Markus Saaristo

has been involved in developing Elisa’s B2B cybersecurity services from the start – his career path took him briefly to another company, but then it brought him back

Returning to Elisa is not viewed as failure – quite the opposite. After a few years at Finnair, Markus Saaristo returned to Elisa to help develop cybersecurity services for large corporate customers.

The typical career development of the best experts involves a desire for new experiences and to see what it is like to work for other organisations. Someone who knows this first-hand is Markus Saaristo, who works at Elisa as Business Development Manager for Cyber Security Services.

Markus has an over ten-year career in IT behind him and is already in his sixth year working with corporate cybersecurity. His first stint at Elisa began in 2016.

“I was offered the opportunity to come to Elisa to develop the first cybersecurity service centre services for customers. Back then, cyber security was becoming a hot topic for companies, and I had a feeling that this sector held a lot of opportunities for the future. It has remained just as important, and in fact data security issues are an even hotter topic these days”, says Markus about his choice of career.

In 2018, Markus left Elisa to spend a couple of years as data security manager at Finland’s national airline, Finnair, with responsibility for the company’s operational data security. He had always found administrative security fascinating, and he wanted to see what it was like to have a customer’s perspective on handling data security issues.

A couple of years later, after returning to Elisa, Markus is responsible for developing the same kind of cybersecurity services for large corporations as he was responsible for from the usage side at Finnair.

On the path of growth in the cybersecurity field – what brought Markus back to Elisa?

For Markus, one important personal reason for returning was that he had already been involved from the beginning in offering Elisa’s cybersecurity services to customers. He had kept in touch with his former colleagues, and his heart started to draw him back to the work he had left behind.

He got his old role back, but what it involved had changed a bit – the team had grown significantly in a couple of years and the work had taken a great leap forward. Now, the services that Markus’s team produces can be related to anything from security monitoring to raising awareness of data security issues among corporate customers.

“When I was working at Elisa the first time, we were responsible for getting the cybersecurity centre service started and everything was new. The world is a continuously changing place, and now we are more strongly focused on developing services according to customers’ needs. In a sense, my duties are the same as they were before, but now I’m working more closely with customers so that we can develop our services with a more customer-oriented approach”, says Markus.

Specialists who have come from a variety of companies and large organisations are shaping Elisa’s team into a great combination of solid expertise.

“At the moment, our team has a really extensive range of different skills. The great competences of our team come from a long line of experts who have previously been worked on the customer side, some of them with a decade of experience in large organisations”, explains Markus.

“We’ve also succeeded in attracting young experts just starting out in their careers in areas like cybersecurity analytics. They have both solid expertise and a hunger for and interest in developing. The results of their work are really good, and our customers have given them a lot of praise”, says Markus admiringly.

Why a career in cyber security at Elisa is attractive – two key reasons

1. Opportunities for professional growth

Markus sees Elisa as a great place to work in terms of career development and growth, both for experienced veterans like him and for young specialists just starting out on their careers. There are good career development opportunities within Elisa. For younger people who are not yet 100% sure about the direction their careers will take, this includes opportunities to develop within a different business unit, for example.

“For some people, career development means developing their technological competences, while for others it means investigating data security incidents. For others still, it means something different, like growing in the role of Team Lead. Elisa also has a large background organisation, where there are many different roles. There are good opportunities here for people to change to different parts of the company and find the path that really interests them”, explains Markus.

2. Meaningful data security using modern tools

Elisa’s customers include large corporations and organisations, for whom taking care of data security involves complete protection for services that people all over Finland use every day.

“We have large customers in the energy sector, for example. These days, the services we produce for customers aren’t focused only on detecting security breaches. We carry out investigations, determine the necessary action to take to prevent attacks, and take necessary steps on our customers’ behalf”, says Markus.

Customer orientation lies right at the heart of how Elisa develops its services. Markus’s team has the goal of producing services that customers need, rather than the technology itself being the main part of the service.

“We’re offering a new style of services. As needed, we try to take advantage of solutions that customers are already using, so that they don’t have to pay extra costs. On the other hand, in our work we need to be right on the crest of the wave in terms of technology trends, and we use a lot of new technologies”, says Markus.

Elisa also wants to take advantage of automation as much as possible in handling security incidents. By doing this, it is possible to move away from the work being just about dealing with tickets and focus on the genuinely significant things.

“Elisa has reserved a lot of resources for development. Developing automation brings lots of advantages to us as a company, from the perspective of how meaningful the work is for employees, and to customers as well. When professionals can concentrate on what is genuinely relevant, their passion for their work remains high. We want to give everybody opportunities to make a difference, challenges and variety”, says Markus.