Empowering Resilience: Ibukun Emmanuel-Adebayo’s Journey in Security

Ibukun Emmanuel-Adebayo is a seasoned professional in the realm of IT, InfoSec, and Information Security Risk, boasting an impressive 23 years of experience within the industry. Her journey commenced as a hardware engineer, delving into the intricacies of assembling and troubleshooting PCs. However, it was a pivotal moment in 2002 when she encountered the NIMDA worm infecting servers within her network that catalyzed her trajectory into information security. In a display of her adept problem-solving skills, Ibukun ingeniously resolved the issue using her expertise in the command line prompt language, setting the stage for her illustrious career. We at EliteX are proud to introduce Ibukun Emmanuel-Adebayo as one of the Impactful Women in Security, 2024.

Ibukun’s inspiration to pursue a career in security stemmed from her desire to prevent individuals and organizations from falling victim to cybercriminals. Over the years, she has made significant contributions to the field, notably through her provision of free workshops aimed at empowering aspiring professionals. Ibukun’s dedication extends beyond mere theoretical training, as she emphasizes the practical application of knowledge within workplace environments, a facet often overlooked in the industry.

“I really hope we’re not still saying ‘skills shortage’ in ten years’ time as there are more than enough intelligent women out there who may not have all the experience, certs or education required; yet may do well in the industry if given half a chance.” – Ibukun Emmanuel-Adebayo

Despite facing challenges unique to being a woman in the security sector, Ibukun’s resilience and determination have propelled her forward. She actively seeks to support and uplift other women and minorities, striving to create a more inclusive environment within the industry. Through prayer and perseverance, she navigates obstacles with unwavering strength, guided by a commitment to effecting positive change. In Ibukun’s view, the most pressing security issues of today require a holistic approach beyond technical solutions. She advocates for heightened awareness among individuals regarding everyday security risks, emphasizing the importance of proactive risk management. Ibukun believes that women play a crucial role in conveying this message in accessible terms, bridging the gap between technical complexities and everyday users.

To stay abreast of emerging threats and technologies, Ibukun subscribes to various threat intelligence feeds and actively participates in professional communities. Her commitment to continuous learning ensures that she remains at the forefront of developments within the security landscape.

Furthermore, Ibukun actively fosters diversity and inclusion within the security community through her mentorship initiatives. As the founder of The Ladder Back Down®, she provides mentorship and free training opportunities, particularly targeting women and minorities. Her dedication to uplifting others is exemplified through her speed-mentoring helpline, offering valuable guidance and support to individuals navigating their career paths. When asked about advice for young women aspiring to enter the field of security, Ibukun offers sage wisdom: “If you’re sure it’s what you want to do, stick at it and view learning as a life-long tactic to stay in the industry. If you face rejection, move on to somewhere else where you’re valued and – regardless of any challenges– remain true to your own self if your self is always true.”

“Preparedness beats Responsiveness hands down!” – Ibukun Emmanuel-Adebayo

Regarding balancing professional demands with personal commitments and interests, Ibukun candidly admits to not having found the perfect equilibrium. However, she acknowledges the support of her husband, who shares a similar professional background, and the assistance of her staff and volunteers at The Ladder Back Down, which helps alleviate some of the workload.

Reflecting on a past leadership experience during a security incident, Ibukun recounts a Ransomware attack at a UK-wide firm. The key lesson learned was the importance of preparedness over responsiveness, emphasizing the critical role of training and empowerment within teams to effectively manage crises. When it comes to prioritizing between implementing new security measures and maintaining operational efficiency, Ibukun underscores the necessity of ensuring that security measures never compromise operational efficiency. She advocates for a risk-based approach, where security measures are implemented based on thorough risk assessments and business justifications.

In terms of enhancing security awareness among the general public, Ibukun emphasizes the importance of leveraging diverse communication channels, including social media platforms and traditional avenues like newspaper adverts, to reach a broad audience effectively. Reflecting on a memorable experience where her expertise made a significant difference, Ibukun recalls thwarting a ransomware attack on her personal laptop in 2012, showcasing her quick thinking and technical prowess. Looking ahead, Ibukun envisions a future where more women actively participate in the security industry. She remains committed to supporting girls, women, and minorities who aspire to pursue careers in security, emphasizing the importance of providing opportunities and eliminating barriers to entry.

Ibukun Emmanuel-Adebayo embodies resilience, expertise, and unwavering dedication in the security community. Through her leadership and advocacy, she drives positive change and fosters inclusivity, shaping a more diverse and empowered industry. Her journey exemplifies the transformative impact of perseverance and mentorship, inspiring individuals from all backgrounds to excel and contribute meaningfully to security.

Ibukun Emmanuel-Adebayo’s journey in the security sector is inspirational, showcasing resilience, determination, and a firm commitment to effecting change. Her contributions and advocacy for diversity and inclusion establish her as a trailblazer and impactful leader in security.

“If you’re sure it’s what you want to do, stick at it and view learning as a life-long tactic to stay in the industry.” – Ibukun Emmanuel-Adebayo