Capturing the essence of networking – Cyber Risk Meetup, Melbourne Wrap Up


The group representation of thousands of cyber security professionals in Australia, from seniors to students, and otherwise just curious minds, was captured at the latest Cyber Risk Meetup.

Shamane Tan and Jacqui Loustau opening the CRM

Held in Melbourne on April 30, in association with the Australian Women in Security Network (AWSN), supported by Illumio and Privasec and hosted by Ernst & Young Australia in Exhibition Street, the opening panel represented the ‘on the ground’ founders of leading meetup groups in the Australian cybersecurity industry.

Shamane Tan, Founder of the Cyber Risk Meetup gathered together the opening panel, with Matt Tett, Founder of Day of the Month (DOTM) Club, Mike Monnik, Organiser of SecTalks Meetup and Founder of the Deakin University Information Security Club (DISC), and Jacqui Loustau, Founder of the AWSN. Together these ‘founders’ each represent different, yet cross complimentary segments of the industry, now running in the majority of Australian states and territories.

L-R: Matt Tett, Mike Monnik, Shamane Tan and Jacqui Loustau

Matt Tett’s DOTM clubs, be they a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday of each month, capture about 2,000 networkers across the country, sharing an ale or two and discussing their focus of interest. Be that for consulting or technical teams, to students and through to the industry retirees, often paired with younger up-and-comers. Matt brings a relaxed and inclusive approach to his events and they’re an ideal chance to connect and network.

For Mike’s SecTalks, coincidentally on the last Wednesday of each month, the focus is more on garnering technical skills. To ensure focused learning, numbers are often capped at 80- 100 attendees, despite growing to about 1,500 national members.  Held at the PWC Tower in Melbourne, the SecTalks dive into red teaming and penetration testing and are an ideal opportunity for teams and even students, coming into the city from the suburbs, to hone their skills.

Shamane Tan outlined the secret of success for the Cyber Risk Meetups, now spanning Australia and Singapore. These quarterly events provide a unique opportunity for senior executives to share their experiences in mixed panel and presentation settings with a ‘no-sales’ approach. The format clearly works and with 1,500 members, the CRMs (#CyberRiskMeetup) are a full house each and every time.

Questions? Lively audience participation

Having interviewed Jacqui Loustau for a podcast just prior to the event, it was an insight to learn the AWSN was born from her desire to share her own challenges in being one of the few women in the room, attending industry events in a male dominated sector.  She wasn’t alone. The women’s network grew rapidly, and nationally, to now having 1,700 members and retaining the focus of connecting, supporting and inspiring women in the security industry. This includes cybersecurity, physical security or the less recognised security roles like business continuity and fraud prevention.

Together the panel of four provided great insight into the cybersecurity sector and the desire for learning, sharing, networking and connecting across Australia and beyond. Mike pointed out that going to Sec Talks, or any networking group, is like going to the Gym. The reason people stop going is the lack of community and making friends to go with you. The real value each of these groups offer is a genuine approach to friendship and inclusion.

When asked how to address the key industry challenges, if it was up to Matt, he may well turn the Internet off to solve the cybersecurity challenge – many agree that is probably the only solution. For Mike, it was getting cybersecurity taught as early as possible, including primary school. Collaboration is key for Shamane and Jackie summed it up nicely; with ensuring the industry keeps its message simple, so as not to confuse and scare, but to educate and empower, the general public.

Following another intensive networking break and some canapes, the session moved onto the next panel. Lead by EY’s Senior Manager Meaghan Stackpole, the panel was Mick Dunne, CISO, AustralianSuper, Claire Pales, Director, 27 Lanterns and Author of Secure CIO and David McMurdo, Head of Private Client Group at AIG.

Meaghan Stackpole facilitating the panel with David McMurdo, Claire Pales and Mick Dunne

Yet again, a fascinating discussion ensued with diverse input from an insurance perspective, major economic trust brand in Australian Super and Claire’s invaluable experience from decades in the industry. It was clear from the discussion that despite a diverse background, each panellist had observed and experienced the same mass movement of modern technology, with new trends seemingly coming out each week.

Social media trends and our relationship with technology has changed and evolving. Even the relationship with our cars is changing as they become computerised and autonomous. For Claire it’s all about trust, including the importance of building trust in consumers and customers. Nothing will be sustained without trust or ethics. Yet, despite technology rapidly moving forward, it is policy that comes second and then the Judiciary comes in third when trying to grapple and control the impacts on our daily lives, and the risk to enterprise. It was reiterated that Australia lacks political leadership in this area and regrettably, it is unlikely to change in the near term.

Yet to change and influence, such as an enterprise risk culture, the removal of barriers to silos and silo mentalities is important. It can start with some simple changes, such as sitting people together and allowing them to share job experiences. Moving from a binary decision approach around security, or a ‘yes or no’ approach, to a risk-based approach, with adaptation needed as risk changes. Of concern, is that Executives and Boards still aren’t being fully appraised of the risk around cybersecurity, or understanding the risk. Elevating the right risks, at the right time, to the Executive team is a primary challenge for a large enterprise.

Questions from the audience

The discussion also included the longer-term challenges of society in a challenging geo-political environment and for the kids of today who may not be getting taught the best cyber-hygiene skills. How are we preparing them for the workplace of tomorrow? Kids in school are still being taught to right down passwords and social media is still not fully understood on its impact on behaviours like bullying. Looking back, when Claire was young, she wanted to be a lawyer, then a journalist and then a police officer – in many ways now being in Cybersecurity she has become of mix of all three. This highlights the great aspect of cybersecurity, namely the opportunities and challenges it presents. The opportunities are numerous and were indeed a common theme through-out the night. A great event and would encourage you to get along to your local group so as not to miss out!

Visit to staytuned! – Check out the Videos below….

Register for a copy of Shaman Tan’s upcoming book release – ‘Cyber Risk Leaders: C-Suite Insights – Leadership and Influence in the Cyber Age’

Thanks to our facilitators and panellists (L-R): Claire Pales, Meaghan Stackpole, Jacqui Loustau, Shamane Tan, Matt Tett, Mike Monnik, David McMurdo and (MIA) Mick Dunne

Takeaway – Claire’s recommended viewing: Documentary about youth and social media – Social Animals via Netflix