These are the women technology specialist behind PLDT and Smart’s resilient network that keep customers safe online

They predict, prevent, detect, and respond to cybersecurity incidents attacking PLDT and Smart 24/7, 365 days a year.

PLDT and Smart Communications are committed to providing their customers with innovative cybersecurity and resilient network. Among their technology specialists who work tirelessly behind the scenes are women who have devoted their skills to enhancing the experience of Filipinos.

In a digital world where network security is essential, Cyber Security Incident Response Team head Katrina Atienza faces a challenging task. “We predict, prevent, detect, and respond to cybersecurity incidents attacking PLDT and Smart 24/7, 365 days a year. We contain threats to make sure that PLDT and Smart’s network is a secure and safe environment,” Ms. Atienza said.

These are the women behind PLDT and Smart’s resilient network that keep customers safe online
Katrina Atienza, Zyla Miguel, and Chanty Salas

This resulted in PLDT and Smart blocking over 182 million cyber-attacks and attempting to breach their digital assets as of end-2022.

“It’s not a 9-to-5 job. Our enemies don’t sleep. And we are fighting these hackers trying to steal our information, steal our data. So, I am really proud that I belong here. We’re not only securing PLDT and Smart, but we’re also securing communities,” she added.

Engineers Zyla Miguel and Chanty Salas are part of the critical network field services of Smart that support, restore, maintain, troubleshoot, and ensure that sites are up on a day-to-day basis. When Odette struck Palawan in 2021, Engineer Miguel was part of the team who monitored, supported and deployed assistance to those on-ground, to successfully restore the services of the network during the aftermath of the disaster.

But being a woman in a highly male-dominated industry was not entirely a walk in the park for the network engineers. Ms. Miguel shared that there was an instance where she was rejected for a role as a field engineer because she was a woman. “They said that the possibility of me being on the field is low because my needs as a woman might affect my efficiency on site.”

In the case of Ms. Salas, her job made her discover plenty of things about herself. “During my younger days, I was someone that you would call ‘kikay’ that even my classmates way back in college could not believe that I was assigned to do fieldwork,” she shared. “But I like the fact that I am a woman working in an industry that is mainly dominated by men. I know that the weight of the responsibilities is heavy, but that makes me feel stronger and capable of accomplishing anything in this life. Although some of our activities require physical strength like lifting heavy spares during trouble isolations, as a woman engineer, that doesn’t limit my capability in restoring our sites. We contribute by working hard to equip ourselves with in-depth knowledge in commissioning, integration, and other technical ways.”

Empowering women in the workplace

Gender equality is high on the agenda of the group’s Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives, as an equal-opportunity employer in the country. In 2021, PLDT and Smart became the first Philippine telcos that signed up as members of the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE), to achieve large-scale organizational transformation through evidence-based strategies and best practices in the workplace.

“It doesn’t matter what your gender is, or how you identify yourself, as long as you have the heart, passion, and commitment,” Ms. Atienza shared. For her, the struggle as an expert in a highly technical field comes from within. “It’s really me questioning myself – am I right for this job? So, it’s about having confidence in yourself. Take one step at a time and give your best every day. It will reflect in your character and output.”

See also: PLDT and Smart’s CISO calls for a ‘Global Chain of Trust’ to fight online child abuse

Ms. Miguel added, “It makes me proud, sometimes when we pass by buildings or sites, I can say, ‘Uy, yung site na ‘yan, naakyat ko na ‘yan!’ All opportunities are open for us. We are not excluded because of our gender, especially in our field, where the number of women is few. It felt like I always belonged.”

“I am grateful to work in a company who recognizes the impact of women’s contribution in the workplace. We are given opportunities to express our abilities and skills. Our strengths — which can make an impact on the team — are highly emphasized. Learning from successful people has enabled me to approach situations with alternative perspectives and a better understanding of my chosen career,” Ms. Salas said. is one of the most active tech sites in the Philippines. We enjoy sharing interesting and relevant stories about the latest trends in technology, developments in mobile phones and social media, and modern digital and geek culture.

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