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Queensland Airports’ Deen Hoque: Tying Emerging Risk with Security Strategy

Corinium’s APAC Head of Cybersecurity Community Michelle Ribeiro talks to Queensland Airports Cybersecurity Analyst Deen Hoque on building an information security vision

The escalating complexity and frequency of cyberattacks remains one of the most critical issues facing cybersecurity experts. Cybercriminals are constantly evolving their tactics, leveraging advanced techniques such as ransomware, social engineering, and zero-day exploits to breach systems and compromise sensitive data.

This increasing level of sophistication poses a significant threat to individuals, businesses, and even governments worldwide. Organisations must stay one step ahead of these threats and continuously strengthen their security measures to mitigate risks effectively.

Deen Hoque, Cybersecurity Analyst for Queensland Airports, thinks collaboration and information sharing among industry professionals and organisations are vital to address these challenges.

“The cybersecurity community needs to work together to develop and promote best practices, share threat intelligence, and foster a culture of proactive security,” he says.

“Additionally, emerging technologies introduce both opportunities and risks. As organisations adopt technologies like artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing, they must navigate the associated security implications. Ensuring the secure integration and deployment of these technologies is critical to protect against new vulnerabilities and safeguard sensitive data.

“Lastly, user awareness and education play a crucial role in combating cyber threats. Human error remains one of the leading causes of successful cyberattacks. Organisations should invest in comprehensive cybersecurity training programs to educate employees about potential risks, teach best practices for data protection, and foster a cybersecurity-conscious culture.

“Addressing these pressing issues requires a multi-faceted approach that combines robust technical defences, ongoing education and training, collaboration among industry stakeholders, and an emphasis on staying abreast of emerging threats and technologies.

“As a cybersecurity professional, I understand the gravity of these challenges and I am committed to staying informed, continuously developing my skills, and contributing to the efforts aimed at tackling these issues effectively.”

Reinforcing the InfoSec Vision

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, new technologies, vulnerabilities, and attack vectors are constantly emerging. It is therefore crucial for any organisation’s information security strategy to be adaptable and forward-thinking.

“By acknowledging emerging risks, we can proactively identify and respond to potential threats before they exploit vulnerabilities in our systems. Failing to recognise and prepare for these risks can leave an organisation exposed to attacks, data breaches, and significant financial and reputational damage,” Hoque says.

To ensure an effective information security vision, Hoque closely monitors emerging trends and technologies that impact the cybersecurity landscape. This includes staying informed about the latest threat intelligence, industry reports, and security research.

“Understanding emerging risks enables me to assess their potential impact on our organisation’s systems, assets, and data,” he says.

“Moreover, addressing emerging risks requires a proactive and collaborative approach. It is crucial to engage with industry peers, participate in relevant communities, and share knowledge and best practices. By fostering a culture of collaboration and information sharing, we can collectively strengthen our defences against emerging threats.

“As part of my information security vision, I prioritise ongoing education and professional development to keep pace with the rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape. This ensures that I am equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to address emerging risks effectively.

“Ultimately, my information security vision incorporates a proactive mindset that not only focuses on current risks but also considers the potential risks that may arise in the future. By integrating emerging risk management into our security strategies, we can better protect our organisation’s critical assets, maintain the trust of our stakeholders, and stay ahead of potential threats.”

From Developer to InfoSec Strategist

Hoque has always been fascinated by technology and its potential to shape our lives. His educational background includes a degree in e-Technologies, where he gained a solid foundation in various aspects of computing. After completing his degree, he started his career as a web developer, working on e-commerce projects that involved building robust and secure systems.

“During my time as a developer, I became increasingly aware of the growing importance of web and information security,” he says.

“The rise in cyber threats and the potential risks they pose to individuals, organisations, and even national security motivated me to explore this field further. I realised that cybersecurity is not just a reactive measure but a proactive approach to safeguarding critical data and systems.”

“To enhance my knowledge and skills in this area, I pursued additional certifications, courses and attended cybersecurity conferences and workshops. These experiences opened my eyes to the dynamic nature of the field, as well as the constant need to stay updated with the latest security trends and technologies.”

“As I delved deeper into cybersecurity, I discovered a passion for understanding the mindset of threat actors and threat landscape. This fascination helped me to focus on defence in depth cyber security architecture, where I believe I could leverage my knowledge and skills to design and implement a strong cybersecurity framework to help organisations bolster their defences.”

Achievements and Projects

Hoque’s biggest achievements include successfully leading a team to implement a new customer support initiative at his previous company. In his role as a Director of Operations and Technology, he recognised the need for improving their response times and overall customer satisfaction through digital transformation.

“I initiated a project to revamp our customer service processes and implemented a comprehensive training program for the team. We focused on enhancing communication skills, problem-solving techniques, and empathy towards customers. I personally conducted training sessions and provided ongoing support to ensure everyone was equipped with the necessary skills,” he says.

“During the implementation phase, we faced challenges such as resistance to change from some team members and the need to balance daily operations with customer demands. To address these obstacles, I organised regular team meetings to address concerns, provided one-on-one coaching to those who struggled with the changes, and redistributed workloads to ensure smooth operations”.

“The result of our efforts was remarkable. Within three months of implementing the new initiative, our average response time decreased by 40%, and customer satisfaction scores increased by 25%. This positive outcome was not only reflected in our metrics but also in the feedback we received from customers who appreciated our prompt and effective support.”

Hoque has also worked on the development and implementation of a personalised product recommendation engine at an e-commerce company. As an e-commerce manager in the company, he had the opportunity to lead this project, which aimed to enhance the customer shopping experience and drive sales growth.

“The personalised product recommendation engine we built was a sophisticated system that leveraged machine learning algorithms and customer behaviour analysis. The goal was to provide tailored product recommendations to each customer based on their browsing history, purchase patterns, preferences and location. We wanted to create a seamless and personalised shopping journey for every user,” he says.

“In my role, I led a team of developers and collaborated closely with the engineering and UX/UI design teams.

“One of the significant challenges we faced was the complexity of processing and analysing data in real-time. We employed scalable cloud infrastructure and optimised algorithms to ensure efficient and accurate recommendations, even during peak traffic periods.”

“After several months of rigorous development, we successfully deployed the personalised recommendation engine on the company’s website. The results were remarkable. We observed an increase in click-through rates and a boost in conversion rates. Customer feedback indicated high satisfaction with the personalised recommendations, which led to increased engagement and repeat purchases.”

“This project was not only technologically challenging but also required effective collaboration and communication across teams. It allowed me to utilise my knowledge and expertise in the development and implementation process. I worked closely with the engineering team to ensure seamless integration and optimal performance of the recommendation engine.”

“I continue to apply the knowledge and skills I gained from this project in my current role, seeking innovative ways to enhance capabilities and drive business through demand-driven strategies.”

Hoque will be delivering a presentation at the upcoming CISO Brisbane 2023 Conference, taking place on 29 & 30 August at Hilton Hotel Brisbane.

Covering the topic ‘Sharpening standards and compliance practices’, Hoque will explore the ever-increasing complexity of threats and the need for organisations to establish robust security frameworks. His talk will address the crucial aspect of aligning security practices with industry standards and regulatory requirements.

“In today’s evolving threat landscape, cybersecurity standards and compliance serve as vital tools for organisations to protect their systems, data, and stakeholders. Adhering to recognized standards helps establish a strong foundation for cybersecurity, ensuring consistent security controls, risk management, and incident response,” Hoque says.

Deen Hoque will be speaking at the CISO Brisbane 2023 Conference, taking place on 29 & 30 August at Hilton Hotel Brisbane. Register to attend by clicking here!