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Kelly Sheridan
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10 More Women in Security You May Not Know But Should

The second installment in a series highlighting women who are driving change in cybersecurity but may not be on your radar - yet.
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Caitie McCaffrey

Principal Software Engineering Lead, Azure Sphere, Microsoft

Caitie McCaffrey is the architect and lead for Microsoft's Azure Sphere Security Services, which protect Azure Sphere devices by identifying emerging threats, pushing software updates, and building trust between the device, the cloud, and other endpoints. Her team focuses on the end-to-end Azure experience, most recently on shipping developer kits for Azure Sphere, she says.

Prior to joining the Azure team, McCaffrey was tech lead and staff software engineer for Twitter's Observability team, which provides libraries and services to the internal engineers who monitor service health, issue alerts, and support root-cause investigation. There, she worked on replicating data from external zones to data centers, improving alert reduction and reliability, and rewriting portions of the metric ingestion service to be more reliable.

Video games were McCaffrey's gateway into infosec: As a software development engineer for Microsoft Game Studios and 343 Industries, she worked on cheat detection in Gears of War 2 and wrote the cheating and banning service for "Halo 4." She has credits on several video games, including "Gears of War" (2 and 3), and "Halo" (4 and 5). At HBO, she redesigned and rewrote the HBO Go catalog service to be scalable, cloud-based, and fault tolerant.

McCaffrey's transition into cybersecurity "was a little less deliberate," she explains, as most of her career has been spent building large-scale distributed systems. "I always found security at the forefront of protecting people's privacy and protecting our data."

As for the switch from gaming into security, it turns out there's more overlap between the two sectors than you might think. "People really want to hack video games," she adds.

Much of her work in gaming focused on understanding system requirements and detecting and banning cheats. Like many security pros, McCaffrey had to understand how systems worked so she could better protect them. Building, working with, and securing gaming services from cheaters "is really interesting" and helped her segue into her most recent role with Azure Sphere. There, she enjoys taking deep dives into hardware security of Azure chips and their silicon IT.

From the outside, she says, many people think cybersecurity is nebulous and scary because people don't know how it works. While many consider engineering and security as two separate roles, she thinks there will be more overlap as engineers "level up" their security skills. They'll have to, after all, as they gain responsibility to secure people's data.

"Like any other piece of technology, [security] is approachable and learnable," she explains. "It's about finding the right resources and folks to help you thrive."

McCaffrey looks forward to learning and growing in the security space and making a positive impact through Azure Sphere, which she considers "securing the next step in the digital process." In a future when compute is all around us, she hopes to provide a secure platform people can trust.

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User Rank: Strategist
8/7/2018 | 4:42:15 AM
Jamie Tomasello
I don't know that in this sphere are working pretty girls, like this. This article is very interesting for me. Jamie Tomasello has interesting experience and give me good advices in my work!
User Rank: Strategist
8/17/2018 | 11:13:01 AM
I have worked with and reported to female coworkers and leaders. The leaders in this article seem to have a common trait of being extroverts, no difference in comparison to their male counterparts. However, a lot of unsung female heros are not extroverts and work diligiently with their team members and customers. They do not want publicity. To me, they are also leaders...

User Rank: Apprentice
10/21/2018 | 7:46:18 AM
Re: Jamie Tomasello
i agree
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