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Ramana Krothapalli
Ramana Krothapalli

Ramana Krothapalli


Self Employed

My achievements
Achieving my first professional certification, CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor) offered by Information Systems Control and Audit Association or popularly known as ISACA way back in the year 2002 is very close to my heart. It was a great learning for me working for the certification & I gained a lot of knowledge in the process. Thereafter, I helped so many professionals achieve the same certification by teaching, training, mentoring.

Another achievement which I cherish is gaining my CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certification offered by ISC2, USA in the year 2005.

My GREATEST achievement in during my interaction with bunch of (36 to be precise) young and enthusiastic professionals in the making at SIMSR, Mumbai as a visiting professor. In the few months that I interacted with them, apart from imparting knowledge, I made them confident and believe in themselves and guided them in achieving what they aspired for.
Thoughts on Education system of our country
The first & foremost thought that comes to my mind about education in India is, it is still out of reach to so many. I wish, rather I strongly wish that I can see education being made free in India.

Next, education is a sector which lacks attraction among the young due to poor pay packets. Many job seekers look at as a last option. There are very few teacher who work purely out of passion. If one is not passionate about what he teaches, how can one impart quality education? This trend must be changed.

As one of my favorite orator Dr. Kota Harinarayana (who also happens to be a close friend of Dr. Kalam) says, 'Schools are the places where creativity is killed'. It's not just schools, even the parents are to blame. The child is always pressurized to perform well without realizing where his or her interest lies. We run after Marks, grades, rankings.

Lastly, the major problem in our system is lack of teaching application of theoretical concepts.
Important decision
The first major decision in my life - my marriage. We married against all odds and now happily married for 21 years. My wife is always there for me and stands by me like a solid rock in different situations. We have our little tiffs like in any other marriage, but 21 years later we are still married supporting each other.

Next major decision was in the year 2006, deciding to leave the Bank where I worked for 17 and a half long years. The reasons I could for such a long time in the bank are the great systems & procedures and regular challenges that I faced working in different areas and places. Then there was a time, when I started feeling monotonous and no more enjoying my work. There is no point in continuing working when you no longer enjoy the work. I received an offer from a small private consulting firm from Mumbai and the next day I submitted my resignation after consulting my wife and my mother (no one else..), foregoing possible benefits had I continued for another 30 months.
Important lesson learned
Do not lie. The first lesson learnt when I was too young and lied to my mom that followed more lies to cover up. She thrashed me and cried afterwards holding me close to her.

'Learn to tolerate, what you cannot avoid'. This was the first autograph I received from an eighty year old Hindi Pandit who taught me Hindi while I was in my 8th standard. I still have the autograph with me.

'Patience, Perseverance, Punctuality'. These 3 Ps work magic for any individual or organization as I learned from ex-boss, Mr. Kutty Nair.

Do not look at the qualifications of the teacher. See what you can learn from other person. When I first learnt writing a day-book in the Bank from the Bank's Messenger, Ratnam.

Do not worry about what others think about you. Be yourself. Believe in yourself. You cannot meet the expectations of all the people around you.

Be good, Do good .. no explanations..

Life is beautiful, make the most of it.

Spend enough quality time with family before it is too late.
My role model
I had role models who inspired and motivated me throughout my life, my father, my elder brother, my colleagues, my friends, my son in various phases of my life.

However, when it comes to my current profession, my role model is not one single person, but an entire group of people spread across the globe. I call this group 'Information Security Community', who day in and day out fight odds to keep the information across the organizations around the globe secure and keep the business running.

Standing among hackers, hactivists, cyber-terrorists, internet worms, Wiki-leaks, botnet attacks, and your network is, your hope, the Information Security Guy (or girl), armed with his or her security policies, firewalls, IDS, IPS, encryption keys, and SPAM / porn filters. These are the people who tirelessly protect your network as if it were their own child.

I admire and look up to these people wherever they are, whoever they are for their endless efforts in keeping information secure globally.
My strongest skill
My strong skills:

Technical: Information Technology, Banking, Information Security, Training, IT Auditing, Risk Management, Business Continuity
Managerial: Communication skills, eye-for-detail, people skills, quick learning curve, strong analytic skills

My strong attributes:
My best attribute is passion towards my profession. Whatever job that I took up, I have been passionate that helped me in delivering quality products / services remembered by my clients for a long time.

