I’m a Security Ethnographer at IBM. This means I get to work with and learn about the folks who protect credit card information, personal identification numbers, airline tickets, and more. I learn about what makes them laugh, what makes them frustrated, what makes them confused or excited. Because it’s not just machines protecting your data—it’s the humans configuring, maintaining, and troubleshooting them every day.

In 2016, data breaches caused by inadvertent actors accounted for 53% of incidents in the financial sector, compared with 42% caused by external attackers (IBM X-Force 2017 Threat Intelligence Index). Maintaining security today, particularly at the massive and global scale that our clients do, is a complicated process and very much prone to human error.

My team dives deep with every stakeholder in this process, cutting across geographies and industries to identify persistent trends and the opportunities for maximum impact. We’re using human-centered design to change the way data is protected. We’re working to help users whose role it is to safeguard your personal and financial information as you move through cyberspace. We bring them into our process and design with them. Being a Security Ethnographer at IBM means tapping into the daily experiences of the people who sustain our global financial infrastructure, and ensuring that they have the best tools possible to do it.