“A goal without a plan is just a wish”, said writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Governments looking to ensure national cybersecurity must create a plan of how to do so.

Genalyn Macalinao, Policy Lead, Cybersecurity Bureau, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Philippines creates cybersecurity plans for the government. She discusses her work protecting critical infrastructure and highlights the collaboration between the public and private sectors.

Tell us more about your role. How do you protect the digital realm and improve citizens’ lives?

I currently serve as the Policy Lead for the Cybersecurity Bureau, Department of Information and Communications Technology. Fundamental to a country’s cybersecurity policy is a framework for ensuring cybersecurity across critical infrastructures. One of the four key imperatives of the Philippines National CyberSecurity Plan (NCSP) 2022 is the Protection of Critical Infrastructure (CIIs). In most countries like ours, critical infrastructure operators largely reside in the private sector, it is therefore important that such a framework promotes close public-private collaboration and reflects the needs and objectives of all stakeholders. As such, the Bureau strives to forge strong collaboration with the CII sectors.

What has been the most impactful project of your career?

I would say it would have to be serving as project lead and lead contributor to the crafting of the National CyberSecurity Plan of the Philippines. I can still remember when our country didn’t have a national plan on cybersecurity. I remember reading through the cybersecurity plans of other countries and dreaming of having one for the Philippines. And that dream became a reality with the launch and publication of the NCSP 2022 in 2017 spearheaded by the DICT Cybersecurity Bureau. It now serves as the cybersecurity roadmap of the country, harmonizing all efforts towards the shared goal of cyber resiliency.

What challenges would you like to take on in the next year?

It would be great to have a national cybersecurity plan specifically for the protection of critical infrastructures. A national information security manual would also be great and we at the Cybersecurity Bureau are already working on it.

Who or what inspired you this year, and why?

For most of us, it’s been a challenge staying inspired in this time of global pandemic. In the midst of uncertainties, the pandemic has propelled us to more than a decade ahead in society transformation including workplace transition in less than two years. Still, we have to keep in mind that there is always something to be grateful for. I’m immensely grateful for the blessings — my family especially my husband and son, our fur baby, the privilege of serving my country, serving children through my advocacy in child online protection, serving women through discipleship ministry, my friends. These are just some of the many blessings I’m thankful to the Lord for. Focusing on these inspires me and leaves no room in my heart for dreariness.

What advice would you give to women looking to start a career in cybersecurity?

Never stop learning. Cybersecurity is a moving target, staying still will leave you irrelevant. You have to fall in love with your work, master your skill. Seek a career that will benefit others. When you have passion, purpose and productivity, then you live a life of fullness.

If you could sum up your life motto in one sentence, what would it be?

Focus on living for the audience of One.