An Interview with Irina Nesterovsky, Chief Research office at KELA

In our next interview within our wonderful women in tech series, we are interviewing Irina Nesterovsky and discussing her journey within Cyber Security and her role at KELA as Chief Research Officer.

KELA is an industry-leading cyber security intelligence platform which gives you unrivalled visibility into cybercrime and threats against your organisation.

Interviewer: Could you give us a bit of information about your background and how you ended up in cybersecurity?

Irina: I have been with KELA for 7 years which is a long time! I grew up in the ranks from analyst to team leader to where I am today. The way I got here is not a traditional way, anywhere other than in Israel. In Israel, there is mandatory service in place, so my way into tech and cybersecurity began in the army in the 8200 units, this is where I got my intelligence training.

After doing a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in unrelated things I realized I wanted to work within KELA and the move to cybersecurity was organic to me. I learned everything on the go, as I was a replacement for someone on maternity, and that’s what led me to today, heading out Cybercrime Intelligence Centre (which is comprised of 99% women today)

Interviewer: Did you know what are within the Army you wanted to be a part of?

Irina: I personally didn’t. You get invited to different sorts of tests about your capabilities and based on that and other criteria you got posted. I would say most people today will know where they want to go.

Interviewer: So, you went straight into the army and into intelligence. What did that look like for you as a woman? And what are you learning each day?

Irina: It was interesting, as you must learn to discern the important from the not-so-important! You also learn lots of confidential things. It ends up as your day-to-day work, researching and writing for example. The army part kicks in with the uniform, having chores, and being unable to go home.

As soon as I was discharged, I went to study brain science at Tel Aviv University because it sounded interesting. It wasn’t intelligence, but I wanted to try something else. Eventually, however, intelligence sucked me right back in. Just kidding! That is where I felt I should be.

Interviewer: In the UK there isn’t really an emphasis on cybersecurity or intelligence or getting girls into tech. I feel it is really refreshing to talk to you and find out that most of your peers in the Army were women. Do you feel like the industry is more spoken about where you have been brought up?

Irina: Even though I spoke about most of my team being Women, there are still some roles that are very male-dominated such as software engineering. There is just not enough encouragement for girls within this sector.

Interviewer: Role models to look up to play a big part in what career children may go down. If you don’t see someone who looks like you in that job role you may not apply for it!

What do you think is exciting within cybersecurity?

Irina: It is an industry that is changing so much, but that is what makes it exciting. It is a wide industry with lots of options to explore. You can also take your experience with you into different sectors.

Our goal is to make things better and protect organizations. If someone is looking for a meaningful role, then this is it.

Interviewer: It is also not an industry that is going away, right? Do you know how we could get people to be more engaged?


Thank you, Irina, for a wonderful interview! You can discover the full interview over on our website: Influential Women in Tech Special | Irina Nesterovsky from KEla

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