In the latest edition of Life @ Netskope we sat down with Shannon Agarwal (Pronouns – She/Her), a Security Operations Engineer here at Netskope. Shannon has been with Netskope for nearly two years and she has not only been an integral part of Netskope’s push for FedRAMP High compliance but she has also been responsible for the last year of Pride month programming. We sat down with Shannon to talk about exciting projects on the horizon as well as her programming for Pride Month and beyond. Here’s our conversation:
What’s your favorite aspect about working at Netskope?
One thing that I really like about Netskope and my team is the understanding that we have around flexibility. We’re a very well-managed team within our own verticals individually. Obviously, you know, we all get our work done, but there’s no anxiety or stress around if you have to go to an appointment. There is no questioning, “Am I going to be able to make it during work hours? Is this OK? Is that not OK? Or am I going to be viewed in a negative sense?” I’ve felt anxiety around that kind of thing at a lot of the previous companies that I was with. What I like about the culture here is that there’s trust in me and trust in my team to effectively communicate. Saying, hey, I had to run out for an appointment, you know, is it OK, I’ll take care of this evening or later this afternoon, you know, kind of thing. And usually, there’s no pressure around that. And if there’s an escalation, then I will do what I need to do to take care of it.
Why is Pride and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion education so important to the tech and cybersecurity sector?
Unfortunately there’s a huge tech-bro culture that’s out there, right? And I try to be sensitive to this kind of thing, but there are people out there coming from different walks of life who are being overlooked and that can bring different ways of thinking or different ideas. Sometimes folks get overlooked because of their gender expression, where they’re from, or because of their cultural background. And that means missing out on great opportunities to be open-minded to people that are different and I think there’s more work that needs to be done there to make the industry more inclusive. For example, a lot of companies have changed the language they use, like blacklist and whitelist. Now it’s allow list and block list or do not allow list. We need to be sensitive about the language we’re using, not just publicly, but we also have to live and breathe that internally. I think that’s the only way you’re going to see real change.
What are you hoping to cover with this Pride Month programming and beyond?
Last year was more of an introduction to Pride and Pride history. This year’s programming is going to be based more around fun. We’re doing a Pride-themed meditation and Pride trivia and I’m also working on getting a speaker approved to come and talk about the five key areas around becoming more inclusive for the LGTBQ+ community. Some of these key areas include awareness around the state of LGBTQ folks in the workplace, understanding the importance of inclusion, recognizing how microaggressions can build up, concrete steps we can take to make the workplace more inclusive, and how we can put these steps into practice and reinforce them enterprise-wise. As we grow, something I want to do is bring a new topic of discussion, potentially even in a quarterly session, as many of these topics don’t exclusively apply to Pride.
What excites you about your future with Netskope?
Diversity and inclusion are important to me because it’s about creating opportunities for all genders, cultures, and ethnicities, and it is critical for an organization like Netskope’s ability to innovate, grow, and adapt in a fast-paced environment. Diversity is essential to the growth and prosperity of any company: diversity of perspectives, experiences, cultures, genders, and age ultimately leads to innovation and success. I am hoping to see that type of diversity here as we grow at Netskope. I also enjoy being part of the bigger projects that we have going on right now. We’re in the process of going for FedRAMP High and being a part of those architecture reviews, the testing, the building of that environment, and seeing how that grows has been really exciting. I’m hoping to see a diverse team as we grow for FedRAMP High and bring that diversity, experience, and perspective to Netskope.