“Building a competency at Planit from the ground up sounded like a great opportunity, and it certainly has proven to be. It’s very fulfilling to see the competency and capability grow and mature, as well as delivering great results and happy customers.”
Ferdinand Hagethorn, Senior Technical Test Consultant, Planit
Security is one of the broadest niche areas under the testing umbrella, according to Senior Technical Test Consultant, Ferdinand Hagethorn. This deep complexity and dynamic nature of cybersecurity is what encouraged Ferdinand to specialise in the field.
“It is a very challenging area, which spans governance, risk, and compliance to development, solutions architecture, system integration, and infrastructure,” he said. “It all revolves around safeguarding the confidentiality, integrity, availability of data and the business processes around the data, which I find interesting.”
Ferdinand’s first exposure to cybersecurity was 1996, when the first Linux virus, Staog, appeared on the Internet and went on to infect numerous systems. He downloaded a copy of the virus to have a quick look to see how it worked, but this soon expanded to designing, installing, and building an environment until 4am in the morning.
“The environment I was building enabled me to test and demonstrate the effectiveness of various mitigation approaches to different attack vectors,” he said. “I used this fenced off environment to study what happened when I unleashed worms and viruses, as well as capture the flag challenges. Later on, I used a copy of this environment to study the 1998 CIH virus outbreak.”
After a decade in the Dutch IT and cybersecurity industries, Ferdinand joined Planit in Wellington to build the company’s security competency from the ground up. “It’s very fulfilling to see the competency and capability grow and mature, as well as delivering great results and happy customers,” he said.
Security and testing are both fast moving fields. Even for people in senior roles, Ferdinand says it requires one to upskill regularly “to maintain a competitive edge.”
Experience in other IT fields can provide testers with additional skills and knowledge to enable them to contribute more to projects and, by extension, the clients. “By stepping out of the siloed world we work in, we gain valuable insights that will add value to the rest of our testing career.”