Servant Leadership – Security Style

Published On: May 1, 2017

May 1st, 2017
Ed Snodgrass, CISO, Secure Digital Solutions

Today marks my 4th month as CISO at SDS.  It’s challenging and very rewarding and I wanted to depart a bit from my usual blog theme to answer the question I have been most frequently asked by my friends, peers and colleagues in the industry.  Why did I join SDS?

After choosing to leave my last role, I decided to step back and spend some time reflecting upon my previous 15+ years in security.   I wanted to take a mental inventory of what I had learned and the roles and responsibilities that had given me the most satisfaction – both personally and professionally.   I have been fortunate to have worked with some of the brightest talent in the industry and equally fortunate to have worked for some stellar leaders who provided me both the opportunity to stay true to my abilities and values and opportunities for myself and my teams to create new solutions to difficult problems.  Many of my roles were high stakes and high pressure and success in the face of those factors – surrounded by the right people – provided both incredible challenges and incredible rewards.  That’s what I wanted again.

I had two roles that I was considering and was in the final stages of their respective hiring processes.  They were high-profile positions and I was weighing the pros and cons of each before making a decision.  At that point, however, a colleague from my last role suggested an introduction to Chad Boeckmann – my current CEO.  She perceived Chad had a like-minded drive and vision and that we should at least talk.  She also stated that Chad’s company had an innovative new software platform that could really benefit the industry.  I was intrigued.

Chad and I met one Thursday morning over coffee and quickly discovered our shared philosophies and ideas about how we could potentially solve some of the challenges that have plagued – and continue to plague – the security industry.  We’d both been around ‘the security block’ several times and had mentally cataloged challenges we’d faced and overcome through brute force in the past, knowing there had to be a better way of doing it that didn’t exist at the time.

Our discussion then turned to the TrustMAPP platform.  Chad had his laptop with him and as he told me the story of how it came into being and began diving into the product, I was hooked.  My mind instantly jumped back to initiatives that I had led within security, compliance, risk, and M&A for the world’s largest companies – where the functionality of this platform could have been applied to incredible benefit.  We discussed applying the platform to real-world scenarios today and adding new features in the future and I quickly realized that I wanted to be part of it.

Our industry exposure and customer base is growing.  Security organizations, both large and small, across different industries are using the platform.  The satisfaction that I get when we show TrustMAPP to a CISO or CIO and hear them take the same mental journey that I did when I saw if for the first time is incredibly rewarding.  It validates the fact that we’re onto something great and that we can potentially change the industry for the better.

Next week I’ll be back to writing about specific security challenges and our unique approach to overcoming them but for this week, let me simply say thank you for sharing the journey that led me here.  Why did I join SDS?

Because given the choice between making one company more secure and making the industry more secure, I chose to serve the industry.

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