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Suchi Saxena is Senior Director, Business Strategy and Operations at Palo Alto Networks. With a background in management and business operations, she took on her first role in the cybersecurity industry earlier this year. Below she shares more about what she has learned so far, and what she recommends to those looking to break into the industry.
There’s a perception that you have to have a significant amount of cybersecurity experience and know-how to get into this industry. However, the reality is different, and that perception can be let go. After years of experience in the tech industry, I started my first job in cybersecurity earlier this year. Here’s what I’ve learned on my journey so far.
#1: Be curious and keep an open mind
I have dual degrees in economics and biochemistry, and my career has been largely focused on business planning and strategy for products. While Palo Alto Networks had been on my radar for some time, I was unsure if it would be a fit because cybersecurity was a new frontier for me. Being curious and keeping an open mind are principles I’ve lived by, and what I learned during the interview process is that cybersecurity isn’t only for those well versed in the field. Rather, diversity of knowledge, disciplines, and skills is welcomed and needed!
I met so many different people from so many different backgrounds. Talking with them made me realize that this is a mission-driven company and if you question the status quo and are interested in making the world a safer place, there is an opportunity here for you.
#2: Be bold and think about the global impact
Being on the InfoSec team at Palo Alto Networks has provided me with a unique experience because I’m personally driven by our mission to improve our lives in the digital age. Nowadays, the news highlights cybercrimes on a daily basis. With two young kids, I constantly think about how to encourage myself and other parents to teach their kids to be safer online. At Palo Alto Networks, our mission impacts everyday lives. It’s not just about protecting companies and our digital information. Cybersecurity surrounds us. Working here at Palo Alto Networks, we are all connected to this mission and each action we take – each job we do aligns to the bigger picture of “why.” It’s a unifying mission that builds a stronger company, from both a product perspective and a team perspective.
Being part of the bigger picture with the ultimate goal of helping people is what drives me.
#3: Embrace change and the opportunity ahead
As our digital lives become more complex, the challenges we are looking to solve are changing. Every aspect of our daily lives, and the way we communicate, has evolved so much over the past few years and will continue to do so. It’s becoming clearer that there is a significant and legitimate need for cybersecurity to keep up. That’s what makes this field so dynamic and such a unique opportunity.
Cybersecurity is still a relatively new and greenfield space. The challenges are constantly evolving, and the answers to these complex challenges are waiting to be discovered by experts within and outside of the industry. It’s going to take a diverse set of backgrounds to tackle this. This industry is ripe for opportunity.