“In Melbourne we live a chilled-out life,” begins Mina Salib, Customer Resolution Officer at Nominet Australia. “There are plenty of beaches, sunshine, restaurants, open green spaces – it’s all pretty easy going when it comes to lifestyle. But the work we do in cyber security here at Nominet in Australia is just about as serious as it gets.”
Nominet was set up 25 years ago in Oxford, where it is still head quartered today, but its reach has expanded since those early days and now has more of a global footprint. The Australian team, of which Mina is a part, was set up in December 2020 to deliver the Australian Protective Domain Name Service (AUPDNS) on behalf of the Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACSC). It is there to protect Australian public sector concerns and is a significant operation, looking after 150+ organisations, equating to well over 550,000 users
“I have been part of the team for almost a year now”, says Mina, “and what really attracted me to it in the first place was that it was effectively a start-up company here in Australia, but one which came with a huge family at Nominet UK and an important remit to create and maintain a secure network for government, local authorities, and emergency services all over this country. I heard somewhere that the majority of all cyber-attacks can be prevented with Protective DNS, so what we are doing here is providing something that’s no longer a nice to have, it’s an essential.”
Mina had been searching for a cyber-related IT role for a while, having always been drawn to a career in the security sector. In fact, that journey began a few years ago when after leaving University he applied to join the Melbourne police force. Sadly for Mina, who at that time was a keen Martial Arts practitioner, he sustained a life-changing sports injury which meant he wasn’t eligible to join up. A job in the Australian prison service followed, still a job within security, but that environment proved a little too raw and toxic for Mina and he soon left to find a more suitable niche.
“It’s funny, you make plans but sometimes life doesn’t always work out like that. I imagined myself in the police force, and as Martial Arts champion of the world, but now I see my injury as a blessing in disguise, because here I am having transitioned into a whole different career, enjoying having a meaningful job, learning new things – and hopefully moving into different roles in this industry and always growing.”
So how did Mina leap from being a prison officer to a role in the technology industry? The same way many highly motivated and resourceful people do, by teaching himself digital skills in his own time.
“I had always been interested in IT, and did a cyber-security course online,” he recalls. “I learned a lot there about preventing access to malware, phishing attacks, viruses – the importance of making the network more secure. It’s an area that’s becoming more important every day, especially when you consider everything that’s going on in the world right now. When I saw this role advertised, being cyber-related which was something I was eagerly searching for, plus the fact that it was about DNS when not many other companies have a DNS focus, I jumped at it.”
One year on, Mina is enjoying being part of the Nominet Australia team, and has found that the employee wellbeing and company culture have also helped him in acclimatising to his injury and regaining his confidence.
“My managers are always encouraging me and the team to go for walks, get plenty of fresh air, take breaks and do what we enjoy. We even set aside meetings every week just for fun and chit chat, so we don’t all get meeting fatigue, and I believe that’s been a great way to start and end the week. Self-care and self-development are really encouraged here.”
The cyber work of Nominet Australia will continue its outreach, doing important work in an environment that can be intense, and Mina’s plans are to grow with it. In fact, his vision for his own future is to move from Customer Resolution into DNS Analytics. “Don’t get me wrong, I really like working with our customers, and the chances you get to make a new first impression every day are pretty rewarding. But when I think back to when I was in the prison service, when I used to brainstorm a lot about cyber security, and about hacking in particular, I think that as I know more about what goes on in cyber I want to do more. I am interested in threat hunting and can see myself being more involved in the security side of the business.”
Members of the Nominet Cyber leadership team visited Australia in March this year, to meet with the team, which cemented the relationship further – and there are plans to do more team building in future. There is a lot of expertise and advice coming from the UK team which is essential, and Mina believes that what the Australian team brings to the Nominet family is its sense of ‘newness’. “We are kind of in pioneering territory I guess, where everything we have made here is a kind of invention or a new idea, and that’s something we can share back with the UK. That way there is more for us to learn from each other.”
And, Mina adds, before heading out for a wander along one of those lovely Melbourne beaches, “It’s all about the team work!”
Running a vital part of the UK’s critical national infrastructure comes with a responsibility to deliver a service that is reliable, resilient and secure. This expertise has evolved into our Nominet Cyber division and Protective DNS solutions. We help to secure public services and protect digital economies around the world.