CISO, Culture David Fairman: Why I Joined Netskope
Jul 09 2020

David Fairman: Why I Joined Netskope

Over the course of my career, I’ve traveled the world and held some great roles with some wonderful companies. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet amazing people, both personally and professionally, and have been given some career-defining opportunities, for which I am truly grateful. The last 15 years have cemented me in the world of banking and finance, but now I find myself getting back to my roots in the technology industry. And as one would expect from any significant career move, I’ve had a lot of friends and former colleagues ask why I made the change and why I decided to join Netskope. 

Here’s why:

To be honest, I’ve always known that at some point I would change industries. Some of the best security executives I’ve met are those who have had a diverse range of experiences across multiple sectors. I’m of the mind that breadth gives you different perspectives and this diversity of perspective is important to me as a cybersecurity professional.

Of course, the timing around these career moves is always a bit of an unknown, but in recent years I’ve found myself more involved, and interested, in the investor services and venture capital teams within the banking world. This shift in my interests allowed me to get close to the tech community, especially in the Bay Area and Israel, where I was able to meet some incredible companies with great founders and help them build solutions that really made a difference. The benefit of this exposure is that it allowed me to be an early adopter of many solutions that are now well known in the cybersecurity and fraud technology arena. Even more so, the privilege of being an early adopter allowed me to not only be part of the journey for many technology companies as they evolved their solutions, but also influence their growth as they helped me with my company’s needs.

As I contemplated what was next for me (short of living on a beach in the Caribbean somewhere doing lots of diving!), a move into the technology sector was very appealing. That’s when I reconnected with Sanjay Beri, the CEO and founder of Netskope. Sanjay and I had met many years earlier in my time as the Royal Bank of Canada’s CISO, and I’d always liked his vision with respect to data protection and cloud security. I mentioned to Sanjay that I was contemplating a move out of banking and welcomed his thoughts. We started to broadly explore what that move might look like and that turned into what it might look like if I were to join Netskope. 

From there, I connected with Jason Clark, Chief Strategy Officer at Netskope, who I have known for over 10 years, and have become good friends with. We’re both passionate about giving back to the cybersecurity community, which had led us both to become founding members of the Security Advisory Alliance many years ago.

As I’ve come to realize, and many will agree, company culture and people are the most important cornerstones of a company. From my previous experience with their team, Netskope passed that test with flying colors. Beyond that, what really convinced me to join rested on the strength of Netskope’s vision and how well the company was executing.

I’d seen Netskope advance from the early days and could see that they were focused on solving some big challenges facing the security industry. Enterprise technology had been changing for years due to the macro trends of mobile and cloud computing, and while Netskope laid out a vision that aligned with what we now think of as SASE (Secure Access Service Edge). This kind of holistic platform approach wasn’t something I was really seeing elsewhere across the industry.

All things considered, my decision to join Netskope was an easy one. In my role, I’m delighted that I get to continue to drive innovation, whether that be with Netskope or in how our customers address their challenges. It also gives me an opportunity to engage with partners to tackle larger problems that are better solved as an ecosystem. Ultimately, I also see an opportunity through Netskope to help build solutions and services that will make the digital economy a safer place to do business and perform transactions. And finally, it’s refreshing that I get to do all of that while having some fun with some really great people!

The next step for me at Netskope is to get out and talk with my peers in the industry. If we’ve not been in touch, let’s talk! You can reach me via normal channels like email or LinkedIn. I’d love to chat about what you’re going through, share how this next chapter is unfolding for me, and how you’re looking at your next chapter as well. 

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About the author
David Fairman is an experienced CSO/CISO, strategic advisory, investor and coach. He has extensive experience in the global financial services sector. In 2015, David was named as one of the Top 10 CISOs to know, and is seen as a thought leader in the cyber security industry as profiled by K-Logix.
David Fairman is an experienced CSO/CISO, strategic advisory, investor and coach. He has extensive experience in the global financial services sector. In 2015, David was named as one of the Top 10 CISOs to know, and is seen as a thought leader in the cyber security industry as profiled by…