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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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Jennifer Ayers

Vice President, Overwatch and Security Response Team, CrowdStrike

Threat hunting rooting out and finding malicious activity and attackers on a network is all the rage these days, as organizations gradually move from reactive to more proactive defenses against cyberthreats. Heading up one of the industry's most prestigious threat-hunting teams today is Jennifer Ayers, vice president of CrowdStrike's Overwatch and security response operation.

CrowdStrike has been called into investigations and cleanup of such high-profile breaches as Sony Pictures in 2014 and the Democratic National Committee's infiltration by Russian nation-state hackers during the 2016 election.

"Under her leadership, the [Overwatch] team stopped over 25,000 breaches in 2017 alone and engages in hand-to-hand cybercombat and defeats sophisticated adversaries on a daily basis," says Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and CTO of CrowdStrike. "Jennifer is a superb and inspirational leader that has the trust and respect of her amazing people, and I am very lucky to have her on my executive team."

Ayers says she likes that the threat-hunting work her team does helps shape the makeup of CrowdStrike's Falcon endpoint security product. "You're able to use your skills and expertise to influence the product ... We use Falcon 100%" of the time in threat-hunting work, she says.

Ayers says her own threat-hunting skills make it easier for her to hire and properly deploy members of the Overwatch team. "Being able to hire the right people, influence people in my organization, and put them in the right place where they are happiest and best utilizing their skills that would not be possible if I didn't know what they were doing. My technical background allows me to pick the right people," she says.

Ayers began her career as an IT specialist for the US Air Force. "When I was deployed, I had to set up computer networks in those deployed regions. That's how I learned about security," she says.

Ayers later joined General Electric's network and security operations, and ultimately ending up in incident response as global and network operations leader for GE Healthcare. She later joined Mandiant, where she built out its first managed incident response services team.

Three years later, she joined CrowdStrike, first as director of product management and later moving to her threat-hunting role at the company.

For fun, Ayers plays Xbox, where she's a major follower of online role-playing game "Elder Scrolls." "I'm a gamer," she says. "I look forward to their downloadable content every few months."

She's also a vegetable gardener who cans her tomatoes and gifts friends with her homemade salsa. "I have a green thumb that I had no idea I had," she says.

---By Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor, Dark Reading

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