WONDER WOMAN IN CYBER
Margot Kimura is a security and product strategist, specializing in data-driven decision-making, and developing practical and holistic solutions that balance technical, human, business, research, operations, and legal/policy needs.
She earned BS and MS degrees from Caltech and UCSB with a focus on Robotics, Controls, and Dynamical Systems; for her PhD, she moved into Computational Science & Engineering, with her dissertation on information-optimal group decision-making. In previous roles, Margot led many multidisciplinary teams to research and develop a variety of national & cyber security products for the US federal government, helped launch a data startup as its Lead for Business Development and Data Science, actually read the entire text of GDPR, taught data analysis and programming to engineering students, and self-funded the majority of her research and education through grants, scholarships, and fellowships.
Margot currently works as a Senior Product Manager in Trust & Security at LinkedIn, and is also is the fundraising Treasurer for WiCyS Silicon Valley.
Why did you get into cybersecurity?
Some women dream about a job in cyber; I just so happened to have graduated into a time and place where most of the companies interested in me were defense-related, and the security research role I accepted was the most interesting option I found at the time. I stayed in cybersecurity because I like how it's mission-oriented, ever-evolving, and a creative mix of data, technology, and human quirkiness.
What cybersecurity issue is monopolizing most of your time or are you most concerned about?
From what I've seen so far, a lot of technical issues can be boiled down to human issues at their core. So, while I do spent a fair amount of time on technical details, a lot of what I think about on a day-to-day basis centers around incentives, the meaning of value, and how to detect / measure things that I don't have direct visibility into.
Margot's Cybersecurity Tip
I've seen a lot of businesses ask me for information that they don't strictly need. Remember: just because they ask for your information, doesn't mean that you need to give it to them. The next time a business requests your date/place of birth, driver's license, or social security number, ask yourself if they really need that information before handing it over. Sometimes they do, but you might be surprised at how often they don't: try leaving it blank and see if they say anything. It's always ok to ask why they need a certain piece of information and to make your own decision on whether or not to give it to them or to offer an appropriate proxy (e.g., approximate age instead of birth date) instead.