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Profiles in networking: Puneet Mehta

A series of occasional profiles on networking professionals who stand out from the pack continues with security systems architect Puneet Mehta, who advises networking professionals to never have a false sense of security.

Puneet Mehta

Name: Puneet Mehta

Lives: Norwalk, Conn.

Title: Security architect for enterprise security systems provider SBG Corp.

Age: 26

Education: BA in business studies, University of Delhi; master's in management information systems, University of Delhi.

Got started in the business when: I began as a system administrator working on enterprise networks, and from there gradually began to learn more about security and soon I became immersed in it.

Toughest networking crisis: One company had hired us to break into their network from the outside. But not everyone knew that we were trying to do this. So we were all in a nearby hotel, when there was a knock on the door. It was the local police. The system people had traced us back to the hotel and the police wanted to know what we were up to. Luckily, we had all the authorization papers with us so no one went to jail.

Favorite piece of hardware or software: I love to sniff a lot. To me the underlying technology is more important than the box. I like to know what is happening and how. That gets me motivated to learn.

Non-computer job experience: I've never had a job that wasn't related to computers.

Hobbies: As much as it is a hobby, working with Internet security organizations.

Favorite song: Anything by Pearl Jam

Favorite movie: "The Saint"

Favorite book: "Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government Saving Privacy in the Digital Age," by Steven Levy

Networking mentor: Jayesh Laad. I met him at my first job, and though he was more senior than me, he always treated me as an equal. He taught me about networks and always encouraged me to learn. To this day, if I face a problem I go to him for advice.

Advice for new networking administrators: Never have a false sense of security. People think that because things are behind a firewall they are safe, but the statistics show that most hacks come from within the company itself. You have to keep your eyes open all the time.

What do you like best about your career: It keeps you on your toes and it brings out the best in you. It is really about how open you are to things and how aware you are of everything you need to know.

What do you like the least: This is a thankless job. People just don't appreciate what you've done at the end of the day because you are preventing something from happening.

Know a networking professional you'd like to see profiled? Send your nominations to News Writer Jim Rendon.

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