How do you describe your job to average people?
Traditionally, I describe my role as the technical brains behind the sales team. While sales develops the relationships, navigates the paperwork and negotiates the deals, I'm the one that translates the marketing terms into a reality and bridges the gap between where the client is technology wise, to where they will be following the purchase. I also work on the technical team to scope out and establish the criteria for success and then manage the process to meet our goals. My role within the startup group also allows me to be the trusted adviser in strategy meetings.
Why did you get into IT security?
Before I joined the vendor side, I started in the ranks as a desktop guy, where I was eventually promoted to manager, and then Ddirector of IT. During this time in 2000, I longed for something more. I then joined my first startup company as a sales engineer for a VoIP solution that was up against a little known company called WebEx, now known as Cisco. After rising through the ranks, I was interested in becoming involved with the security industry and decided to take a leap of faith with MicroStrategy.
What was one of your biggest challenges?
One of my biggest challenges in my career was back in 2004, when I studied to take the Certified Information Systems Security Professional exam. For those who know me, I am not a fan of standardized tests, and for me to study and prepare for the exam was no laughing matter. At the time, I took the week-long course and on Saturday ran through a slew of test exams. The next day, exam day, I was the second-to-last person to complete the test and weeks later I find out that I failed by only a few points! Months later, I scheduled to take the exam again to improve my score and this time, the week before the exam, I was out with the flu. I would sleep, wake up, read, study, sleep with a low-grade fever. On the day of the exam, with my fever in tow, I was one of the first people to complete the exam and my hard work paid off.
What keeps you up at night?
As security features continue to evolve, I'm required to understand new technologies quickly as well as articulate all the internal details. Especially when I join a new company, being tasked with becoming an expert on any new feature in such a short amount of time definitely keeps me on my toes.
What makes you most proud?
What makes me proud is when a costumer understands our solution and demonstration and is excited about the possibilities. During an introductory sales call, I already understand some of the customer's pain points, and I have envisioned the meeting's demonstration and solution to their existing issue. The meeting then resonates with the customer and they have envisioned how a new solution will greatly benefit their business.
How would you use a magic IT security wand?
I would wave it over consumers and businesses to help them realize that being secure takes discipline and shouldn't be addressed lightly. “Being secure” should occur within both work and at home to ensure privacy across the board.