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Harmony on the Inside is the Key to Innovation from the Outside-In

The security industry brings together people from all backgrounds and experiences. And my path to security is no different. What seems “way back when” in 1994, when the Internet was the next big thing in technology, I was part of the team that set up the national Internet backbone in India. At a time when it was relatively unfamiliar to the masses—just shy of a mere thirty years ago—the internet was also an intriguing concept for the country’s leaders who were present at its unveiling. Clearly, they must have known the importance of this “information superhighway,” and its necessity in evolving the country’s communications and access. And, while I understood the Internet’s technical aspects of the time, I did not realize that this would become a pivotal moment in my journey in the world of security.  

Fast forward almost three decades, the World Wide Web has certainly evolved, as has my career. It’s been an interesting expedition of sorts, contributing to the industry’s progressing shift from endpoint to cloud, from reactive to proactive, and now predictive. Also advancing along the way is my deep experience and knack for envisioning the future of security and creating impactful solutions. All that knowledge and foresight is now being put to industry-transformative work with Cisco, the company that is truly driving the future of the security industry and establishing its gold standard.

Innovation from the outside-in

The excitement of being part of Cisco’s iconic brand—one that represents the best network and security capabilities—is surpassed only by my eagerness as an integral member of the team with a history of building world-class security products. From my previous vantage of looking outside-in at Cisco, the Security Business Group is the best in the business at protecting end-users from ever-evolving threats and adversaries. Now on the inside, it’s clear that the pioneering mindset of a start-up still exists, with the real opportunity to create things that are purposeful and intuitively beautiful.

This opportunity is fueling my passion for what I most enjoy doing—identifying then solving customer problems that deliver value to the end-user. Taking this outside-in approach enables the connection between customers’ security challenges to innovative results-based solutions. It’s about focusing on what they need most, simplifying their security experiences and differentiating outcomes. There’s strength and simplicity in that mindset and methodology. It may require something small to solve what is a seemingly big challenge for a customer—yet delivers tremendous impact and value. And it’s what drives the enthusiasm for what I do.

Simplicity is not so simple                                      

When the opportunity presented itself to lead Cisco’s Cloud and Network Security’s engineering team within the only organization able to unify and simplify the security access experience, there was clear alignment of ethos from the get-go. During our initial dialogue, we talked about the current landscape of the hybrid workforce and the irreversible and accelerated digital transformation, agreeing on the need to secure easy, simplified, cost-effective and efficient access in the cloud. As we discussed security as an unsolvable problem, with the “fix” being the trajectory towards integrating and simplifying security, it became clear that our priorities were comfortingly pragmatic.

Thought-provoking conversations continued around the future of cloud and access security, and the prospect of what-could-be turned to this-could-be-for-me inspiration. And when architectural hypotheticals shifted to envisioning building the industry’s most innovative and comprehensive SASE solution, I knew now was the time and Cisco was the place for me to be.

My goal is lofty, yet attainable: win the SASE opportunity. And, while Cisco is leading the race, I’m not resting on the laurels of our accomplishments—rather, I’m passionate about driving the journey forward. With the incredibly impressive, experienced cybersecurity experts and engineers who prioritize teamwork to deliver, I am confident that Cisco will not only win on behalf of our customers, but we will also set the industry benchmark for SASE.

Harmony in innovation

The big task ahead of us relies on more than team structure, operational excellence, and a maniacal focus on our customers. It’s about being empathetic to each other and the business. Being respectful. Building trust. Everyone and everything should be in harmony—that’s the key to innovation.

Leading an engineering team means working with people across geographies, experiences, and cultures. It means ensuring we have engagement and diverse thinking about a problem and how to solve it. The beauty of innovation comes out of that process. Cisco has done a nice job integrating various cultures that not only coexist but thrive together. The health of this organization is reflected in the results we collectively achieve. And that’s why work-life balance is a top value. The health of those around me—not just the physical and mental—the harmony everyone has both personally and as a team mirror how they show up to work, their ability to think, and the opportunity to make an impact.

With this harmonious and diverse team, I’m confident we will continue winning innovation in a way that drives incremental value to customers—and exponentially advances the security industry.

If you are interested in joining Cisco’s Cloud and Network Security team, please visit current opportunities.

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