Episode Recap

Doug and Mike each held roles in sales, product, and marketing before taking on leadership positions in their respective cybersecurity companies. It’s given them a holistic perspective, which they both believe has been invaluable.

  • In Doug’s opinion, one of the CEO’s most important jobs is to make others feel included. In a company with so many functions and contributors, a leader must have the empathy and experience to appreciate value added by all employees. A multidisciplinary background helps nurture this kind of empathy.
  • Mike suggests exposing oneself to as many business functions as possible before assuming a generalist role. Diversity of thought, expression, and experience pays dividends when it comes to leadership. For example, Splunk’s ability to adapt and remain competitive through the evolution of the data landscape is largely due to its customer-centric practice. A deep, multidisciplinary understanding of its customers’ rapidly evolving needs has allowed the company to adapt quickly and remain best-in-class. Looking forward, industry professionals will need a holistic perspective to navigate the increasingly overlapping roles of analyst, admin, and engineer. 

Like most industries, cybersecurity has been irreversibly changed by the pandemic. How has Covid-19 changed the industry, and what opportunities for innovation has it unveiled?

    • What’s changed? Entire infrastructures have transitioned to online overnight. Slow-moving organizations have been forced to accelerate timelines and fast-track the transition to cloud-based systems. 
    • What does this mean for cybersecurity? As huge swaths of the workforce have moved online, the traditional perimeter has disappeared. Employees are dialing-out on the same (insecure) networks that support Xboxes and TVs, and their personal devices have not been screened in months. 
    • Where’s the opportunity? We may never go back to the office fully, now that we know virtual collaboration is a workable alternative. But as restrictions relax, companies returning to work will face the gargantuan task of securing and updating their employees’ devices. This problem presents an opportunity for startups that can facilitate security and software updates. New online devices (smart homes, thermostats, gaming consoles, etc.) bring with them new inroads for hackers. The complexity introduced by each device (most of which have distinct operating systems) presents myriad opportunities for advancement in hardware security.

Rapid-fire: Doug and Mike quickly answer the following questions:

  • How will the move to 5G impact the perimeter and the IT industry generally?
  • Privacy: who owns the issue and how should we address it?
  • Are security breaches inevitable?
  • Why should listeners consider a career in cybersecurity?