What I Use to Do What I Do: The Information Security Architect with a Packed Life Getty Images

What I Use to Do What I Do: The Information Security Architect with a Packed Life

Welcome to another installment of "What I Use to Do What I Do," the series in which people talk about how they use hardware and software in all parts of their life -- and what tech they love and hate. Today, we've got an information security architect who switches between different platforms.

Who are you?

I'm Amanda Berlin, in northern Ohio. For my day job, I am an Information Security Architect. I coordinate and consult with our customers to assess their needs and provide solutions for their security issues. I'm also active in the security community. I attend industry conferences as an organizer, volunteer, speaker, and attendee.

I am a single mother of three boys, ages 14, 7, and 4 who are in a range of activities from cross country to cub scouts. I spend my mornings exercising and meditating before starting my day working from my home office. On my off time I enjoy playing with my kids, working on my house, camping, and other outdoor activities. I'm also working on getting my first book published.

Read my security blog here, read my posts on the Security Bloggers Network, or follow me on Twitter here.

Describe your current hardware set-up: What kind of desktop or laptop computer(s) do you work on and what operating system are they running?

I have several. My main work computer is a MacBook pro, my home laptop is a Windows 10 touchscreen Lenovo (both laptops have a random assortment of virtual machines), and my media center is run from a Raspberry Pi with some external storage directly connected.

I also have an 8 TB Network Attached Storage device for backing up data, pictures, and movies. My home office is a standing desk from IKEA with two wall mounted 28" screens.

What desktop apps do you absolutely depend on to do your job?

Splunk, Asana, Zendesk, RingCentral, Google suite (especially mail, calendar, voice, drive), Sublime Text, iterm.

Which desktop apps do you absolutely depend on to do your life?

So many Google products: Mail, Chrome, Calendar, Voice, Drive, Wallet, Blogger, Maps, Hangouts, Contacts. I've totally bought into the Google religion.

Others include Skype, Evernote, Facebook, Tweetdeck, ClearCheckbook.

Which desktop app(s) do you begrudgingly use and why? What would you change about these apps if you could? 

I'm pretty adaptive and don't have many issues with what I currently use.

However I have mixed feelings about Slack. It's a cool interface and app, but when you have more than one channel that you are a member of or want to stay logged into, it gets clunky. I think irccloud does a much better job with multiple channels. (But I'm a fan of the giphy plugin for Slack.)


What's your current mobile set-up? How many different devices do you have and what do you use them for?


I currently have a OnePlus One for my personal device, and an LG for my work phone.

What are your must-have mobile apps? Why?

I have so many, I'll keep it to the top handful.

  • Audible - I used to have an 180 mile round trip daily commute. I still drive a lot to different places, but not nearly as much anymore. When I do I use Audible so I don't get bored and feel like multi-tasking on my phone.  
  • Dropbox - It's where most of my documents reside. As well as the database for my password safe. It's nice that you can encrypt a file and have it show up on all of your devices.
  • Endomondo - I use this for tracking my cardio mostly.
  • Evernote - Great for taking notes and keeping my shopping lists. I can be driving and have an idea for my book or maybe a gift for someone, so I just annotate it into Evernote for later.
  • IRCCloud - Great for staying logged into IRC from a browser/app and not having to be tied to a terminal or client.
  • Pandora - I love listening to different types of music depending on my mood. I have different channels for running, working, meditating, etc.
  • Signal - I had been using Wickr until I reloaded my phone and realized I hadn't saved my password. But after installing Signal I realized how well it integrated with my existing texting process. If someone else that I'm texting is already using it, I can automatically switch over to it.
  • Swiftkey - can't type without it
  • Waze/Google Maps - both have their uses. Waze is nicer for reporting traffic/cops/hazards, but Google Maps is better for me when I'm in a metro area and don't know what lane I need to be in

What cloud-based services do you use and love? How do you use them and why do you love them?

See above. Most of my apps are cloud-based.

What one weird and nonintuitive app or device helps you do your work or your life better?

The Walmart app! It lets you scan each receipt, it checks other local areas for better prices, and it sets up a refund if you ended up paying more for something.

What other tech in your life or household rocks your world?

I love the PS4. I'm not a big gamer, but the difference in ease of use with Netflix/Pandora compared to Chromecast or the Xbox360 is just staggering.


Are you someone who wants to talk about the tech you use for work and life? Do you have strong opinions about the tools you use to get things done? We'd love to feature you -- reach out on Twitter to @lschmeiser or connect with Lisa Schmeiser here.

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