Shivangi Nadkarni works in two core areas of Information Risk – Information Security and Data Privacy, a concern for many in today’s world. In these domains, her company Arrka provides consulting and advisory services – basically help organizations implement and then maintain & manage their Information Security and data privacy programs. They also do security and privacy testing. They have operations in India and the Middle East – and are slowly expanding to other geographies as well.
Her answer to our queries
What made you step into the domain you are in now?
My journey in the domain of Information Risk began in 1999 – when I was with Sify. Sify had set up a venture with VeriSign to establish the first Certifying Authority in India to issue digital signatures. I built that from scratch and that took me into the world of encryption, data protection, laws, compliance, etc. It was such a fascinating domain that I kept going into various areas in this domain in depth, equipped myself with appropriate certifications along the way and found roles in this domain.
What makes you feel you have taken the right step?
The writing has always been clear on the wall that as the world goes increasingly digital, managing the risks associated with it is always going to be critical. And that is the domain I specialize in. The pace has greatly accelerated in the recent few years – which has brought out the importance of our domain. And this is just the beginning. So it has been a fascinating journey thus far and promises to be even more in the future – which makes me feel that I am in the right place at the right time.
When in a challenging situation, who or what has helped you overcome it?
I have been incredibly blessed – with a highly supportive family, professional mentors at all stages of my career, a wonderful set of friends and a fantastic co-founder at Arrka (my company). Whenever there have been any challenges, many people have stepped forward to help and support. For eg, the first few years of my entrepreneurial journey have not exactly been easy. I was living off my fast depleting savings stubbornly focused on my chosen domain, refusing to take the easy way out. During this period, my family stood by me and never once questioned my chosen path; numerous folks I have known throughout my professional career helped in many ways – by giving me opportunities to prove myself, connecting me with others who could, etc; friends were an incredible support system egging me on, kicking my backside when it needed to be done, giving advice when required, opening up their homes for me to stay in as and when I needed to; and a co-founder who has been equally mad in chasing the same dream. And in the recent past, when I raised a small round of funding for my company from friends & family, these very same people have rallied around me, continuing to repose their faith in me. I am where I am today because of all these people in my life.
What is the principle you follow in ensuring you give good advice?
Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Everyone’s situation in life is unique and different – so do not give out banal advice that is generic. If you have nothing of importance to say, say so and point them towards someone else who might be able to help.
What is the motto of your professional life?
Be genuine and sincere in what you do, do not try to find short cuts, go out of the way to genuinely solve a problem and do not jeopardise a relationship for any short-term gains. Do not hesitate to say ‘I don’t know’. And enjoy the journey!
Who are the people who have inspired you?
My parents – especially my father.
What is your vision for the future?
To build an organization that is respected for the domains it works in via its products and services and one that good people would like to work for. Personally, I’d like to do a PhD sometime in life 😊
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I would like to tell all the young women out there who are building their careers – stay focused, do not give up when you encounter challenges, do not whine or complain and make the most of opportunities that come your way. And most importantly, have fun. If you don’t enjoy what you do, find something else that you do.
I would also like to mention one achievement that I take some pride in – of having authored a text book on Data Privacy for the Data Security Council of India (DSCI) – a Nasscom Body. It is the first and only one from India.
Jamuna Rangachari is the digital content curator at eGrowth
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