This installment features Akshay Finney, DevSecOps Engineer. Akshay obtained his Masters in Cybersecurity from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. Prior to Text IQ, he was a Senior Security Risk & Compliance Associate at Collective Health in San Francisco.
Since its inception, Text IQ has taken a security-first approach. As a company that focuses on sensitive information, we go to great lengths to secure our own and our customers’ data. Even as a fledgling startup we saw the value and importance of having InfoSec and DevOps teams. Today, those teams are continually pushing the boundaries to implement additional layers of security to stay ahead of potential vulnerabilities in our ever-evolving data environment. Akshay is an integral part of this initiative.
Resist the Click
“Don’t click on it,” is Akshay’s number one piece of advice to avoid cyber threats. In honor of National Cyber Security Month, we asked our resident security aficionado, Akshay, what his top five “safe web hygiene” tips that we should be following are.
Akshay’s Top 5 Tips for Safe Web Hygiene:
- Be smart about how you browse the web and think before you click on a link
- Change your password frequently
- Use passphrases, instead of just a password
- Don’t visit dangerous (shady) sites
- Read about past data breaches or cyber attacks and learn from them
These are just a few of the simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your organization from a potential cyber attack or data breach.
Security is More Than Changing a Password
As a company that builds AI to identify, protect, and secure sensitive information, Text IQ’s own security team is small, but mighty. As a DevSecOps engineer, Akshay works with IT and an agile group of security professionals to not only protect Text IQ’s internal data, but also any external software the company shares with customers. “My team is responsible for allowing developers to build software securely and efficiently. We take care of the infrastructure and correct any checks and balances when coding in order to limit vulnerabilities in our products,” he shared. From an external perspective, Akshay ensures that client data is configured in the correct and secure environment to meet their security standards as well as Text IQ’s. He also oversees day-to-day security operations and is currently working on ramping up the next phase of the company’s security program.
Security Amid a Pandemic and Rapid Growth
Akshay, who celebrates his one year anniversary with Text IQ this month, says, “being on the DevSecOps team is a lot of work, but it’s interesting.” He likens working at the startup to working as the pit crew with Text IQ’s products being Formula 1 race cars. It’s very fast paced, but the team collaborates well, completes maintenance and “emergency” tasks together, and achieves their goals as a team.
The “interesting” part of Akshay’s comment is likely an understatement for 2020. When the entire North American population was moving to totally remote working, his team was prepared. The transition for Text IQ was seamless according to both Akshay and those in other Text IQ departments. The company was already good at working remotely and the security team focused on improving the groundwork they had laid.
Life at Text IQ
The easy transition to working remotely for Text IQ may be due in part to the company’s culture of thinking about security first. “Having a culture where people think about security first makes my job less stressful and differentiates Text IQ from a lot of other tech companies,” Akshay reports. He believes this eased the transition to remote working as well.
One of his favorite things about Text IQ is the helpful, collaborative culture. “It’s the feeling of everyone working toward a common goal and being more than willing to collaborate with any other team in the company,” that Akshay enjoys. Companies going through a rapid growth spurt often have trouble holding on to their culture, but Akshay is not worried about this. “We’re set up to scale. Our groundwork can only be improved upon from here,” he shared.
Life at Text IQ may be hectic at times, but Akshay is still able to take advantage of living on the west coast and enjoys hiking to get some exercise and fresh air. He and a friend also host the podcast “BrainJus,” where they discuss various aspects of their expat lives.
Finding Text IQ
Akshay has been committed to Information Security and Privacy since his dad, an IT professional, suggested it to him during his undergraduate computer science studies. After moving to the US from India and completing a Masters in Cybersecurity, the prospect of working at a company that was offering a completely novel product appealed to him. He liked the idea and saw value in putting his skills to use to help bring automation-deficient industries, like the legal industry, up to speed...securely.
For more information on working at Text IQ, please visit our Careers page.