Skip to Content

Women in Security Feature: Nisha Advani – ‘I’ve strived to open doors”

Women in Security Feature: Nisha Advani – ‘I’ve strived to open doors” Advani, AVP of business development at Cybage Software, talks industry parallels, industry views and more in an SSN exclusive

Women in Security Feature: Nisha Advani – ‘I’ve strived to open doors for others like me”

YARMOUTH, Maine—Nisha Advani is a seasoned professional with a diverse background in the security and technology industries.

With a foundation in software engineering, she transitioned her career path to explore her passion for marketing and sales. Challenging herself out of her comfort zone professionally and personally, she moved from India to the United States to obtain an MBA, equipping her with a well-rounded skill set that combines technical prowess with strategic business acumen.

Nisha AdvaniDuring her tenure at dormakaba Americas as associate vice president, strategic marketing & business development, Advani was responsible for bringing insights on market and economic trends, assessing new business opportunities, serving as a business partner in strategic planning processes, and delivering key strategic communication, contributing to the company’s growth and market presence.

Currently, as associate vice president, business development at Cybage Software, Advani seamlessly combines her technical acumen and business strategy to drive growth and cultivate strategic partnerships through mainstream adoption of newer technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, empowering Cybage’s new and existing customers to leverage these in their businesses.

Advani’s commitment extends beyond her professional responsibilities. A passionate proponent of diversity, equity, and inclusion, she has championed initiatives that foster a more inclusive environment in corporate and academic settings. Her mentorship initiatives underscore her belief in paying it forward and nurturing a more diverse, empowered, and empathetic workforce. Advani has been actively engaged with the SIA RISE community and the Women in Security Forum (WISF), where she enjoys the mutual learning and networking opportunities.

As part of Security Systems News’ and the Security Industry Association (SIA) Women in Security Forum’s (WISF’s) continuing series highlighting the contributions of women in security, the following is an exclusive Q&A with Advani:

SSN: What is your current position and what is your role and responsibilities?

Advani: I am responsible for driving growth and cultivating strategic partnerships through mainstream adoption of newer technologies such as Artificial Intelligence. This involves combining technical acumen and business strategy to empower Cybage’s new and existing customers to leverage these technologies to grow their businesses.

SSN: How did you get into and what inspired you to stay in the security industry?

Advani: With my very recent transition from dormakaba to Cybage, I am back to my roots in technology. That said, I stumbled upon the opportunity to join the security industry shortly after my MBA in 2020, with my position at dormakaba. I took the plunge into an industry I was unfamiliar with but grew to admire.

Like many millennials, I look for purpose in my work. As I immersed myself in the industry, I realized that it’s not just about creating systems that balance security with convenience; it’s about making a tangible impact on people’s lives. Whether it’s enhancing security measures in commercial buildings, schools, or hospitals, or implementing access controls that safeguard sensitive areas, every touch point has the potential to create a safer environment and a better user experience.

I continue to be inspired by the potential for innovation and the ongoing advancements in technology. The rapid evolution of access control systems and the integration of smart solutions feed my desire to continue to contribute to the advancement of the security industry.

SSN: What has your journey been like in a primarily male-dominated and historically non-diverse security industry?

Advani: My perspective has been uniquely shaped by my experiences across the tech and security industries, both of which have been predominantly male. Though tech is perceived to be more advanced when it comes to DE&I as compared to security, my observation, regardless of industries is the tapering of the numbers the higher up you go. Despite women comprising around 30 percent of the workforce, the representation at the executive and senior management levels remains disproportionately low, hovering at approximately 10 percent. This stark disparity urges me to actively contribute to reshaping the landscape.

Entering these industries, I recognized the importance of breaking down barriers and creating avenues for advancement. The lack of representation has deepened my commitment to not just surviving, but thriving, and leading by example. Through mentorship, networking, and spearheading initiatives that promote DE&I, I’ve strived to open doors for others like me, while also being the beneficiary of the efforts of the many women who have paved the way before me.

My journey has been marked by challenges, but also by significant growth and resilience. Every obstacle has only served to prove that diversity isn’t just a concept, but a powerful catalyst for progress, leading to more innovation and better business outcomes. As I continue to climb the ladder and broaden my impact, I’m deeply committed to empowering others to join me in shaping our future, making it a place where diversity is not just a goal, but a lived reality.

SSN: What have you found most challenging working in the security industry and how did you overcome it?

Advani: My challenges primarily stemmed from entering an intricate and vastly complex field that I was unfamiliar with. As a newcomer, I faced the daunting task of navigating a landscape that required a deep understanding of technical intricacies and industry dynamics.

One of the most effective strategies I employed was leaning in on the expertise of those who had been in the industry for years. I recognized the power of learning from those who had successfully weathered its challenges and understood its nuances. Their mentorship and guidance provided me with invaluable insights that accelerated my learning curve. The power of collaboration between youth and experience became evident as I worked alongside industry veterans; I unlocked tremendous value in combining their wealth of knowledge with my fresh perspectives.

