Sarah Gilbert, Signing Tech. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Microsoft’s Singing Tech On Cybersecurity And The Public Sector

Opera singer uses her talents to sing on both a physical and digital stage

– Clayton Moore

Sausalito, Calif. – Jul. 15, 2020

Sarah Gilbert can hit a high note. The @SigningTech is Microsoft’s community technical manager for the public sector where her voice is heard by an audience of more than 250,000 IT professionals.

Before she transitioned into technology and worked at companies including GoDaddy and LinkedIn, while cultivating communities at organizations such as Code Like a Girl, Gilbert was a dramatic soprano — performing at famous venues across the globe.

For someone who came from humble roots, Gilbert has made extraordinary accomplishments an everyday part of life. After studying as a scholarship recipient at Northern Arizona University and earning a bachelor’s in fine arts (BFA) in music, she attended the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Mass. and obtained a master’s degree with a focus on the operatic arts.

Cybercrime Radio: Gothic Opera Singer in Tech

Cybersecurity plays a big role at Microsoft

Upon graduation, Gilbert became a highly valued player performing for years at opera companies around the world. So why on earth would such a talent walk away from that life?

Living out of a suitcase isn’t that much fun as one grows a little older, and eventually Gilbert wanted to put down some roots in the U.S. Because most people see opera as an art and technology as a science, you might think transitioning from one to the other would be incredibly difficult, but Gilbert says it’s not the case, not only for her but other artists as well.

“There are a lot of similarities between technology and music — more than you might think,” she says in a recent podcast interview with Cybercrime Magazine. “For example, musicians are really good at pattern recognition, which is a skill that lends itself really well to programming and other technical roles.”

At Microsoft, she performs a wide variety of tasks that help engage the company’s constituents and its loyal community of users, ranging from blog and content curation to editing and revising public facing content to promoting and facilitating AMAs (Ask Me Anything, similar to those found on sites like Reddit but focusing on Microsoft’s products, technology, strategies and other valuable information).

Cybercrime and cybersecurity play a big role in the day-to-day operations at Microsoft, especially in a community role like Gilbert’s.

“Cybersecurity is an important part of the public sector and for me, one subject just folds into the other,” she explains. “For the public sector specifically, cybersecurity knowledge and keeping up to date is very important especially with today’s landscape because it helps to prevent and prepare for those threats that we are going to inevitably face.”

Gilbert has done a lot of work managing and moderating very large communities of technical experts but the public sector is just what it sounds like: out in the open.

So why should all of us be concerned about who’s paying attention to how we’re communicating with each other in public?

“It’s important to keep up with cybersecurity in modern-day society because it impacts you so much today, from things like protecting your sensitive information to making sure your systems are operating at the speed they should be and just keeping things efficient,” Gilbert says. “Also, the risk for cybersecurity is increasing as there is more global connectivity and use of cloud services so we have to be very careful about sensitive data and personal information and that’s a huge concern for anybody working in the public sector.”

Gilbert, known on Twitter as the Gothic Opera Singer in Tech, graced us with a professional operatic performance featuring an aria from the legendary composer George Frideric Handel. Give the podcast a listen for a soul-stirring performance.

Clayton Moore Archives

– Clayton Moore is a Cybercrime Magazine freelance writer.