SECURITY

The CISO Says So: A Fireside Chat with Yassir Abousselham

Last week at RSA Conference 2020, I had the pleasure of sitting down with our new CISO, Yassir Abousselham

A seasoned leader in the security space, Yassir previously held leadership roles at Okta, Google, SoFi and EY. I was delighted and honored that just a few days after learning how to spell Splunk, he was able to carve out time to engage with our esteemed industry colleagues at RSA. 

To kick things off, Yassir gave some insight into his decision to join Splunk, and what it means to be Splunk’s CISO today. If you’re reading this, you probably know that Splunk is a leader in the security industry. From best of breed products, to our dedication to innovation and a customer-first approach, Splunk priorities make for an easy sell to prospective employees! But Yassir comes to Splunk with an elevated lens — a strong focus on protecting Splunk corporate, as well as our production infrastructure and customer data. In addition, he intends to invest in ensuring our products continue to help our customers get maximum value from their Splunk investments by creating a feedback loop between his team and the product team.   

As the conversation evolved, we went on to discuss the importance of progressive security teams leveraging data and driving trends such as machine learning, SOAR, Data Stream Processor (DSP) and Data Fabric Search to drive the industry forward.

For you aspiring CISOs out there, Yassir had some solid advice as you advance your careers:

  1. SOAR with automation
  2. Reduce user friction to encourage technology adoption
  3. Leverage analytics to identify areas of improvement and focus investments

All that said, my favorite part of the discussion was around culture — something that brought me to Splunk, and quite honestly, something that has kept me here for over four years. But culture has many aspects, and when it comes to building the culture of a security organization, Yassir had a clear vision:

“We need to outsmart and outpace the attackers, while maintaining business velocity. It requires understanding of offensive and defensive techniques, while having a sense of urgency for everything we do.”

Partnership, culture, and bias for action were also mentioned as key elements of success. How do we do all of that? “Hire, develop and retain the best talent,” of course!

Thanks for another great year, RSA, and thank you, Yassir, for taking the time to participate in our fireside chat. 

Meera Shankar
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Meera Shankar

First it was a dream: Perhaps a musician? Perhaps a NASA employee? Then it was a stint: in marketing and advertising that led to business school, and well, market research. Now it’s Splunk!: A former member of the Global Strategic Alliance org, Meera now works to keep your data safe – all day, every day.

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