Over time, I began to bridge the gap between my initial unfamiliarity and growing experience in the security industry. Further, the support and collaboration through SIA, particularly through RISE and WISF, were pivotal in me establishing a connect within the industry more broadly. The challenges that once seemed insurmountable gradually transformed into opportunities for growth. My journey underscores the importance of seeking out diverse perspectives and proactive outreach, especially in fields that demand a multidimensional approach.

SSN: Have you had any role models who have helped you out along the way that you would like to mention?

Advani: Throughout my professional journey, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had mentors and role models who have not only inspired me but have also provided me invaluable guidance that has fueled my progress.

Through the TIME mentorship program, I met Josh Cummings (EVP, technology at Paladin Technologies). Josh’s dedication to excellence, coupled with his unwavering commitment to nurturing up and coming talent with empathy and unparalleled compassion reflect the leader I aspire to be.

Another influential figure whose commitment to fostering diversity serves as a beacon, is Maureen Carlo (global director, strategic partnerships at Arcules). Her ability to navigate the complexities of the industry with grace and resilience, while lifting other women up, has motivated me to persevere in the face of my own challenges.

I’m also fortunate to call Rick Zimmerman (AVP, sales performance and integration partnerships at dormakaba) a friend and a mentor. His openness, humility, and willingness to candidly share his own ups and downs to serve my learning, has made my journey so much more enriching. While I have mentioned these individuals, there are many, many others, each having painted their unique brush stroke on my canvas that is today a colorful montage of lessons, insights, and inspiration.

SSN: What advice would you give other women thinking about getting into the industry or just starting out in the industry?

Advani: First and foremost, remember that you have the power to be the change you want to see. If you want to see more women in the industry, bring them in. Embrace this chance to break barriers, drive diversity, and leverage your unique voice as a woman in security to write the script for the future.

Secondly, give back to community more than you take; it is so much more fulfilling. Mentorship is a two-way street – be a mentee and a mentor; allyship works across the board – find allies and be an ally for the underrepresented. The power of collective growth is immense, and by lifting each other up, we can create a stronger, more inclusive environment for everyone.

In this industry, you’ll encounter incredible women who are doing remarkable things. However, it’s important to acknowledge that there may be instances where insecurities lead some to take others down. Remember that the zero-sum mindset isn’t true; success isn’t limited to a few spots. Because there are fewer of us, the perception is that space is limited; whereas reality is that by supporting each other, we can collectively create more space for everyone to excel.

Ultimately, let’s focus on lifting each other up. The men and women in this industry are some of the most amazing humans I’ve had the privilege to meet, and our collective strength is boundless. By embracing collaboration, mentorship, and camaraderie, we’ll continue to shape the future into a more inclusive, vibrant, and empowering space for all.

SSN: What are your views on the industry moving forward, both from a diversity perspective and a technology and business perspective during these unpredictable times?

Advani: The historically uniform fabric of the security industry has been steadily transforming into a vibrant tapestry of diverse talents and voices. I’d encourage those reading this to think about how your company is capitalizing on this demographic dividend. Are you leading the change? Are you a fast follower? Wherever you are in your journey, we can all acknowledge that there is a growing recognition of the need to compose together a medley of thoughts, backgrounds, and perspectives to drive innovation and create more effective solutions.

Looking ahead, security as we know it is undoubtedly at an inflection point. As stewards of safety, the industry bears a crucial responsibility to adapt and evolve in the face of uncertainty. This has opened doors to new possibilities. Personally, I entered this industry with a tech mentality, recognizing the power of innovation in shaping our future.

The convergence of physical security and technological advancements in access control holds immense potential for creating smarter, more responsive security solutions. This is particularly relevant during uncertain times, when the demand for adaptable security solutions has never been greater.

SSN: What do you feel are the top trends, issues or challenges facing the security industry today?

Advani: The security industry is standing at a pivotal juncture where the dynamics are rapidly shifting. The next disruption is often just another idea away. While the industry’s roots are strong, relying solely on what has worked in the past won’t suffice. The era of pushing the envelope on innovation being limited to R&D labs has passed. Innovation is now a collective effort, requiring us to harness our creativity and expertise.

Partnership stands out as a central pillar in our journey forward. Collaboration both within and beyond the industry is paramount. By fostering strategic alliances, we can pool resources, insights, and talents to develop holistic solutions that address complex challenges. This collaborative spirit enables us to tackle issues that are often beyond the scope of individual organizations.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has transitioned from being a mere concept to our everyday reality. Its potential to revolutionize the security landscape is immense, with use cases limited only by our imagination. AI-driven analytics, predictive modeling, and real-time decision-making are redefining how we approach security. This technology enables us to create more proactive, efficient, and responsive systems.

However, as we forge ahead, we must address the critical aspect of data privacy and governance. Our strides in technology should be balanced by a commitment to protecting individual privacy and safeguarding sensitive information. Striking this equilibrium will be essential to maintain trust and ensure the responsible and ethical use of innovative solutions.

In conclusion, the top trends, challenges, and issues facing the security industry today demand a holistic approach. Embracing innovation, partnership, and ethical practices will enable us to navigate disruptions, harness the power of AI, and address complex challenges. By collectively pushing boundaries, we have the opportunity to shape a safer, more interconnected future.


To comment on this post, please log in to your account or set up an account now.