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2021 Ada Lovelace Honoree
Ragashree M C “Securing the Cloud and the future” 

raga

At the age of 24, Ragashree M C (Raga) is a mentor and an inspiration to her peers. Having already filed one Intellectual Property Rights application with the US Patent Office on solving complex security problems in the cloud, authoring numerous white papers that have been published and presented at multiple international forums such as CNCF, OWASP and HPE TechCon, she is not one to rest on her laurels. Currently, she is working on proactive and holistic security solutions that could be a genuine game changer in the industry.  

So, how is it that a woman who grew up surrounded by nature and wildlife, came to embrace technology and security with such passion and aptitude?  

“I'm from a small Indian town called Srirangapatna in Karnataka, India. There was limited access to telephones, let alone any computing devices. At the age of 14, I got my hands on a Nokia 1100 phone. My joy had no bounds, and it sparked the curiosity in me, which I later decided to purse as a career.”  

Although Raga had already enrolled to study biology, she switched her major to Computer Science and Engineering for her bachelor’s degree. It was during this time that she was to meet someone who would set her on a very specific path.

raga

“My first exposure to the field of information security was when I enrolled for a Certified Ethical Hacker Workshop by one of the world's top hackers, Sunny Vaghela. I realized that with all the possibilities of computing came risk and danger. This shook me personally, and the trauma relatable since I had lived through domestic abuse and violence. So, this steered my interest towards the field of information security, to make the world a better and secure place for all of us.”

Raga’s first taste of the commercial world was at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), in the role of Solutions Architect. While in this role, she was also a core contributor in HPE’s Security Community, HPE Enterprise Solutions Inclusion & Diversity group and HPE Bangalore Social Impact group, and thus continued to pursue her interest in these domains. And far from being discouraged, Raga had a very strong supporter in her corner.

“I can definitely say that my mother is my role model. She is a triple graduate herself (M.Sc, M.Phil). The way she persisted, strived and thrived throughout these years is commendable. She continuously inspires and supports me to go above and beyond my capabilities and to make a mark in this world.”

When Raga is not ensuring end-to-end security for one of world’s largest private clouds, she is one of the core members of the Bangalore StrongHer community – an employee-driven organization focused on inclusion and diversity across Nokia and the community.

“Diversity in STEM fields can provide opportunities for economic improvement and social development. Knowledge, experience, and innovation can exponentially increase diversity and inclusion practices.” [1]

Raga & her mother

“This stemmed from my university days. I strongly believe women have greater potential to make an impact in the field of Science and Technology. Educating the masses is the first and foremost step towards this feat. I was an education support volunteer at a non-profit non-government organization focused on providing education services and mentorship to underprivileged children - especially girls. I was motivated to spread the knowledge that I had and learn in the process, to benefit the community as a whole.”

Hungry for knowledge and giving back seems to come naturally to Raga, extending beyond technology and people. Her love of nature and animals in particular, is demonstrated through her actions in how she lives her life and chooses to spend her time.

With her animals

“I am a vegan and I love all forms of animals. So naturally, one of the interests I have is animal welfare. I am associated with a some of the rescue organizations here in Bangalore, caring for the animals in need and spreading the knowledge about the ethical treatment of animals, the balance between humans and non-humans on the planet. It is my way of giving back to planet Earth and this gives me a sense of purpose and makes me feel alive.”

During a relatively short time with Nokia, Raga has already made her mark. The recognition she has received so early in her career is unparalleled: Nominated as CNCF Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Security Community manager, Nokia Business RECOGNIZE Award, CNCF Sponsorship to present research whitepaper at Cloud Native Security Con, KubeCon, North America Global Conference 2021. Before joining Nokia she was the youngest person in Hewlett Packard Enterprise to receive the "Yes We Can" 2020 award, an initiative by Antonio Neri, CEO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The list goes on…

It is clear that Raga has a unique relationship with security. A relationship that goes way beyond the pragmatism of cyber-security and into every living being.

“While we accelerate the technological advancements on an exponential gradient, I aim to build a safe and secure environment. I achieve this from the technology perspective via enhanced security solutions for all digital products, and educating the wider user community, on security best practices and innovations. And for the non-humans by promoting veganism, and the ethical treatment of animals.”

It is rare to come across such an accomplished individual at such a young age. And at 24, who knows what she will achieve in years to come? Those who know and work with her quote a number of qualities that set her apart. A mindset that is constantly on the lookout for innovation, speed of execution and perfection. These by themselves, would serve anyone well. But when you add to these a passion for learning, perseverance, and inspiration, you have the ingredients of invention.

We warmly welcome Raga to the prestigious list of remarkable women who are now Nokia Ada Lovelace Honorees. And look forward to the possibilities that she brings to the world of security, in all its guises.

[1] https://www.computerscience.org/resources/diversity-inclusion-in-stem/