January 17, 2019
Q&A with Kudakwashe “Kuda” Chafa-Govha Senior Cybersecurity Analyst Memorial Healthcare System
What do you do in your role?
We protect information so nothing happens to [patients’ and employees’] privacy, integrity, confidentiality and ensure the systems are always available. From the time that staff log in to their computer, we make sure that they’re doing what they’re supposed to do for work, that they’re doing it securely, that nothing is modified, and everything is kept intact. In short, our duties here at MHS typically include planning and implementing security measures to protect our infrastructure, applications, computer systems, networks and data. We are expected to stay up-to-date on the latest intelligence, including the bad guys' methodologies, in order to anticipate security breaches.
How long have you worked at Memorial and what do you like most about your job?
I’ve worked at Memorial since March 3, 2008. I really enjoy it a lot. It’s not coming to work and getting a paycheck; it’s become part of my life. I know the impact we have. We’re not clinicians, but it’s amazing what we can control with technology. There’s a curiosity to figure out why certain things aren’t working and how certain information is compromised. It’s like a big highway that everybody is trying to drive on but there’s always this person that’s trying to get something. You have to be ahead of the game, so they don’t get something and use it to tarnish the company’s image. It takes one bad thing to happen and that could affect the Memorial Healthcare System. Just that challenge of taking care of Memorial, our patients, and the employees is what keeps me going. I like that challenge.
What attracted you to Memorial?
I was working at a bank in IT security. When Memorial came calling, my recruiter kept coming after me and said, ‘Hey, just give it a try.’ I came in, I interviewed and met all the people and I connected with everything at Memorial. It brought back something my mom had always said about banks compared to healthcare. She always felt, generally speaking, that banks don’t care very much about their employees or people in general. Healthcare is all about people, and I felt the same thing about Memorial. When I met the individuals who were going to be my teammates, I felt very comfortable with them. In addition to that, my daughter was born at Memorial Hospital West. I factored that into my decision as well.
How did you become interested in IT and cybersecurity?
My undergraduate degree is in computer information systems and management from the University of Miami. My graduate degree is in cybersecurity from Liberty University (Virginia). I was always around engineers. My brother and uncles played around with computers. So I grew up around that and I started doing that too. In high school I was in a computer science club. I always thought my major was going to be something in computers or maybe economics. I didn’t go straight into cybersecurity. I did a lot of technical support, a little bit of networking, a little bit of almost everything in IT. Eventually, I started specializing in IT cybersecurity.
Where did you grow up?
I’ve been in the United States since 1996. I was born in Zambia. My dad is from Zimbabwe. My mom’s parents are from Angola. I’ve lived in South Africa and Swaziland, and then I lived in London. Everywhere I go, including my own family, they tell me I have an accent.
What are your interests outside of work?
I’m married with two children, a boy and a girl. I love attending the kids’ events. I go to the gym a lot. I watch college football. I volunteer at events. Ideally, they want us to be here at work at 9 am, so I volunteered at the H.E.R.O. event early in the morning. There was a volunteering schedule that we used to have at one of the fitness centers for Adaptive Swimming. Every last Thursday of the month, I volunteered to help them swim.
How do you feel about Memorial?
It’s like a big family. No matter where I go within the hospital, whether it’s a class I attend or a Memorial event, everything is promoted as family oriented. They’re trying to standardize everything. I think that’s a good thing. Memorial is always trying to see what they can do better, all the time. I helped out Dawn Broksch, Administrative Director of Rehabilitative Services at Memorial Regional Hospital. I got a handwritten postcard thanking me. She appreciated my help. I didn’t realize how much impact I had, but I was impressed. It tells you how Memorial is.
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