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Drawing from his Indian roots, Srini Jasti excels in his cybersecurity journey

Srinivasa “Srini” Jasti comes from a family of farmers in India. His father grew up in a small village but eventually moved to the metropolitan area of Chennai (formerly Madras).

Jasti was just like any kid across the globe who would rather play than study. He enjoyed playing sports and recreational activities such as playing cricket and volleyball.

He started working on his career in technology at a very early time when computers were becoming more accessible to the public. He was fortunate to be in a program where they could learn early computing, such as COBOL and C. From there, he saw an opportunity to pursue a career in technology, which ultimately led him to a career and education in cybersecurity.

Jasti’s computer and technology career over the years

Seeing the innovative world of computers and networks, Jasti decided to pursue a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in computer science at A.V.C College (Autonomous) affiliated to Bharathidasan University.

After a couple of years working in India, he was presented with a contracting job for Inforide Technologies that allowed him to work in the United States. His first gig was in 1997 for a Y2K project in Chicago. From there, he was able to travel all over the United States and work on various technology projects.

Ultimately, Jasti settled down on the East Coast and now works for a Traveler’s insurance company. He first started working as a developer, and after 5-6 years, he switched to working as a security administrator. That was his first introduction to the cybersecurity realm and he started noticing his enjoyment within this niche of technology.

“I like the security side a lot because it was really new to me. I didn’t get any formal training. I had to learn everything as I went and on the job,” Jasti said. “It was beyond my comfort zone.”

He further progressed his path in cybersecurity by transitioning as a SOC auditor and business continuity practitioner.

“This role really taught me how to be agile. I had to act on various agile frameworks and coordinate with a lot of circles to make sure that security is maintained within the different departments.” Jasti’s journey over the years really shows how spontaneous opportunities arise. Just like his career journey, his academic journey into cybersecurity was also just as spontaneous.

Future in cyber risk

Already having such a decorated academic background, some may ask why Jasti would have applied to Boise State University’s cyber operations and resilience program.

“That was totally an accident,” Jasti stated when asked why he returned for another master’s degree. “I had a friend who went to Boise State to get his MBA. My friend heard about the cyber operations and resilience program when they started offering a graduate degree and so I decided to join the program.”

With this education opportunity, Jasti was able to fine-tune his skills in cybersecurity. As a spring 2024 graduate, Jasti found the courses from the cyber operations and resilience program informative and applicable to his current work. He took classes such as Cyber Systems Thinking and Cyber Risk Quantification that helped him see the issues cybersecurity practitioners are experiencing today.

“[The classes] forced me to think differently when it came to designing systems and why we had to choose such a system in order to make it resilient,” said Jasti.

This led him to realize that he has a passion for risk management. “I eventually want to work in the risk management side because I can help identify and mitigate threats and provide proper controls for protection.”

How Jasti’s heritage helped him flourish

Jasti has been privileged to have a rich culture and upbringing in India. From lighting up fireworks to eating pongal, Jasti’s Indian culture has remained resilient and strong.

Not only does Jasti and his family celebrate specific Indian holidays such as Makar Sankranti and Diwali, but Jasti’s Indian heritage also taught him about work ethics and how to defy disadvantages or adversities.

“My grandfather didn’t have any education, but he taught us how to adapt to and succeed in a new society [like moving to a large city],” Jasti explains. “If it wasn’t for my grandfather pushing my father to become a mechanical engineer, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would probably be plowing somewhere in the farmlands. It was pretty rare for a farmer in a remote area of southern India to become an engineer.”

Jasti wants to keep that family heritage alive by passing his roots and work ethic down to his children. Living in the United States, the complexities of blending different identities and cultures can be overwhelming at times. Jasti believes in passing down his family traditions, regardless of where they are in the world because it will continue instilling the motivation and determination to be successful no matter where in the world any of his family members are.

By Ranier Lieberman