Advice from an alumnus: How the CISA Training helped me edge ahead?

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Mohamed Maalaoui

Published on November 12, 2015


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In the quest to combat data theft and become a more-rounded IT Project Director, Mohamed Maalaoui found exactly what he needed with a CISA Certification.
 

Having worked in the IT sector for over 13 years, Mohamed knew the importance of securing information and what it meant to get hacked – everything gone in minutes – all the important documents, all confidential information, projects with thousands of man-hours and millions of dollars ruined in the blink of an eye. In the wrong hands, and in the worst cases, it could mean the collapse of a company.

With the emergence of new technologies, a social-media savvy populace, and a staggering amount of information being generated and shared every minute, it was becoming a lot more challenging to counter these evils effectively. Like much of senior management in the IT industry, Mohamed was on the frontlines of the silent cyber-security war waging the world over.

The problem was a simple one – the increasing complexity of projects in IT had made it impossible for project teams to combat security threats without incurring significant overruns. In addition, given the vast arsenal of attacks available to cyber terrorists, domain knowledge was almost a must-have. Better a trained IT Security expert handling projects than a Project Manager with IT Security knowledge!

Eventually, Mohamed settled on a CISA certification from Simplilearn. Given his experience working with information technology infrastructure, a CISA certification offered the perfect mix of IS audit control and security training. And with the freedom to attend live classroom training at convenient time-slots, being based out of Tunisia was no longer a hindrance to continuing education from global mentors!

Today, CISA certified, Mohamed shares his experience with us.

1. What sparked your interest in IT Security?

Nothing in particular. But when you’re part of the IT industry and are responsible for multiple projects at a time, you’re inevitably dragged into fire-fighting security issues one at least a handful. I have an insider’s perspective on everything that happens in the industry.

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With the advent of IoT, it is going to be extremely easy for hackers to get access to everything they want.

The rise of Big Data has also posed a few unique challenges – How do you effectively implement Big Data solutions without amplifying the security risks associated with voluminous data flows? Wireless data transfer and connectivity has only made the problem worse.

I realized I would need rigorous training in the principles of information security management to be able to tackle these and other challenges. For a year, I toyed with the idea of getting a security certification, and finally settled on a CISA earlier this year.

2. What is your current role?

I am currently working with BIAT as ‘Project Director’. I have also worked as a senior IT consultant at Vermeg, and as an IT program management officer at HR Access Solutions.

My current role involves Information System Audits where I am the POC for audit support coordination of Internal and External Audits. I need to work closely with the auditors and technical subject matter experts to satisfy any internal and external audit requirements.

3. How Did You Come Across Simplilearn?

While exploring CISA offerings over the web, I landed on ISACA’s website. The guidelines there were useful and comprehensive. I decided I would sign-up only for a course that carried accreditation from ISACA. A lot of the courses I came across, however, only offered physical classroom training, online study material, or online training at hours well-suited to US learners – given my hectic schedule, I couldn’t afford to stay up all night studying!

I’m not sure how I came upon Simplilearn’s website, but I do remember choosing your course because of the convenient timings on offer. I could pay once and attend multiple batches at different times of day, so I was able to attend training from Tunisia – at civilized hours!

4. How did the CISA certification help?

By itself, the certification was a stamp of approval and validation of my security knowledge, which carries a lot of weight at this level. The training also exposed me to global standards and a network of IT security professionals from around the world. I was able to adapt some of this knowhow to the unique requirements of our projects.

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5. Is There Anything You Would Like To Say To Those Who May Wish To Follow In Your Footsteps?

People say there is nothing that can stop information theft in the future. I am not so sure about that! I think we all need to wake up and find ways to combat the problem. It isn’t easy, but it isn’t hard either.

I found my solution. You can find yours, too!

About the Author

A certified CISA, the author has a master’s degree in industrial engineering, and holds certifications in PMP, SSGB, ITIL, SFC, and CISA. With 13+ years in the IT industry, he is currently working as a Project Director at Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie (BIAT).


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