I studied industrial engineering at Tampere University, majoring in international marketing with software engineering as a technical subject and graduating in 1992. This combined my interests in computing and international business, and was put into use in my first position as Information Management Engineer at Rautaruukki, working on Customer Relationship Management and Enterprise Resource Planning systems. I never became a software developer. After being paid to write code for the last time in 1995, programming and myself parted as friends, and I’ve continued to enjoy working with development teams throughout my career.
My interest in computer software brought me to SSH Communications Security in early 2000, and introduced me to information security and cryptography. During my 17 years at SSH, I worked in roles ranging from Project to Product Manager, Director of Solution Marketing and Engineering, and finally Vice President, APAC – on three different continents. I worked closely with product teams, building intimate and long-term customer relationships with some of the world’s largest companies in the US and Asia. I enjoyed bridging and building teams across cultures, whether it was with Finnish software developers, US sales teams or Japanese channel partners. Guiding the teams to understand shared goals, aligning and focusing our efforts on the critical success factors, whether it was a new product feature that would enable a relevant use case across a certain market, an urgent bug fix, or signing a new partnership, built trusted relationships lasting for years or decades. Work is most rewarding when it’s both challenging and fun (sometimes at the same time). Even the most trying times that might feel like a potential crisis at the time turn into accomplishments with perseverance, active and open communication, and mutual trust – and into a journey that can be reminisced about together over yakitori, after a long day of meetings in Tokyo.
After SSH, I joined KPMG Finland to head its technical cyber services team. My five years at KPMG gave me a holistic view over the components that organisations’ cybersecurity consists of, both technical and organisational. Working with the penetration testing and red teams gave a look at environments through the eyes of a malicious attacker, gathering information for the execution of a phased attack on the target’s crown jewels.
During my years at SSH and KPMG, cybersecurity has steadily grown in importance, as attacks by cybercriminals and nation states have become a constant headline, and companies assess the impact of breaches in millions of euros. Cybersecurity is built in layers and various dimensions. At its core beats the heart of cryptography driven by mathematics – on top of which ecosystems of security controls and solutions, networks and cloud platforms, organisational processes, and human awareness and vigilance form layered defenses against daily threats. The ability for actors and components in this ecosystem to trust each other relies on the bedrock of cryptographic algorithms and their implementation.
I noticed Petri Jehkonen’s introduction as he joined Xiphera as a Project Manager and was happy to discover that there was a growing company in Finland, previously unknown to me, working on this core of cybersecurity. As I learned more about Xiphera and got to know the team, my interest and excitement grew, as I recognised both the importance of building these capabilities in Finland as well as the potential of taking the technology to critical business and national environments globally. While I had well over a decade of experience with solutions based on cryptography and security protocols from SSH, Xiphera combines its deep expertise in cryptography with digital design for FPGA circuits, and gave the opportunity to both offer my past experience from a growing security solution company and working with international clients and partners, and to learn a new field of technology.
I joined Xiphera in March 2022 as Director, Business Development. I work to expand our partner ecosystem and develop our sales capabilities and reach, to bring Xiphera’s leading-edge security solutions to critical business environments and infrastructures across the globe – and could not be more excited about the opportunity!