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Xavier Magazine | March 29, 2017

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Profile: Silka Gonzalez

Profile: Silka Gonzalez
Ursula Miller

SILKA GONZALEZ
BSBA, computer information systems and accounting, 1984
President and founder, Enterprise Risk Management
Miami

Secure Business | Gonzalez founded Enterprise Risk Management in 1998 to provide security and auditing services for information systems to a wide variety of domestic and international businesses.

Right Place, Right Time | Gonzalez’ career has coincided almost precisely with the worldwide computerization of the home and workplace, as well as the evolution of the Internet. She had twin degrees in computer information systems and accounting, which was unusual in the early 1980s. The combination along with her work experience gave her a strong foundation from which to create her business. “The timing was good,” she says. “We had been in this booming era of technology, but no one was paying much attention to security and controls. I was able to grow with it as those problems emerged. I was at the right place at the right time.”

Security Concerns | “I don’t think people took technical controls very seriously 20 years ago. I have seen the progression through the years to where it’s become extremely important for organizations. We’ve seen the changes in both state and federal laws related to security and privacy. Everyone is paying attention. If you look at identity theft, everyone is worried about that.”

Organized Crime Online | “Incremental security breaches have been growing in an incredible way in the last three years. That, to me, is alarming. There are internal personnel doing things they aren’t supposed to do, but now we’re seeing organized crime from overseas—places like Romania, China, Russia. People aren’t paying enough attention to it.”

User Beware | Gonzalez is very cautious about using credit cards online for fear of security breaches. “My colleagues call me paranoid.” Paranoia in the IT security business, though, is understandable. After all, Gonzalez spends her days hunting down hackers who break into computer systems to steal sensitive private information from people and companies. Her advice: “Don’t throw anything in the garbage. Shred everything. You need to be very careful.”

Family Influence | Moving to Cincinnati from Puerto Rico for college at age 16 was a big move for Gonzalez, who struggled her first year at Xavier because of the language barrier. “It was a big change,” she says. “Cincinnati was very different from Puerto Rico.” But Xavier offered a Jesuit education that was important to Gonzalez’ mother and a relatively unique program in information systems. “I wanted to major in something related to computers and there was no such bachelor’s degree in Puerto Rico.”

Honors | Gonzalez was part of the South Florida Business Journal’s Inaugural Class of Most Influential Business Women in 2002.

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