Women in Business Q&A: Marion Marschalek, Malware Analyst, Cyphort

Marion Marschalek is a malware researcher from Vienna, Austria. Since Marschalek was young, she always liked to take things apart, have a closer look and understand how something works.
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Marion Marschalek is a malware researcher from Vienna, Austria. Since Marschalek was young, she always liked to take things apart, have a closer look and understand how something works. Marschalek went to engineering school and later earned her bachelor and master degree in Information Security. Security research appealed to her for all the challenges that there are, but also because there is a high demand of talent, opposed to a small number of people entering the field. This leaves sort of a vacuum with lots of open positions, high salaries and lots of freedom for personal development.

In early 2014, Marschalek was introduced to Cyphort while attending a conference in San Francisco. Cyphort was looking for malware analysts, and to her their ideas and perspectives sounded very innovative.

How has your previous employment experience aided your position at Cyphort?
At my previous job I was a malware analyst at a small anti-virus company. As it is with small companies, after a while I found myself with lots of task unrelated to malware analysis, such as customer support, coding or sales presentations. Looking back I learned a lot from these side challenges which is of tremendous help today. I couldn't have hoped for better preparation before joining a start-up.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Cyphort?
Switching from a seasoned company to a startup it took a bit for me to understand that not everything has a process. Things can be chaotic sometimes, but in this state of growth there is a lot of space for new ideas and for people taking action. I didn't have this before and appreciate it a lot now.

What advice can you offer women who are seeking a STEM career?
Don't get discouraged too easily; stick to challenging tasks and pick the most difficult exercises. No kidding, this way you learn the most.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Thankfully I have a very understanding family and patient friends. As awkward as it sounds though, the more internet connected devices I acquire the easier life becomes. The past two years I have learned to work almost everywhere, as on planes or trains, in doctor's waiting rooms, at crowded cafés or in a public place while waiting for someone. And while using up all the empty minutes that fill my everyday life and being productive, I am able to allocate real spare time for my loved ones.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
There is a lot of biases and I believe it is true that women are evaluated differently than men. The biggest challenge for women though is still to perceive themselves the right way. We females take other opinions in general more important, and care too little about what we think of our own abilities.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
The mentors I had throughout my career were of fundamental help. They told me 'Do it!' when I thought I shouldn't and 'Yes, you can!' when I thought I couldn't.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Last year I met Dawn Cappelli at an event in San Francisco and was struck by the confidence she radiates. She has been successful in the Security industry since the 1980s. Who I also admire a lot is Keren Elazari, a security expert from Tel Aviv with indistinguishable energy, honestly determined to make the world a better place.

What do you want Cyphort to accomplish in the next year?
Intelligent malware detection is a young business, and doubtlessly Cyphort is on the way to the top. They have innovative ideas and a terrific team of engineers who helped them grow exponentially since their product launch last year. I personally feel thrilled by this development and want to get Cyphort on top of its current competitors.

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