27 August, 2019
People of Scale: Stoyan Iliev on Security and Pasta

“My job is unpredictable and diverse and that is what I love about it. Everything about the job is specific, challenging, always changing. People in security are always in the business of ‘catching up’ because we are the protectors, not the offenders. And that is always harder to do.”

Tell us who you are.

My name is Stoyan and I’m a Senior Security Operations Engineer at ScaleFocus. I’ve been at the company for about eight months. Currently, I’m responsible for security research, app integration for clients and the advancement of the internal cybersecurity program of the company. Otherwise – I’m from Gabrovo, originally, but I’ve moved around a lot in my childhood due to being born in a military family.

Why do you like your team at ScaleFocus?

They are nice, adaptive people with great potential for growth. I like the fact that we are always learning things from each other, the knowledge-sharing aspect is strong in the team and there is always something to ‘steal’ from each other as far as experience goes.

What do you like about your job?

My job is unpredictable, challenging and diverse and that is what I love about it. It’s also not for everyone and even though it’s trendy right now to go into IT security, people often make the mistake to choose it only because of that.

Truth is, you need to understand the essence of technology. Everything about the job is specific, challenging, always changing. People in security are always in the business of ‘catching up’ because we are the protectors, not the offenders. And that is always harder to do.

Share with us the greatest challenge in your work.

To always see the danger and even try to be one step ahead of it. As a team, we are always striving to build visibility, security, and reliability, to protect and offer different intelligent solutions for dangers.

Each project I’ve worked on has given me something special but people should know it’s important to always have an interest in what you do and manage to find inspiration. Otherwise, it’s not worth it to do it at all.

How did you get to where you are now?

I’ve been working since I was 14 years old and I have a background in computer support, IT security consulting, I have experience with consulting  European agencies on cybercrimes, etc. I’m always trying to improve myself and learn.

It’s important for every company to have departments and people like us because somebody must think about the way the risk happens.

Risk isn’t just a document with calculations, percentage, bills, and insurance. It’s something fluid and flexibility is key.

We, as professionals, try to help the business understand our position better as well. We believe – strictly professionally – that specialists like us need to be better understood globally. But that is a process that is happening. At ScaleFocus, we did Cyber Security Academy – courses for people who need to understand the field before entering it. We tried to give understanding and basic knowledge about what it’s like to be a security engineer and we are planning to do more trainings like this in the future.

What would you advise someone, who is now entering your field?

To know that it’s a long road and not be motivated by salary only. This is a job that needs to be done with passion or not at all. Everyone who starts in it needs to understand that the experience is built slowly.

It’s also important to have a more global view of the IT sector, know various technologies as well.

To work in IT security, the mindset has to be constantly fixed on evolving.

And it’s crucial to never lose yourself in all details. They have to be looked at, but never too deeply because you can really lose perspective. I would also advise them to always be objective – in this job, there are situations in which you can make the best decisions only if you remove emotion.

What are the most current technologies you are working with now?

A lot, but here are some of them – SIEM, DLP, NGAV, WAF, DDoS, MDM, NGFW, IPS/IDS, also encryption technology. All of them have their challenges and need to be understood and integrated the right way.

What excites you right now – personally and professionally?

After moving back to Bulgaria (I’ve been living in Spain for a long time), I decided to spend more time on my personal life and hobbies. I love photography and making videos, editing them. I make short films – mostly on motivation. This is something I’m really passionate about. Among my other hobbies is cooking – my favorite is pasta. I have two cats and I met a great girl, who I will soon marry.

At ScaleFocus, I’m excited about the freedom to learn and evolve. There is always а way to upgrade. I like the diversity of the work, the openness of the people and the huge potential.

If you need to leave us with final words of advice, what would they be?

To always try to find the core of the problem and start solving it from there.

Do you want more People of Scale? Read the interview of Tushka Dermenzhieva.

If you want to work, grow with and learn from Stoyan and other inspiring people like him, check out ScaleFocus’ current openings.