Alex Fung a Foek a day in the life technical consultant (1)

Alex Fung A Foek

Principal Technical Consultant

The Netherlands

A day in the life of a technical cybersecurity engineer...

Looking for your next identity and access management consultant job or considering moving into a technical cybersecurity engineer role? Find out below what a day in the life of an identity and access management consultant involves from Alex – one of our principal technical consultants based at our office in The Netherlands.

Could you give an overview of your career to date?

My degree was in computer science and then I became a Java developer for 10 years, working on security-related products for a large consultancy company. I joined Intragen as an identity and access management consultant in 2008 and over the past 12 years here I have been involved in numerous projects for customers of all sizes.

What led you to a career in identity access management?

Since I was working as a Java developer within the security industry, the switch to becoming an identity and access management consultant at Intragen was a relatively small one. What appealed to me about Intragen however, was the flexibility, freedom and benefits that come from working as part of a small, lean organisation. For example, I can choose to work from home and it’s easy to directly approach the management team with suggestions for how we could do things better or pitch ideas for how we could improve.

What excites you about identity access management and cybersecurity?

I find the work interesting, and the need for customers to get proper security in place is also a good motivation for me. I enjoy the technical challenge of linking multiple systems together – large corporations might have 20-30 applications with different interfaces that we need to join up together, not to mention the volume of identities (in the 100,000s) that we need to manage.

For someone looking to start their career as an identity access management consultant, what advice would you give them?

Usually when people think of identity and access management they think of creating and disabling user accounts on joining and leaving a company, but it is significantly more complex than this, particularly if you incorporate access management and governance. There are lots of use cases to consider, as well as advanced technical details (e.g. segregation of duty).

"My role involves a combination of technical team leadership, solution architecture, hands-on development and discussing the future roadmap with the customer."

Alex Fung A Foek

What skills would you say are important for someone looking to become an identity and access management consultant?

The willingness to learn and take on new topics – it's a large area to operate in and you need to be prepared to dig deep and upskill yourself.

How did you find Intragen?

Ian Yoxall, the CEO, is a close personal friend. I wanted to do something new and Ian was looking for experienced developers, so it was a good match.

What do you enjoy most about working at Intragen and what makes it different to other companies you have worked in?

What I like most about the Intragen culture is the support from my colleagues – they’re awesome! For example, they’re always extremely helpful when we’re put against tight deadlines and encounter challenging technical issues for client projects. The teamwork here is fantastic and activities, such as the annual company meeting where we can all socialise over a beer helps a lot. I also like that the work I do varies greatly. I might not have my head down in code all day anymore as a principal functional consultant, but there are more than enough technical challenges to keep me interested.

What does your current role at Intragen involve?

I am a principal consultant at Intragen and at the moment I am responsible for the technical delivery of a number of projects. However, that doesn't mean that I spend all day in planning sheets; my role involves a combination of technical team leadership, solution architecture, hands-on development and discussing the future roadmap with the customer. I often work as part of multi-country teams with my colleagues from the UK and Finland to build the best solution for the customer, which means I have multiple calls a day to ensure we’re all up-to-speed on what everyone is working on.

“What appealed to me about Intragen was the flexibility, freedom and benefits that come from working as part of a small, lean organisation; for example, it’s easy to directly approach the management team with suggestions for how we could do things better or pitch ideas for how we could improve.”

Alex Fung A Foek

Could you give an overview of what a typical day might look like for you?

My morning usually starts with a standup where I discuss the activities with the team. If there are any urgent issues that need resolving, I take responsibility as the senior on the project to get the team moving forward. After that I usually have my own deliverables for the project. As a principal technical consultant these could include reviewing whether a roadmap for a client is achievable or coming up with a proof-of-concept for a new system we’ve never integrated with before. Lunch at the office sometimes includes our clients or other guests and then I may attend meetings ad-hoc to provide input to the sales team or provide technical help to another project team if needed.

What was your experience of the Intragen Academy and how has this supported you in your role?

Back in the day when I joined, we didn’t have the Intragen Academy. We used to do on-the-job training but soon realised that there was a better approach. So the Academy was created to upskill new consultants without having to do it directly onsite with the client. Due to the complexity of the tooling, on-the-job training also only covers the specific sections used in a project and doesn't provide a new consultant with the bigger picture. One of the key points of the Academy is to make sure we provide new consultants with the best practices we have developed over the years and avoid the mistakes that we have learned the hard way!

What is the most interesting project you have worked on at Intragen?

Two projects in particular come to mind:
- A custom segregation of duty project at a large multinational involving 17 SAP systems with a total of 52 million entitlements across 300,000 identities.
- A privileged account management project for a financial institution, which was directly fed from an identity manager tool to provide session management and password vaulting for 2,700 servers.

Could you give one unknown fact about yourself?

Despite a high number of crashes while racing motorbikes on the track, I have never been seriously injured. I am also a lot older and more experienced than people usually assume I am.

What’s your top recommendation for someone visiting The Netherlands?

I'd recommend visiting Amsterdam on a sunny day in May before it's crowded with tourists. The canals in Amsterdam look like concentric circles. Just pick one (like the Herengracht) and walk it from start to finish; that should give you a good vibe of the city.

Fill in the blank - When I’m not at work, you can find me...

Scuba diving in tropical waters or hiking in a remote part of the world.

Apply to join our team as a technical identity access management consultant

We’re always interested to hear from talented and driven cybersecurity engineers or technical consultants who are ready for their next challenge.

View jobs

Day in the Life

Find out what it’s like to be part of our expert team of identity access management consultants, developers, project managers and sales representatives and pursue a career in cybersecurity.