Debra Baker: A Profound Leader Ensuring the Security of Your Critical Resources

Debra Baker, Sr. Technical Program Manager at RedSeal, Inc.
Debra Baker, Sr. Technical Program Manager, RedSeal, Inc.

The web of cybersecurity has become widespread globally, but it still has its flaws, making it vulnerable to numerous threats. However, cybersecurity professionals are consistently upping the game and innovating new ways to eliminate these threats while also providing transparency across the services. One such professional we, at CIO Look, came across is Debra Baker, Sr. Technical Program Manager at RedSeal.

Playing a Significant Role

In her role, Debra helps her clients use and adopt RedSeal products and services to impro ve their cybersecurity posture by providing cyber visibility, compliance, and risk management. In addition, she also manages product-related governance such as FIPS 140 and Common Criteria by coordinating with third-party vendors and engineering. She also is responsible for managing the SOC2 and FedRAMP certifications for RedSeal’s Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) product Stratus. RedSeal Stratus enables organizations to understand and secure their cloud and hybrid cloud environments.

One of Debra’s roles is to manage large-scale enterprise-wide RedSeal deployments providing infrastructure visibility, awareness, and security of hybrid networks, including on-premises, cloud, and hybrid cloud. She is also the creator and leads a Cyber Protection Team at RedSeal that reviews the latest threats and vulnerabilities and writes threat solution briefs guiding how to use RedSeal to defend from the latest threats.

Tackling the Problems

One of the biggest challenges Debra faces is getting cross-department collaboration at customer sites, where she has to work with customer teams on integrating RedSeal into the customer’s business processes. She states that to truly have a successful Risk Management program, the networking (on-premises and cloud), security, vulnerability management, and compliance teams must work together. One needs to have collaboration between technical teams and leadership to be cyber resilient.

Impactful Influence

Debra says, “Leaders need to be prepared to hear the good and the bad. Having a manager that says you can be yourself, with both the positive ideas you have and the complaints you have, is empowering. Giving this freedom of thought and inclusivity leads to innovation. Now you feel confident in sharing ideas that you may not have in a stifling environment.” That said, she mentions that leaders named Ramesh Kaza at RedSeal, Ashit Vora at Cisco, and Kristina Rogers at Entrust have always supported, challenged, and allowed her to express her ideas.

Besides, the book series Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman has opened Debr a’s e yes to the extent a manager–whether good or bad–can have on a person’s career and even home life. In her opinion, this book is a handbook for what makes a manager good and bad.

Primal Leadership makes it clear that “Leaders who spread bad moods are simply bad for business—and those who pass along good moods help drive a business’s success.”

According to Debra, the book Find Your Why by Simon Sinek brings together work and passions relating to one’s job. Her “WHY” is that everyone deserves to have privacy while online. Knowing that she works in cybersecurity and helps companies secure their networks and data through good cyber hygiene, segmentation, and strong encryption keeps Debra passionate about her job.

Debra says, “It’s great to work in a field where I am helping businesses secure their networks. Through the Crypto Done Right non-profit I founded in collaboration with Cisco and Johns Hopkins, I provide cryptographic guidance in easy-to understand language of what encryption algorithms and ciphers are recommended for non-cryptographers.” She adds, “Never let a bad manager bring you down.

Learning how not to let detractors negatively affect you is paramount as you navigate your career. There is always something better just around the corner. Take those situations and learn from them and move on.”

Impact of Positive Work Culture

Debra is totally in for a positive work environment. In her opinion, everyone has to be authentic but with a positive slant. She is a glass-half-full kind of a person who tries to see the positive in every situation even when she gets bogged down. She ensures that each person has a chance to express themselves without retaliation and in a respectful way.

Debra thinks that employees should be able to openly express their ideas even when they go against the status quo. There should not be a fear of retaliation. It’s the “yes” culture that leads to conformity and stops innovation and new ideas. Management has to be open to hearing the good and the bad and not taking it personally, but instead taking that information and learning from it.

Offering to the Community

When Debra was asked to co-found the League of Women in Cybersecurity, she jumped at the chance to train women in Cybersecurity. It was great for her being able to give back and train other women from what she has learned in cybersecurity. One woman who was inspired by Debra, got her Master’s in Cybersecurity and got a job at AWS. It makes Debra happy when someone she helped along the way is so successful. League of Women also helped women navigate how to move into the cybersecurity field.

At RedSeal, the CEO, Bryan Barney, is all about promoting equal rights for all and respecting people of different backgrounds. One of his first initiatives was to set up a Diversity and Inclusion Council to ensure everyone at RedSeal is heard no matter what position, gender, race, or sexual orientation.

What Comes Next?

Debra’s vision for RedSeal is to push forward the company to become cloud-centric. RedSeal Stratus is a Cloud Security Posture Management SaaS platform launched in August 2021. Many companies are moving their data centers to the cloud. In addition, RedSeal’s advanced cybersecurity analysis capabilities and name recognition is known in the commercial space as well as it is in the Federal space. RedSeal is the best-kept secret securing well-known companies, as well as military and federal agencies.

Debra recently created a Common Criteria for Developers Learning Path for Infosec Institute. If you are responsible for an upcoming Common Criteria Evaluation, are a developer having to make software updates to ensure your product is Common Criteria compliant, or are a new employee at an evaluation lab, then this learning path is for you.

She is also writing a book titled a CISO’s Guide to Cyber Resilience. It’s a handbook for a CISO to know what steps to take to secure their company’s network and to recover from an attack.

Bequeathing Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Debra believes that every woman-owned business can apply for government contracts since women are minorities. She says, “There are great women-based networking opportunities at the Grace Hopper Conference, which is the largest women’s conference in the world. Every company that you can think of is represented there.” “For women moving into information technology, Cybersecurity, and programming, Grace Hopper is a great place to find a job. Also, the Women in Cybersecurity annual conference is not only a great place to find women to hire, but also network and advance in the cybersecurity field,” concludes Debra.