Everyone knows the uneasy feeling you get when there is uncertainty in a situation; for many students, this uncertainty can stem from not knowing what our post-grad future will look like. A lucky few won’t fear whether graduation will be followed by a full-time job, but there are more out there who probably couldn’t tell you what having a career in their field actually means, or even what they want it to mean. Heading into my final year as a cybersecurity student at Maryville University, I still felt a little directionless when asked about my career path. I knew I wanted to be in security, but I didn’t know how that was supposed to look or how I would like it to look. Internships, if done correctly, are the solution for students like me who need to engage with various functional groups within our field, provide value to a company, and complement my post-secondary education with experiences that mimic those I’ll see throughout my career. Netskope’s internship program perfectly fit my needs and was a major vehicle in driving me towards the career path I have chosen.
The internship rotation
I joined Netskope in September of 2021 as a Security Operations Intern, the first of many that will come through the pipeline from Maryville University as a result of their recent partnership. I handled a wide range of tasks and cycling through rotations with various functional security groups such as Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) and Threat & Vulnerability Management (TVM). These experiences allowed me to narrow down what role I would like to see myself in post-graduation. With a bird’s-eye view of the team’s structure and collaborating with many of these teams, I saw how security efforts integrate with other business operations. Moreover, I developed an understanding of how my involvement had an impact on the day-to-day efforts at Netskope.
The support network surrounding me was critical to facilitating a healthy environment in which I was empowered to seek out learning opportunities and reflect on them. Everyone I met at Netskope wanted to see me succeed and made themselves available for me to ask questions or just enquire about their life and career experiences. Regular check-ins with my internship manager at Maryville helped me understand how areas like emotional intelligence and intercultural fluency are critical to success in the business world, and how I am already encountering those skills coming into play, even as an intern.
Although my internship was rotation-based, it was an out-of-band experience that captured my interest in what I could see myself doing long-term within the cybersecurity field. Despite not being planned as a rotation most interns would engage with, the Tech Alliances team heard there were several security interns within the company, and sought out a few of us to help work on the Cloud Exchange.
The Cloud Exchange experience
The Cloud Exchange, in short, allows you to connect Netskope to other tools in your security stack to share different types of data, such as alerts, tickets, and indicators of compromise. There is much more that goes into how the platform works, but up until that point there had been little focus on the Cloud Exchange by the security team and the Customer Zero program, so I was heading into something which was always going to provide more questions than answers.
But by not being afraid to learn about something that was mysterious to many of the others around me, I was able to lay the foundations for this situation to change. After several months of building plugins for the Cloud Exchange and many hours of calls and chat messages with members of the Tech Alliances team, I became the security team’s subject matter expert on the Cloud Exchange. My presence was now an asset to our Customer Zero initiative, as I could expand its knowledge base and open new avenues that our security team can explore to further enhance our operations.
This effort culminated in an opportunity for our team to begin collaborating with our customers and partners and bring more value to those relationships through the Cloud Exchange. This particular plugin was released in June 2022, and I believe it marks a significant shift in how Netskope Cloud Exchange is utilized.
It’s scenarios like this that intern programs should be designed to support; opportunities for interns to build technical knowledge and skills beneficial to their field while also facilitating the development of soft skills, such as customer/partner interaction and project management. Plus, it gave me confidence in my own ability to create and do something valuable, a feeling that is crucial to any job hunt.
Netskope’s strengthening relationship with Maryville University gave me a prime opportunity to develop skills crucial to my entry into the cybersecurity workforce and discover the niche that I can convert from an interest to a career. And I’m happy that I am able to start this career at Netskope. My internship was converted into a full-time role so I could continue many of the initiatives and projects I started, provide more value to our security team’s operations, and to mentor future interns so they can make the most of their time at Netskope.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Netskope Internal Security Internship program, please reach out to [email protected].