Wild Geese: Fidelma Russo, EMC, Massachusetts
Big data presents a massive opportunity
Fidelma Russo, senior vice president in the enterprise storage division at EMC
As well as helping counter cybercrime, Russo says big data analytics can lead to more jobs, by creating demand for advanced IT skills in the form of data scientists, who can map marketplace behaviour.
“I think there is a big opportunity with big data but people don’t fully understand it. How do you make it meaningful for people? It’s good to draw data from lots of different sources. For example, you can’t tell how many kids in the west of Ireland can code from one source.”
She says cybercrime incidents such as the Loyaltybuild data breach show the importance of being able to identify and stop threats quickly, something which can be done through security analytics and big data.
“We had a breach ourselves in 2011. It compromised a number of secure ID tokens, which are tokens that allow companies to log in remotely. The breach compromised us and companies that were clients. We know the pain that Loyaltybuild felt as we felt that pain.
“Company security budgets used to be based on preventing intrusions. Now you have to allocate money to detection/determining whether there is an intrusion and having a rapid response mechanism in place for closing it down.”
She says big data is intertwined with security analytics, as security analytics involves collecting reliable cyber security data and researching prospective cyber adversaries to better understand risk and learn about why and how attacks occur – before they occur.
Russo studied electrical engineering in UCC before going on to work for the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in Clonmel. “I found myself in the electrical engineering course because the course I had wanted to study – biochemical engineering – was cancelled a few weeks beforehand. Computers are very different now to when I started but the computer architecture is the same. The physics and maths behind everything is still the same.”
She got the opportunity to work in the US for six months and never came back. “I worked for Dave Cutler who ended up developing Windows NT.”
Cutler had worked for DEC before leaving to join Microsoft in October 1988. Digital closed down its facility when Russo was in the US and many of the people she worked with ended up at Microsoft.
“I got a visa to work for Digital in the US initially but then I got a Donnelly visa. I’d never won anything in my entire life. The Donnelly visa is still the only thing I’ve won.”