The New CISO Podcast Episode 85: 5 Top Tips for Boosting Security Mindfulness with guest Rupa Parameswaran
Podcast Transcript | Air Date Febriary 23, 2023
Listen to Steve and Rupa discuss the importance of having allies across the security business and how to build a culture of mindfulness in your organization:
Meet Rupa (1:40)
Host Steve Moore introduces our guest today, Rupa Parameswaran.
With decades of experience and a deep-rooted technical background, Rupa has seen how security has evolved over the years and why CISOs need to grow with these new procedural changes. As the head of security at Amplitude, Rupa ensured that the product and employees were secure in both privacy and culture.
Engineering Background (4:00)
Before starting her career in cyber security, Rupa first studied engineering. Growing up in India, she felt she had a choice between getting married or going down an engineering or medical path.
Rupa determined that becoming a doctor was not for her and became interested in computer engineering. In university, she worked on an AI project, leading her to move to the United States and enter the security industry.
A Clear Path (7:08)
Pre-Amazon, Rupa and her colleagues were trying to create a marketplace for books with AI security technology. After this incredible experience, it was clear to Rupa what her career should involve.
Having Support (9:04)
Rupa shares that India has been a typically male-dominated society, which is changing slowly. Now, many more parents are interested in helping their daughters pursue careers and become self-sufficient versus getting married.
Rupa’s mother fought for independence, and wanted to pass that independence along to her children. Grateful for the support, Rupa was able to pursue her passions.
Rupa’s Advice (13:50)
Whether someone is a woman or just someone determining what they want to do, Rupa recommends that everyone find their passion. If you discover something that excites you, seek mentors or people you can trust to discuss your interests.
You will be on a good path if you can build a support group. It may be a slow process, but it is a critical one. With mindfulness, you can build credibility with your work, and nothing can stop you.
Post University (17:09)
After university, Rupa was at a crossroads. Should she go into academia or not? As she determined this, she got an opportunity to be a software engineer with a new company.
Interested in the GDPR security product they were building, Rupa was able to be a developer on the project. She was excited to get immediate security industry exposure across different team initiatives.
Having Influence (25:19)
Rupa reflects on what she learned from the GDPR project. She became skilled at building ally support groups and influencing security development without having to manage people directly.
This unique opportunity gave her essential leadership skills and the ability to spread security mindfulness throughout the company.
Her Definition (28:48)
Steve asks Rupa to elaborate on her definition of “security mindfulness.” To Rupa, this phrase demonstrates a willingness to include security in every initiative you pursue.
If you build out a unique group of allies within your organization, each person can defend the importance of security — even in meetings without you. Having another person speak up on your department’s behalf shows successful security mindfulness.
Find Your Allies (32:19)
As a security leader, finding your security allies is critical. When you need resources, education, or policy changes, you need to have people in your corner to help you.
Rupa advises the listeners to find these allies early and “catch the wave when you see it.”
The Currency Of Credibility (35:17)
Rupa defines the currency of credibility as building trust amongst your colleagues.
If you can show your coworkers you have the knowledge and data to back your proposals, it’ll be easier for others to agree with your judgment. Understanding your product allows you to be a better security leader.
Holding Executives’ Attention (40:00)
When it comes to leadership, you must build allies and know your audience. By having relationships with executives, you can better understand what piques their interest and convey to them that the company’s security is equally important to you.
The New CISO (47:38)
To Rupa, a new CISO is someone who is constantly evolving. Keeping the wheel of security turning is the primary goal of any security professional because security is a journey.