Transforming Cloud Native Security: The Allure of Becoming Aqua's CISO
Cybersecurity has always been to me the most fascinating thing on the planet. I was lucky to discover my passion and get exposed to the security world early on, when the industry was just taking shape. More than two decades later, as companies are rapidly shifting to the cloud and deploying digital services, I’m thrilled to be a part of the next transformation and help shape the future of cybersecurity, now as the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Aqua.
My journey to a CISO
Right after high school, I enlisted in the US Army where I had the opportunity to dip my toes in the waters of network security and cryptography. While serving in the military, I started my IT career in helpdesk and then gradually transitioned into the civilian world.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve held many security roles across different industries — both at Fortune 500 companies managing large-scale cybersecurity programs and at startups where I had to build those programs from scratch. Palo Alto Networks, BestBuy, and UnitedHealth Group are just a few of the organizations where I led security teams and supported the business with a robust security function.
I got deeply acquainted with the emerging need for cloud native security in my previous position as CISO at Palo Alto Networks. With the shift to the cloud, the goal of the CISO is to enable and support digital innovation rather than to hold it back. Security should be designed to accelerate the development process, helping organizations to move faster, become resilient, and drive sustainable innovation.
"Security should be designed to accelerate the development process, helping organizations to move faster, become resilient, and drive sustainable innovation."
Aqua’s focus and innovation in this space present a unique opportunity to set a world-class example for exactly that — to leverage security to accelerate cloud transformation.
Here’s why I chose Aqua to continue helping to shape cybersecurity in cloud native.
Cloud security is the future
Everyone is moving to the cloud, launching digital transformation initiatives, and redefining their business to be digital-first. Talking to executives from the world’s largest organizations, it was clear to me that cloud security is going to be the next big thing. Unleashing the true power of the cloud desperately calls for a solid security foundation.
"Unleashing the true power of the cloud desperately calls for a solid security foundation."
The pandemic has accelerated these trends even further. As Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella put it, “We saw two years of digital transformation in just two months.” For many organizations, going to the cloud is no longer just an innovation strategy, it’s a defensive strategy to stay alive in their business. By allowing the business to operate safely, security is key to the success of this digital transformation.
"For many organizations, going to the cloud is no longer just an innovation strategy, it’s a defensive strategy to stay alive in their business."
Similar security mindset
The cloud security market is booming. There are many established and emerging players with different approaches to addressing the problem. In cloud environments, a lot of security issues arise due to human error and the high speed at which applications are deployed. I call this operating at the speed of cloud. With Aqua, we share the same belief that active protection is required across the full application life cycle, with granular security controls for the build stage, infrastructure, and runtime environment.
Being in the same cloud security market for the last few years, I have been familiar with Aqua. The excellence of Aqua’s product and its aspiration to lead the market have always impressed me. Not only does Aqua have an amazing product that protects some of the largest cloud native deployments on the planet, but it also constantly pushes the envelope of security innovation.
The most exciting part is that Aqua plays a critical role in the customers’ journey to the cloud. This requires a comprehensive and flexible platform that supports diverse customer needs and different maturity levels, because everyone’s journey is unique. Some organizations are shifting left, some are going native, others are adopting multi-cloud.
With the deep and broad security capabilities that the Aqua platform provides across the full cloud native stack, I’m confident that we can meet customers exactly where they need us.
Partnership with customers at the core
Another huge appeal was the company's 100% commitment to customer success. Aqua is not in this market to sell software and leave – its mission is to help customers succeed with their cloud transformation. I’m joining to help partner with our customers and guide them through their journey to the cloud.
Finally, the decision to join Aqua was a no-brainer after speaking with Aqua’s executive team. In getting to know each one of these top-notch professionals, I realized we have a similar warm, humble leadership style, not to mention that their passion for the company’s mission is simply contagious.
What I will be doing at Aqua
As I’m embarking on the new journey, what will be my priorities at Aqua?
Establish a high level of trust. As enterprises navigate their cloud transformations, they need a security partner they can trust and rely on. To that end, I’m committed to ensuring that we have the highest-quality products and that our cybersecurity programs are as strong as possible.
Evolve customer relationships. I will also focus on strengthening the relationships with our existing customers and building these connections with future ones. This will help us to listen closely to the customers, so that we can incorporate their ideas and feedback into Aqua’s products.
Verifying trust through third-party credibility. We’ll continue to be as transparent as possible and lead by example in industry compliance. As part of these efforts, I’m planning to prioritize and advance key certifications such as FedRAMP to ensure that Aqua’s offerings are trusted across markets.
The new role has officially started, and a lot of work is under way as we continue to grow and scale the business in 2022 and beyond. As a security leader, I’m looking forward to supporting Aqua on its mission to deliver the highest-quality, state-of-the-art solutions to our customers while pushing the security industry forward.