, join new business units and develop skills even within the same organization. 

I’ve also been asked to do a lot throughout my career. I’ve developed an entirely new project methodology, designed and built a website in html, onboarded clients to an endpoint detection and response platform, ran vulnerability scans for clients as a cybersecurity advisor and helped transform our company culture and team. This was all before I joined Nisos. 

 

WHAT NISOS DOES

Nisos is a digital and cyber intelligence services group that helps protect companies from threats. Nisos brings together data collection and smart defenses against advanced cyber attacks, disinformation and abuse of digital platforms.

 

At Nisos, I started off as a project manager and quickly rose to director of business operations, dealing with revenue recognition and specialist projects. Then at a company meetup, I took part in a capture the flag event and found my new passion. So I gave up business operations and took a sideways jump to being an intelligence analyst and now a manager of intelligence services.

 

How does working for Nisos help you progress toward your goals?

My main goal is to always be learning something new. I don’t get anxious with being overworked, in fact I like to be on the healthy side of too much work. Not having enough stimulating work to do is a death knell for me. I’m a classic ENTP personality — I get bored easily and I am always exploring new things, new projects and new ideas for improvement. 

Luckily, at Nisos I am always learning something new, whether that be new tactics of threat actors, building a brand new analyst team in Belfast or working on the implementation of new products into our tools and systems. Nisos makes it possible for everyone to explore their passions within the broad guardrails of our roles within the organization.

 

“Nisos makes it possible for everyone to explore their passions within the broad guardrails of our roles within the organization.”

 

What skills have you learned recently?

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? My trade over much of my career has been project and program management. Upon joining Nisos, I had to quickly develop a new project management methodology for our intelligence services and build it in a new, unfamiliar tool. That allowed me to get into the heart of what our analyst teams were doing. 

I’ve always had a passion for puzzles of all sorts, so working alongside the analysts and understanding their investigative procedures allowed me to take a glimpse at the puzzles they were solving on behalf of our clients. 

Now, as an intelligence analyst and as the manager of incredible analysts, I am actively working on the attribution of potential threat actors, performing due diligence on individuals for risk assessments. My favorite part is when I get to develop new flags for our capture the flag events. I would say that I have a flair for the dramatic. I have been able to add patterns of life, cryptography, explosive chemistry and even a love story into the flags — all of which build upon the new technical skills I develop daily.

 

WHAT ARE CAPTURE THE FLAG EVENTS? 

Cybersecurity professionals conduct capture the flag exercises by hiding text strings, or “flags”, in purposefully vulnerable programs or websites. Finding, or “capturing”, the flag can either be a competition or a training event.

 

What professional development tools and resources have you utilized the most at Nisos? 

Nisos has an excellent and constantly evolving “university” dedicated to bringing internal and external knowledge sharing to everyone. I love that I can dip into a short learning exercise on leadership or management during a break in my day. 

I’ve also had great mentorship and trusted advisors who help shape my leadership style while at Nisos. I’ve participated in Leadership360 exercises which gave me a great insight into my leadership personality and pointers where I can minimize weak areas whilst maximizing my strengths.

 

Read MoreNisos’ Founding Mission

 

How has joining the company positively impacted your professional journey?

Without sounding as if I am playing to the crowd, I can honestly say I have never been more happy to be part of such a brilliant team of people. Seriously. This is a team of highly intelligent, high-performing and results-driven people who support one another every single day. We pull together to bring the best out of each other, lending support where needed and pushing each other to go further. It really does suit my ENTP personality to a T. 

I’m very achievement oriented and I am always looking for that next challenge or win — Nisos gives that to me in the work I do on a daily basis. I am also very proud of my team and the strides they are taking in their careers. I am very lucky to have a small yet highly accomplished team of rock stars. They make my job very easy.

 

“I’m very achievement oriented and I am always looking for that next challenge or win — Nisos gives that to me on a daily basis. 

 

What are you excited to accomplish next?

World domination? I’m only half joking. I definitely still see myself at Nisos in the next few years, but I would like to lead the Belfast analyst teams in providing even more impact and actionable intelligence across the UK and Europe. I hope to expand both our horizons and our capabilities, and of course keep up with the ever-changing threat actor landscape. I’ll never rest on my laurels.

 

Read MoreHow Nisos Revamped its ‘Human-Powered’ Security Portfolio

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Nisos.

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