I love SAP because there is so much opportunity to grow and expand your career.
Kelly Sharadin is an Incident Response Analyst based in Newtown Square (NSQ) Pennsylvania and joined SAP in 2020. In her words: In my past life, I was an extreme metal vocalist and performed with bands from all over the world.
I belonged to a tight-knit local metal scene which is comprised of bands from Philadelphia, Delaware, New Jersey and New York. Our community is recognized worldwide by the“heavy metal” community. I played several local festivals with well-known extreme metal acts coming from Canada (Cryptopsy), Tasmania (Psycroptic), Mexico (Disgorge), Germany (Stillbirth) and Sweden (Soreption). I also had the pleasure of meeting many state-wide bands as well during my time playing shows.
So how do you go from extreme metal music to cybersecurity incident response at SAP?
My journey to SAP took many turns before joining the NSQ Incident Response team. In 2016, almost a decade into my video production career, I decided it was time to find a new path. It was clear that this next chapter would require going back to school to obtain my undergraduate degree. It was vital for me to pursue a discipline to expand my analytical and investigative skill sets. I enrolled at Portland State University's Criminal Justice program. During the day, I worked in video production for Temple University's Business School and studied criminology in the evenings. I remember scheduling my vacation hours to take on an internship with an intelligence agency in South Philadelphia. My internship experience at the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center exposed me to open-source intelligence and the evolving cybercrime landscape. At the end of my internship, I began to focus on cyber opportunities in the private sector. Technology has remained constant throughout my professional and academic journey from video production to criminal justice. Cybersecurity is the ideal intersection of technology and criminology. I am excited to grow and develop in my cybersecurity career with SAP.
Before this role, I was familiar with SAP as a massive global software enterprise. Still, it was a former colleague who made SAP attractive by inviting me to Thanksgiving dinner, where I met both her husband and a married couple who had worked with SAP for over a decade. They talked about all the travel opportunities throughout dinner and planted the seed for me to consider a career at SAP.
During my job search, workplace culture was the most important to me. Before SAP, I never considered a Security Operations Center position because SOC’s often carry a reputation of being stressful - working around the clock to thwart cyber-attacks. I’m glad I applied. My then hiring manager, co-workers, and the recruiter at SAP immediately won me over. It was the best interview experience; this erased any of my concerns about work-life balance in this type of role. As a member of the gay community, I was immediately surprised to learn that SAP offers various Pride-based groups to join that connect you with different people throughout the organization. I have never felt so supported and protected to be myself in the workplace.
Six months into this position, it has been an excellent “fit”. I often make a point to let everyone know how much I appreciate working with them. I have never been a part of a team where I have shared so many professional and personal interests. I get to have a lot of exciting conversations. I appreciate my team because everyone has a great sense of humour, which is important during stressful times as it brings things back into perspective and keeps the team in good morale. Lastly, they have become people that I trust, which also leads to great collaboration.
It's this trust and collaboration that came to mind when I nominated Jaspreet when asked for an example of how we build breakthroughs together.
Working with Jaspreet
In 2020 Jaspreet and I worked closely together on a high-profile cybersecurity project Working remotely, and gathering a global team poses many challenges, but the trust was soon built as Jaspreet was very thorough and dealt with complex situations well. I am based in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, and Jaspreet is in Germany. Passing on information and tasks between time zones requires clear, effective and timely communication and the two of us worked well together.
This project also shaped future incident response processes as we openly discussed what went well and what could be improved upon.
My Personal Interests
When I am not working for SAP, I am an avid hiker. I try to spend as much time away from the computer as I do in front of it.
I love working in incident response – however, if I could do anything, it would be to open a community art center. My goal, eventually, is to do so. I think everyone deserves the opportunity to learn how to express themselves through the arts.
Kelly and Jaspreet first met when working together on a high-profile project in 2020. Both were new to SAP, with Jaspreet only recently finishing her onboarding. With Kelly leading from the US, and Jaspreet working in Germany, the two soon built a relationship of trust to execute tasks quickly across time-zones.
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