The ladder to success often comes with some steps missing. In those times, it is simple determination that carries forward, even as resources fall short, because grit sees obstacles to overcome, rather than just dead ends. Living this truth is Akinlawon Babajide Fayokun, working as an Ethical Hacker at Boch Systems West Africa.
Akinlawon is a cybersecurity expert specializing in penetration testing. He encounters dead ends, threats, and cyber-attacks on a daily basis, but he meets them with equanimity and a resolve to succeed.
Akinlawon is skilled in deterring, identifying, containing, investigating, and preventing cyber-attacks on the network, endpoints, and the web. He performs comprehensive computer surveillance/monitoring and identifies vulnerabilities and processes to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of agency information resources.
He is also proficient in vulnerability assessment & penetration testing, threat hunting, malware analysis, threat intelligence, email analysis, computer networking, data loss prevention, incident response, and improving soc processes by utilizing top industry security solutions.
Akinlawon Babajide Fayokun, in an exclusive interview with CIOLook, relates a journey of encountering challenges with a firm resolution to succeed.
Being a Self-Starter
“I’m a self-motivated and goal-oriented cyber security expert,” begins Akinlawon, “I started my journey as a cisco network engineer, where I managed a medium-scale network infrastructure.” He continues, “My business leadership skill grew more when I started handling the entire IT infrastructure budget. This was initially difficult because sometimes the management would assign a budget that was hard to adhere to, but it really built my budget management skills.”
Due to the rate of unemployment and the demand for IT skills, Akinlawon created a service named ‘Space Block Technology.’ Here he trained people on IT skills, mentored beginners in cybersecurity & software development, and also offered buying and selling services for computer accessories.
Currently, Akinlawon is working at Boch Systems as a full-time Ethical hacker (Penetration Tester), where he performs authorized security testing on computer systems in order to expose weaknesses.
Challenges as Stepping Stones
Akinlawon says, “By nature, we are all going to face challenges, just that individual challenges might differ from each other. But what kept me going regardless of things I was facing is ‘determination.’”
Even when he was yet to have his own personal laptop, Akinlawon would borrow laptops from his friends to study. Sometimes he would go down to the cybercafé and spend nights there to learn and do his online labs simply because he was so determined.
“Another challenge I encountered was society because we all come from different societies and have different beliefs and cultures. One thing that can affect his or her growth is society, so I make sure I focus on the positive side and see myself beyond my society.”
BOCH Systems West Africa
Founded in 2006, Boch Systems Company Limited (BOCH) is a leading premium provider of business technology integration. Its mission is to provide professional and quality service delivery on information and communication technology that is reliable, timely, and cost-effective; to its esteemed clients through a highly skilled and dedicated workforce, partners, and technology, returning value to its stakeholders.
The business is founded on three core pillars of Trust, Experience, and Dedication. It has four core values: Leadership, Excellence, Proactive, and Passion. Employees are encouraged to share these core values in order to achieve desired levels of business and individual performance.
Leadership: We are committed to being a benchmark and reference point in our operating space.
Excellence: We commit to the highest possible standards of service delivery.
Proactive: We are committed to consciously creating the future we desire for our clients, staff, and all stakeholders.
Passion: We are excited about what we do and the opportunities that abound by leveraging the power of technology
Skills for Impact
Akinlawon uses his skills to leave an impact on this world. He says, “I have used my knowledge and skills of cybersecurity to change people’s lives by training and mentoring the youth on cybersecurity skills, supporting people on various challenges, defending and preventing cyberattacks on enterprises, undertaking vulnerability assessment and penetration testing on government infrastructure, financial/fintech institutes, law firms, etc.”
Akinlawon is also the chapter leader of OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) in his region (Lagos chapter). There he supports and helps software developers in solving security challenges, helps youngsters learn secure coding best practices, and does application vulnerability assessments & penetration testing.
Creating Optimized Solutions
The digital world is now going completely into automation simply because it helps in solving several IT problems and makes work faster. Akinlawon also often uses technological advancements to enhance his cybersecurity solutions.
He says, “Just recently, I found myself in a very large financial institution where I was meant to perform security testing. To not waste time, I developed an automated network IP scan with PowerShell scripts.”
Building a Secure Practice
In Akinlawon’s opinion, no system is 100% secure but cybersecurity regulations should be constantly done to see if the organization is regularly abiding by best practices for security. There should be more focus on the people than the technology because humans often are the weakest link.