A PROMISING CERTITUDE IN CYBER SECURITY – CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF TECHCERT, DILEEPA LATHSARA

Possessing a divine relationship with technology, Dileepa Lathsara unravels his life as the Chief Executive Officer of TechCERT, while endorsing the maxis of his leadership.

Initiating his career back in 2003, Lathsara served as a communication engineer alongside a top Sri Lankan system integrator, building numerous information security solutions for major Sri Lankan corporations. “While working there, I assisted clients in tackling cyber threats, mainly malware
incidents, and hacking attempts”, he states. This was until 2004 that Lathsara learned of a novel concept called the CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team), which was primarily established in the United States. As eager and passionate as he was to understand this invention, Lathsara understood that CERT is composed of an experienced body of individuals that safeguards their national infrastructures, shielding them from ever-increasing cyber-attacks. Although Lathsara intended to delve deeper into the subject, his prior working conditions stood against him.

Proceeding on with life, Lathsara shifted to work as a System Engineer in Sri Lanka’s largest insurance service provider to oversee the organisation’s IT security infrastructure. However, with the inner built curiosity and interest in CERT, he joined TechCERT in 2006. “It was established by two leading academics from the University of Moratuwa as part of the LK Domain Registry, which is the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) and the sole administrator for web addresses that end in “.lk” in Sri Lanka”, he claims profoundly explaining his instant urge to apply. Regardless of the risk of working for a start-up, Lathsara accepted to join TechCERT in 2006 as an Information Security Specialist, to satiate his interest in CERT. Subsequently, TechCERT was formed as an independent organization. Later down the line, recognizing his service, he was promoted to Engineering Manager and then to Chief Operating Officer.

Lathsara elaborates, “As the CEO of TechCERT, I am currently heading the leading Managed Security Service provider of the country, where we provide information security and advisory services to large corporations, including almost all of Sri Lanka’s banks, multinational conglomerates, and a number of Sri Lankan and international clients”, while proudly confirming that TechCERT is Sri Lanka’s largest CERT and the leading managed security service provider in Sri Lanka.

Advancing on the corporate ladder can be an exigent period for many successful individuals around the world. Yet, behind most inspiring stories stands a supportive team often known as family. Sharing a similar connection, Lathsara’s family encouraged and shadowed him through his journey to success. “I always share my brainstorming ideas with my wife, Dulashinie, and my two daughters. Having to commit my fullest towards the company, going home early on weekdays is not always doable. Therefore, unless I have an emergency situation to deal with I spend most of my weekends with them”, he stated.

Lathsara further appreciates his first employer, Dilan Walgampaya, who has supported him as a career mentor. “He was the one who first exposed me to cyber security in 2003 when it was still a relatively new field”. While acknowledging his first blessing, he continues to cherish other individuals along the journey. “I was fortunate to work under a board of directors that consisted of Prof. Gihan Dias, Dr. Shantha Fernando, and Mr. Dumindra Ratnayaka; pioneers in information technology and cybersecurity. I also
respect the board members at TechCERT for collaborating their decisions into intensive operations. Lastly, my gratitude extends toward the Former TechCERT COO, Prof. Chandana Gamage for constantly mentoring me and providing me the required nudge to climb the corporate ladder”. Lathsara is considered to be quite fortunate to have prospered amidst the guidance of these individuals. He salutes their encouragement and hopes to further strengthen their bonds.

Further enhancing the decision-making process, Lathsara finds delight in working with his senior management team, who is equally enthusiastic about working with novel innovative measures and diverse technology. He continues to explain, “we are always focusing on delivering new cyber security concepts and services to Sri Lankan enterprises in order to ensure that they are well secured against emerging cyber threats. Instead of always bracketing the top management towards decision-making, we encourage and delegate authority to all the members of our management team to contribute towards the collective result”. He believes that this relationship plays a massive role in the trust placed as a leading Managed Security Service Provider in Sri Lanka. Preserving the trust laid upon them by various organisations, TechCERT progress alongside integrity and transparency at all times.

Being a reputed company dealing with CERT, multinational organisations laid an enormous trust in the assistance, the safety, and the reliability factor followed by TechCERT. Revolving around cyber-security solutions with the aim to secure their vital infrastructure, Lathsara affirms, “It’s important that our choices aren’t skewed in favour of any certain product or solution. Our decisions are made based on the technology and its significance to the organisations”.

Augmenting the forms of ‘Armoured Leadership’, Lathsara says “Cornell University researches state that an average adult makes roughly 35,000 semi-conscious decisions each day. Therefore, as senior executives working in an environment gaining ground briskly, lingering around decisions only is never enough. Hence, we always hold our reins when and wherever we can, and shift to stable grounds”. Although many find beauty in perfection, Lathsara believes in initiation and improvement. Therefore, involving the engineering team, technical team, sole decisions, and the demands of the tech world, TechCERT continues to approach its clients with collaborative resolutions.

Being the first company to conduct Cyber Security Drills, to establish the first Digital Forensic Investigation Lab, to build the first National level Certificate Authority and the first to certify PCIDSS in Sri Lanka, TechCERT has outlined its objectives in black and white. Lathsara is proud of the bold decisions taken over time. He ends his statement by saying, “Competing with leading global brands on cyber security advisory services was never a comfortable decision. TechCERT however successfully managed to compete against them. This is the sole contribution of the best team of experts with great skills and knowledge.”

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