Among the vast array of firms competing to win in multiple cloud security markets, Netskope consistently impressed me. Not only with its technology but also with its ways of doing business and engaging with its communities. But let me start from the beginning…
“On a windy Virginia Beach night in mid-1960s February, a young expectant mother and her engineer husband braved the cold in their ghost-gray Pontiac Catalina as they…
…*ahem* let me start again…
My first security-related project was to configure a firewall when I connected a utility company’s corporate network to the Internet in 1995. I didn’t think much more about security until a couple of years into my career as a consultant with Microsoft’s telecommunications services practice. Lots of telcos were placing Microsoft software on the internet in the early 2000s; someone had to determine how (or whether) that rickety stuff could remain protected. I decided that someone would be me.
Eventually, I migrated to Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group, during which time I traveled the globe convincing people that “Windows security” wasn’t an oxymoron and co-wrote a moderately successful trade book on the subject. I joined Amazon Web Services for a brief stint right when the cloud began to materialize. I set before myself a similar goal: to ensure cloud security became a serious and worthwhile endeavor.
Wanting to head my career toward a different path, I joined the CTO office at Riverbed Technology. There, I met Mark Day and many other fine individuals from whom I learned to really enjoy what it is that CTO office types do. After that, I returned to the security realm as a Gartner analyst researching and writing about public cloud security. While many businesses have made their peace with the cloud and derive security benefits from it, others remain wary that storing their data on someone else’s computer can ever be secure.
Ever since my first SAS day in 2016, there are things I’ve always admired about Netskope, whether that’s the people, the way the product is evolving, or the way Netskope is positioning itself in the market. Netskope also aligns with the goal that has always been at the front of mind: protecting data and users regardless of where it and they may roam.
All of these things retained my interest, which is why when I had a conversation with my former Riverbed colleague Mark Day, now Netskope’s Chief Scientist, and identified the kinds of things I wanted to work on, the determination was made to bring me into the office of the CTO as Field CTO.
In my role as Field CTO, I can help influence and interact with just about every department across the organization, if I use my diplomatic skills correctly. When I was an analyst, I relied on Netskope for data and product questions. Now, I can pull from that experience to help give our analyst relations the perspective and edge that will help make them indispensable to the broader analyst community.
This kind of interaction across departments, to offer input, and help move projects along is what I really enjoy doing and what worked well for me at Microsoft, Riverbed, and elsewhere. Now that I am here, with people I know from my time at Riverbed and beyond, it feels a bit like returning home to something familiar. Being able to make that kind of difference for a company in Netskope’s unique position is what makes me happy and gets me excited about coming in to work every day. No longer content to pontificate from the sidelines, I can participate more directly—now, here I am.