Witad Awards 2021: Rising star (end-user)—Christine Grant, Guggenheim Partners

Women in Technology and Data Awards 2021

If you ask Christine Grant, who is deputy chief information security officer at Guggenheim Partners, which achievement she is most proud of, she will tell you it’s the time her team was a finalist in a state-wide competition to design the Olympic Village, as part of Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics. Grant was a senior in high school at the time, and had studied architectural drafting. While Chicago’s bid was unsuccessful, the experience kindled Grant’s interest in art, which she went on to study in college.

This may seem a far cry from her current career in information security, which she says, “chose me.” Identified early within Guggenheim Partners as a rising star, Grant has implemented various data loss prevention (DLP) policies, and started an exceptions management program; she managed an implementation that reduced the amount spam and phishing emails; and she helped to implement a system that manages business access to cloud storage platforms—among many other initiatives and staff training projects. 

But her art training has not been in vain. One of the biggest challenges of working in information security is communicating with the business to people who usually know little about technology, she says. “Having a more artistic background has helped me a lot. One of the most important roles in security is being able to communicate, whether verbally or visually, to businesspeople at various levels—whether your own team, compliance or executive management. Having visuals and presentations to explain what you want to present from a risk perspective, where you might need some assistance or business buy-in—that visual approach and being able to summarize loads of information and metrics into something very simple has been valuable to our security team,” Grant says. 

These communication skills were particularly useful during the DLP project, Grant says, which was a career highlight for her. A DLP tool can monitor electronic communications and data transfers, analyzing the content and allowing the organization to build policies that prevent data leakage. Grant’s team was able to build a relationship with the compliance team, which is concerned with communications monitoring and was interested in the possibilities the tool offered in that regard.

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