Meerah Rajavel
CIO
Forcepoint

Why Nominated:  Meerah Rajavel has spent the past 12 months improving cybersecurity awareness within Forcepoint – with great success. She believes that cybersecurity awareness requires a top- down commitment. Under her leadership, Forcepoint has established board-level governance on cybersecurity on a periodic basis throughout the company.

Profile: Rajavel leveraged CEO Matt Moynahan to chair Forcepoint’s Executive Security Council, sending a strong message that cybersecurity is important not just to the executives but to the entire company. She takes a multifaceted approach to cybersecurity leadership in the industry, viewing problems not just from the perspective of a CIO, but also from the customer’s point of view. Rajavel spearheaded the launch of the “Forcepoint on Forcepoint” program, where the company implements its own products, or “walking the walk.”

That has caused a paradigm shift within the company where cybersecurity threats is no longer viewed from a static threat- centric approach, but rather every threat is evaluated from a dynamic behavior-centric approach. The “Forcepoint on Forcepoint” program has increased company awareness of cybersecurity because it is something that everyone – not just the IT team – is now responsible for.

Rajavel also has improved cybersecurity awareness throughout the organization via a “micro- learnings” program that requires employees to watch a 3-5 minute video monthly, each focused on a single cybersecurity topic. The steady cadence of more digestible pieces of information has boosted participation to more than 80 percent and increased retention levels. The cybersecurity awareness campaign through “micro- learnings” has made cybersecurity something fun and interesting to every Forcepoint employee instead of being a roadblock to their work.

An advocate for women in tech and a proponent of closing the gender gap, Rajavel also has partnered with GirlStart, an NGO, to encourage young girls to consider pursuing education and a career in cybersecurity.

What colleagues say: 

“As Chief Information Officer at Forcepoint, Meerah Rajavel is a driving force championing the organization’s approach to technology through a customer- first lens. Her commitment to diversity best practices both within her 100+ people organization as well as within the industry have garnered her recognition from organizations such as NASDAQ. In summary, Meerah is unquestionably the ideal CIO business partner that a CEO needs within a dynamic organization reshaping the cybersecurity industry today. Her significant depth of technical expertise, strategic business acumen, customer- first focus and commitment to a culture of diversity, quality and excellence sets Meerah apart from traditional CIOs and is what makes her an invaluable executive leader within the Forcepoint business.” – Matthew Moynahan, CEO, Forcepoint

Teri Robinson