This episode of Women in Cybersecurity features Wendy Thomas, President and CEO of Secureworks, a leading cybersecurity company that helps its global customers build effective cybersecurity programs with innovative technology and professional services. With a mathematical background in economics and finance, she found that the field of cybersecurity provides a rewarding trifecta: the opportunity to work globally across cultures and geographies, intellectually stimulating work using innovative technology; and the ability to make a positive impact.
Her leadership includes diversity and inclusion initiatives to reflect the global markets Secureworks serves, and she is an advocate for childhood cyber literacy, starting as early as elementary schools.
Wendy's background and education was in economics and finance, with an early career in the commodities exchange business at the Chicago Board of Trade. She pointed out that she spent time in the trading pits, which are gone now thanks to disruptive technology moving into online trading. This swiftness with which technologies are replaced in the interest of speed and productivity has driven Wendy's career to move to areas of innovation.
After she went to business school, Wendy saw a similar pattern at Bell South, where the business moved from land lines and telephone services into cellular and DSL technologies. She said the rapid pace of innovation, with the need to cannibalize and innovate, set her up well for cybersecurity.
"Cybersecurity requires the same, or even faster, pace of constant innovation to stay ahead of both the threat and the adversary," she said.
Wendy originally joined SecureWorks to build out their finance and investor relations program to prep them for their IPO. She later became Chief Product Officer to align their product line with customer needs to invest in security to stay ahead of their adversaries.
"Cybersecurity is all about risk and return. If you think about a business trying protect assets, or individuals trying to protect their identities or their bank accounts, it's all about how much are you willing to invest to reduce that risk and that exposure. We help customers make the right investments in security."
Secureworks offers its Taegis XDR platform, along with managed services and vendor partnerships, to help customers build effective security strategies to keep their adversaries out.
"We take an open approach that's vendor-inclusive. That starts with the customer...working together with existing security point products inside their infrastructure, bringing Teagis XDR to bring it all together in a world of security working together to keep customers safe and safely evolve over time," she said.
As part of her dynamic leadership, Wendy promotes diversity and inclusivity at Secureworks with a number of initiatives and programs. In order to increase representation of women in their global workforce, she has set a goal to have women make up 50% of their global workforce and 40% of people leaders by 2030. In just the past year, they have gone from 26% to 34% women in their global workforce and have increased their amount of female people leaders from 20% to 24%. Be sure to listen to the podcast to learn about the efforts they are making to promote diversity and inclusivity among employees and suppliers, and check out their page on corporate responsibility.
Here is Wendy's list of recommended resources:
- WorkLife with Adam Grant
- MacroMusings with David Beckworth
- CIS (Center for Internet Security) Podcasts
- Smashing Security
- CyberWire Daily
- Cyber CEOs Decoded with Marc van Zadelhoff
- Tiernan Ray , The Technology Letter
- Women in Security Magazine
- James Rundle, Wall Street Journal
- Geoff White, BBC
- Jen Easterly, Director CISA
Be sure to check out Wendy's video below and don't miss the full audio interview where we cover much more!
Be sure to visit ESG's Women in Cybersecurity page, where you can view past episodes and connect with us to hear more inspiring stories in future shows.