Lifetime of Achievement: Ariel Weintraub

Cyber Magazine explores the career of MassMutual’s CISO Ariel Weintraub and her commitment to robust cybersecurity strategies and diversifying the sector

A fierce advocate and a cybersecurity leader committed to increasing diversity across the technology industry, Ariel Weintraub is a trailblazer in a male-dominated field. Keen to address the cybersecurity workforce shortage, alongside working to bolster MassMutual’s cybersecurity strategies, she has well-established herself within the financial cybersecurity landscape.

Weintraub entered her current role as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) in February 2021, where she now leads MassMutual’s Enterprise Cybersecurity Programme with the goal of driving cyber resiliency for the organisation, in addition to enabling the organisation's digital transformation goals. 

A visionary leader committed to bettering cybersecurity for businesses

Weintraub first joined financial services firm MassMutual in 2019 as Head of Security Operations and Engineering. Here, she was responsible for the company’s global security operations centre, security engineering, security intelligence and identity and access management (IAM).

She is now the first female CISO in the insurance company’s 172-year history, well-known for her excellent technical skills, good judgement and knowledge and experience in implementing cyber strategies driven by data science.

Prior to this, Weintraub served as Senior Director of Data and Access Security of cybersecurity operations at TIAA, where she led a three-year business transformation programme to incorporate IAM into the business. She has also worked as Global Head of Vulnerability Management at BNY Mellon and was part of the threat and vulnerability management practice at PwC.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern Carolina (USC) Marshall School of Business, and a Masters degree in cybersecurity from New York University (NYU) Tandon School of Engineering.

As part of her current work with MassMutual, Weintraub works with the company to maintain its multi-tiered architecture that aims to provide multiple levels of firewalls. Additionally, Security Information Event Management (SIEM) system intrusion detection and protection sensors monitor for irregular activity from possible threat actors.

The company requires that all external connections to company networks, applications, or data over the public internet requires multi-factor authentication (MFA). MassMutual is also keen to move towards Zero Trust architecture - a new way of protecting sensitive business data via additional digital verification processes.

“It's the idea of identity as a perimeter outside of physical perimeter walls,” Weintraub told Information Week. “Things like firewall are the more conventional controls that used to be the way we protected our corporate environment. We now have to think more creatively and broadly about how people access resources.”

Creating access: Fighting inequality in cyber

Weintraub is also committed to ensuring diversity and access within the company. In a byline for Cybersecurity Insiders, Weintraub says: “Diversity is critical to a thriving workforce and culture, promoting more creative ideas and more informed decision-making.”

Weintraub is also part of the few-and-far-between women in this job position and, as she told her alma mater NYU, is committed to helping open industry doors. She says: “It was a priority for my predecessor to increase the representation of female leaders, so my current leadership team is 100% women: because he set the stage, that happened in a very natural, organic way for me.

“On a basic level, there’s a dire global shortage of cyber professionals, but just as important is the fact that this is a creative pursuit: strong teams are made up of people with different talents and perspectives.”

She also acknowledges that entering into the cybersecurity industry is not always easy. Alongside her role as CISO, Weintraub currently sits on the Board of Advisors of the Executive Women's Forum (EWF) on Information Security, Risk Management and Privacy, as well as on the Board of Directors of One In Tech, a non-profit initiative that focuses on fighting inequality, inequity and bias across the technology industry. 

On this, she says: “One of my greatest passions is empowering women, especially the next generation of cybersecurity leaders.

“Working with MassMutual’s cybersecurity interns makes me excited about the future of our field and organisation, as investing in early-in-career professionals is critical to our vitality, safety, and future talent pipeline.”

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