“Connect the Dots”: From Chemical Engineering to Industrial Cybersecurity

Version française : « Connect the dots » : Du Genie Chimique a la Cyber Securite Industrielle – Club France International

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.

Steve Jobs, 2005 Stanford University Commencement Address

Connecting the dots

A career path may sometimes surprise with its unexpected turns, but upon closer inspection, these seemingly divergent paths weave together into a coherent pattern.

This notion resonates with the “connect the dots” concept mentioned by Steve Jobs, demonstrating how his varied experiences, though initially disparate, actually aligned with a shared vision that led to success.

Every step falls into place within a cohesive whole, unveiling a purposeful strategy directed towards a well-conceived goal.

From Chemical Engineering to Cybersecurity

With a degree in chemical engineering from ENSIC France, I began my career deep within the chemical sector at Arkema Shanghai, China, and the nuclear field at Areva Tricastin, France – realms as intriguing as they are demanding, where radioactive material exists in solid, liquid, and gaseous states. My friends used to jokingly advise me to wear “lead underwear.”

Moving up the supply chain, I took on the role of industrial risk manager at Areva’s mining branch (now Orano). The precision required in uranium enrichment facilities honed my methodical approach and attention to detail, skills that became vital when I was tasked with orchestrating and testing crisis management plans at international uranium mines in locations like Kazakhstan, Canada, Mongolia, and France.

The fall in uranium prices and an uncertain future for the French nuclear industry led me to project engineering for oil megaprojects, including Technip’s Shell Prelude project, which quickly brought me to South Korea and then to Australia.

It was there that I recognized the significance of a data-centric approach, envisaging a future where engineers could be freed from repetitive tasks to focus on innovation and creativity, with technology addressing the low-value tasks that currently require large teams.

In pursuing this “data-centric approach,” I developed skills in cloud computing, networking, and Linux systems, innovating with specific applications for the petroleum sector. These skills, seemingly distant from my nuclear engineering beginnings, in fact paved the way to fulfill a longstanding dream: entering the field of cybersecurity.

This dream, planted during my chemical engineering student years, seemed distant but, over time, each experience and project was a step toward its realization. Now, the cumulative skills I’ve honed converge towards one goal: to meet the growing demand for cybersecurity in critical industrial infrastructures.

Why Cyber Node?

In an era where optimization and information availability have become critical, we have witnessed an unprecedented digital transformation. Systems and processes that once operated independently are now interconnected and remotely accessible, creating a new vulnerability: cyber-attacks. This progress, as beneficial as it is, compels industries to reconsider cybersecurity, now a pervasive item on the list of potential risks.

In Australia and beyond, the demand for cybersecurity experts has surged, particularly in the industrial sector where specialized skills are acutely lacking. Cyber Node stands as a pioneer, one of the few companies specializing in penetration testing tailored for industrial environments. Our expertise extends beyond IT security; we have an in-depth understanding of industrial systems and processes, as well as the hazards associated with incidents involving chemical or radioactive substances.

Cyber Node meets this critical demand by combining cutting-edge technical skills with a nuanced understanding of industry-specific risks, ensuring robust protection against threats to the vital infrastructure of our times.


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