E9 - Michael Worlund at Palo Alto Networks12 July, 2023
On today’s episode of our Security Vendor spin-off series, we were joined by our host Harry Bailey and Michael Worlund, the Senior Manager at Palo Alto Networks. Michael has over 20 years of global expertise spanning multiple areas which he talks us through during this episode. He walks us through where he started and his natural progression through the ranks and the 3 core things that helped him get to where he is today.
Michael’s journey to where he is today is built from 3 core areas, his network, personal reinvention, and endless learning. From the very beginning of his career, he understood the importance of building a strong network. Before LinkedIn, he relied on phone calls, emails, and face-to-face meetings to build and maintain his professional network. This has allowed him to gain access to new opportunities and build relationships that have helped him to grow both professionally and personally.
He has always sought out new experiences that would help him to develop his skills and expand his knowledge, which has allowed him to remain at the forefront of his field. By embracing change and being adaptable, Michael has been able to reinvent himself and stay ahead of the curve.
Michael emphasised the importance of constant learning in his career. The cybersecurity industry is constantly evolving, and it’s crucial to stay up to date with the latest industry trends and developments.
Michael Worlund’s journey in the world of cybersecurity began in electrical engineering. At a time when computer science was in its infancy, he was drawn to the field and quickly honed his skills, eventually landing a position in the US Navy where he worked on his first computer. This experience opened up new opportunities for Michael, including a role at Shell Oil in their data centre.
Michael’s career continued to evolve, and he moved to Intel where he worked with Cisco. It was during this time that Michael felt the urge for personal reinvention. He loved the technical side of his work, but he was missing the customer interaction that he craved. He saw an opportunity to combine his technical expertise with customer engagement when he joined Cisco, where he was able to work with clients and provide them with technical solutions.
Since then, Michael has taken on multiple roles in various companies, including his current position as the Senior Manager at Palo Alto Networks. He now leads a consulting engineering organisation and continues to be at the forefront of the cybersecurity industry.
Easier or harder to get into cybersecurity now?
Today there are numerous pathways to enter the industry, including telecommunications, master’s degrees, cybersecurity-focused PhD programs, and more. The diversity of these paths has created a wealth of opportunities for individuals looking to break into the field.
Michael believes that the growth of the cybersecurity industry has been driven by the increasing importance of cybersecurity in our digital world. Companies and organisations recognise the need for individuals with the skills and expertise to protect their networks and systems from threats and attacks, and this has created a demand for talented cybersecurity professionals.
Michael encourages individuals to learn as much as they can about the various roles within the industry. There is a significant difference between roles, and it’s important to have a good understanding of what each one entails before making a decision on which one to pursue.
Michael also emphasises the importance of finding a mentor. “If I was to look back and talk about regrets, that would be one”. Although he never had a direct mentor, he recognises the value that a mentor can bring, particularly in helping individuals navigate the noise of the industry.
Tune in to the full episode on the 21/02/2023!