Women in Information Security: Leila Powell

Women in Information Security…I got to speak with Leila Powell. Her background in astrophysics taught her how to manage data to better understand the effectiveness of security controls.

Kim Crawley: Hi, Leila! Please tell me about your position and what led you to it?

Leila Powell: I’m a security data scientist at Panaseer, a London-based startup. The Panaseer platform gives teams continuous, automated insight into the effectiveness of their security controls and helps them improve their cyber hygiene. As a data scientist, I essentially follow the data as it flows through our platform and am therefore involved in everything from understanding how to derive value from our datasets, modelling the data, writing product analysis code to provide insight to our users, determining what information we should show in our dashboards, and helping inform what functionality our users need to get the most value from the insight we provide. I even get involved in user testing! It’s a very varied role, and I love the fact that I’ve learned a lot about building a product rather than being restricted to a purely research-type role.

My background is in astrophysics. I did my Ph.D. then two post-doctorates focused on using supercomputers to model the formation of galaxies and galaxy clusters. After eight years, I decided I wanted a change of pace and wanted to work on something with a direct real-world impact. I started to look for data science jobs. A few of my former colleagues had gone down this route, and it seemed to align well with my existing skill set. While focusing my job search on UK startups, I saw a job advertisement for Panaseer and (Read more…)