When Mika Stahlberg is looking for new cyber security talent, he has to think about the future.
“About 15 years ago the kinds of threats we are protecting our customers from today were discussed, but they felt more like science fiction – possible, but something in the distant future,” says F-Secure’s Vice President of Vice Detection & Response. “In cyber security the ‘change happens slowly at first and then suddenly’ axiom has certainly happened and today everyone understands the need to protect themselves against cyber threats.”
And he doesn’t expect the next 15 years to be much different.
“The threats have been getting worse all the time. I don’t think there is a change to this trend in the horizon. So, I expect that in 2035 we may again look back at 2020 and think of how simple things were back then.”
Still, the challenges those who fight online crime continually face haven’t made Mika a pessimist about the cyber security industry, even in the face of a pandemic.
“This industry provides a constant possibility and even a need to learn new things – and F-Secure is a fantastic place to do just that.”
Can we accomplish something together?
Part of Mika’s job is to find the talent that helps companies fill their security holes with F-Secure’s wide portfolio of cyber security software, managed services, and top-notch security consultancy. To do this he looks beyond just a solid background in infosec.
“When it comes to technical skills, I believe we at F-Secure can coach our new Fellows to do their daily work, so the most important thing to me is to see that the candidate has the ability to learn new things, understand complex systems, and to see things through.”
For Mika, a good job interview should not feel like a job interview.
“I try to make each interview a two-way discussion: almost like our first meeting and see if we can accomplish something together,” he said. “It’s very important to me that both the interviewer and the candidate feel that it was, in a way, a productive meeting.”
These days these meetings all happen through the internet, as does almost every step of the hiring process.
“I just made an offer to a candidate yesterday and we do have positions actively open,” he said. “COVID-19 means all interviews are remote and onboarding is remote as well. Almost everything can be done in the virtual world. I onboarded a new Fellow two weeks ago and it’s gone relatively well.”
An open culture
Though F-Secure is now five times the size it was when Mika first joined, the people of the company are still his favorite part of the job. And having risen through the ranks himself, Mika knows the experts he recruits will have opportunities that will extend out into their careers.
“F-Secure has a very long history in the industry,” he said. “We have been evolving since 1988 and will keep on evolving. We provide a lot of opportunities for cyber security-minded Fellows to learn new things within the company.”
Perhaps, the most important thing new Fellows can master is the confidence to both speak up and listen to some of the brightest minds in the industry.
“I love working with people who are passionate about what they do and are world-class professionals at their job. The culture at F-Secure is very open and hence I get to have discussions with a lot of really smart and competent Fellows.”
That freedom to disagree while pursuing a shared goal is essential to the work Mika does.
“I love being part of solving difficult technical challenges and protecting people, and that’s what my team does all day.”