Featured CLIMBER: Miguel Saavedra
The continued success of A-LIGN is a sum of its parts – the parts being its people! For this month’s Featured CLIMBER, we are highlighting A-LIGN Senior Consultant, Miguel Saavedra, from the Panama office. After more than ten years of being a member of ISACA, Miguel was recently elected as President of the Panama chapter! This is a huge accomplishment, and we look forward to seeing the impact that Miguel makes in the ISACA community. Join us as we get to know Miguel, discuss his journey in the cybersecurity industry, why he thinks cybersecurity audits are important, and what he’s most excited for in his new role as President of ISACA Panama.
Where are you from, and how did you begin your career in cybersecurity?
I’m from Panama, and I attended the Technological University of Panama, where I earned a degree in IT auditing. I began working in an IT technician support role and eventually moved into IT security. Then, I transitioned to IT auditing, which I’ve been doing for over ten years now. Since my first role, cybersecurity has been an important component of my functions and I have seen it become more and more relevant over the years. In May 2021, someone on the A-LIGN team reached out to me about an open role and I’ve been here since!
Tell me about your role as a Senior Consultant at A-LIGN.
I am responsible for different engagements such as SOC 1, SOC 2 and HIPAA. In previous roles, I was only responsible for internal or external auditing and consulting, so working in SOC auditing has been new for me and I am really enjoying it so far!
Why are cybersecurity audits important and how does that play into your role?
Cybersecurity audits have become a non-negotiable because everything is becoming more and more technology based, especially with the recent pandemic. The risk is getting bigger, and we need to mitigate the risks from every direction we can for our clients. This integrates with my role because I work with our clients to bring them to a higher level of security so they can have trust and confidence in their systems and project that confidence to their clients.
You were just elected as the President of ISACA Panama, which is a huge accomplishment—what are you most excited for in this new role?
I’m excited for the opportunity to represent the chapter worldwide, and to make improvements to the way things are currently done in education and communication. One of my main goals is to help college students and encourage them to complete their ISACA certifications before they graduate, because it will be a huge benefit to them as they begin their careers.
As President of ISACA Panama, what do some of your responsibilities include?
I represent the ISACA Panama chapter worldwide, as well as oversee our entire chapter operation. I handle any issues that arise with memberships, help organize our events and conferences, and attend other events in our community. We already have our calendar planned for the year with several educational events, networking events, conferences and more.
How did you become involved in ISACA Panama?
I’ve been working with the ISACA community for over ten years now. When I started working in IT auditing back in 2009, I learned about ISACA and the certifications they offer. I was interested in the CISA certification, so I began studying and really enjoyed what I was learning. Once I completed that certification, I started meeting people from the chapter and asking them questions on how I could get involved and I’ve been a member ever since. In 2018, I joined the Leader Board as Secretary, and I am currently serving as President.
What is the best advice you could give someone trying to enter the industry?
Always keep learning and educating yourself as things are constantly evolving. Technology changes so fast, and we need to continue to learn as it grows. You can’t be an expert in everything, so select a topic that you want to specialize in and continue studying it as it develops. The evolution of what you are studying and your motivation to learn and grow will automatically guide you to other topics you need to learn as a complement. For example, starting with IT auditing will lead you to learn about IT security, risk, governance, cybersecurity and much more, and each of those will lead you to study different technologies, standards and frameworks.