My strongest attribute is determination; if I want to achieve something however challenging it is, I will take it head-on and do what I need to accomplish my goals.

Commitment and dedication is the other strong attribute of mine.

The other professional attributes that I have developed during my career with the bank, providing consulting services to various clients are:
1. maintaining integrity, confidentiality, trust in business operations
2. abide by ethics of the profession
3. being open-minded
Qualities needed to become a successful leader
One of the essential qualities to become a successful leader is Integrity. We often hear the phrases like “walk the talk”, “lead by example” which reflect the integrity of person who is leading. Unless a person has high integrity he or she cannot influence others or direct an organization successfully, irrespective of the knowledge, skills he or she possesses.

Listening is another quality possessed by great leaders. A good leader does not think he or she knows everything, or always knows better than other people. He not only listens, but listens to lots of different people—and takes their advice and their views into account when making decisions.

I could go on, but for the limitation of space; however, my thoughts on leadership are not complete without sharing my favorite quote on leadership.

"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves". —Lao Tzu
Influenced by
Throughout my life, I have been influenced by so many people who touched my heart - my father, my mother, my sister & protector, my brothers, my wife, my son, my best friends Amar, Gopal, Srikanth, my wonderful colleagues and so on..

Undoubtedly my mother is the most influential person in my life so far. In a way she taught me some of the best lessons of life by reciting verses from telugu folk-poetry such as Vemana Satakam, Sumathi Satakam before I started going to school whenever she has free time. She is always there for me and did so much for me throughout my life. I am what I am today just because of her. She is a disciplinarian to some extent and at the same time gave me free hand wherever needed without forcing me to do anything. Honesty, Integrity, Humility, Commitment are some of the top qualities that are imbibed in me just because of her.

I have a head ache.. a few words from her and gentle touch on my forehead, the head-ache is gone. Millions words are not enough....
Ensuring success
Three things that I do - invest in my future, network with people, share knowledge.

Invest in my future: Way back in the year 2002, I borrowed money to pay fee for my 1st certification examination, CISA. But, once I was certified after going through a pain staking process, I realized the value derived from it. I gained immense knowledge in the process, recognition in the professional circles, volunteering opportunities to share my knowledge, opportunities to network with peer professionals across the globe. I decided then that I would gain one certification each year. I am spending a lot on gaining and maintaining these certifications, but I look this as an investment in my future.

Network with people: During one of the classes delivered by me in 2007, I told my students about the need for networking with professionals to grow in the industry and by the way, I created my linkedin account on the same day :-)

Finally, I believe Sharing Knowledge is the fuel to your growth.
Degree that I recommend
As such there is no specific requirement of having a particular degree for becoming an Information Security Professional. However, a good engineering degree where one can learn the concepts related to Information Systems, Software Engineering, Networking would be handy. Nowadays many universities are offering Masters degrees in Information Security which will definitely be an advantage.

While it is not essential to have any particular degree or a particular certification (s), certainly there are some certifications that may help. One has to remember that the knowledge, skills gained by practical experience cannot be achieved by a degree or a certification. A vendor neutral certification from any popular global body such as ISACA, (ISC)2, CompTIA will be a great investment for future.

Information Security being a broad field, depending on the interest of the individual, one can pursue vendor-specific certifications offered by CISCO, Microsoft etc. to further one's interest & career.
Brief description about me
I am an Information Technology professional specialized and carved out a niche in the field of Information Security for myself. Though started as a Banker two and a half decades ago working for State Bank of India, the largest bank of India due to parental pressure and lack of choices. After close to a decade in banking operations, my passion towards technology made me work towards becoming an IT Professional in SBI. The challenges in Technology and the continuously increasing threat landscape specifically in the Banking sector made me curious about securing information and monitoring compliance of IT policies. Around the year 2000, 11 years after I started as a Banker, I again started working towards becoming a security professional. I have been a continuous learner since then, as I believe in 'once you start believing you are an expert, you will stop learning and start getting rusted'. My passion towards my professions keeps me motivated and progress forward.
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