Career Notes 7.17.22
Ep 108 | 7.17.22

Mike Arrowsmith: Facing adversity in the workplace. [CTrO]


Mike Arrowsmith: I am Mike Arrowsmith, I'm the Chief Trust Officer at NinjaOne.

Mike Arrowsmith: One of the most exciting things about cybersecurity is the level of change. I often have mentored students in college kind of with a simple metaphor with cybersecurity. We are working against adversaries that are always typically one step ahead. Figuratively, if you could imagine, you're trying to chase a ball, but you never can quite get your hands on it. I think it's the, the change that is probably the most fascinating piece for me, it's something that I really thrive on.

Mike Arrowsmith: I thought I was gonna be an architect of all things. I used to be fascinated with buildings, even today I still look at large building skyscrapers and just kind of marvel at the engineering and construction that goes into that. That is what I thought probably as early as seven, eight years old. I thought I was gonna be an architect of the future and lo and behold, I ended up being this lowly security guy.

Mike Arrowsmith: I kind of grew up during the technology revolution. So video games were introduced, I remember Atari coming out and Nintendo. So technology was kind of building and then when the big dot com boom hit. I think that was the first signal to me, that technology was probably the wave of the future. At that time, I was working for FedEx, um, really excited to think about the career and possibilities and kind of from there jumped into a small startup called ReServe Interactive that was working in the hospitality industry and that kind of set me off down the path of kind of a technology based career.

Mike Arrowsmith: So it was actually at that ReServe Interactive organization that I got my first taste of cybersecurity. We had to process credit cards, we needed to go down the whole route of PCI and it's through that, that really opened up the opportunity for me to join my next square, which was Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.So really exciting opportunity to work for the federal government, more support of the National Nuclear Scientific Administration. Really exciting opportunity to work on the national ignition facility. At the time it was a 5 million dollar laser and I was responsible for running a lot of the cybersecurity initiatives that were part of that. So that was really where everything began to shift towards really predominant cybersecurity and from then on, it was a hundred percent. 

Mike Arrowsmith: Today, I'm responsible for the cybersecurity program, our IT organization, as well as our cloud operations or how we deliver products to our customers. So my day is really responsible for all three of those areas, primarily trying to understand what is our customers needs look like today, but also try to project where they will be a year or two years from now, in addition to all the tactical operation things that happen as part of running a large organization. 

Mike Arrowsmith: So, you know, a lot of times from peers it's always conversational, try to be as helpful and as inquisitive as I can. I think a lot of times from a leadership perspective, we tend to get isolated into kind of our silo of responsibilities and for my roles, you really can't be that, we're in a support organization. We're looking to be able to support our engineering team, or marketing team, or sales team. So it really behooves us to, to interact with them very closely to try to understand their world. So as we try to craft solutions that we wanna deliver to help them, we have a foresight of where they are today, but kind of an idea of where they're going. It's trying to put the right building blocks down at certain places. So when we finally get back to that specific area, we've already got kind of a leg up. 

Mike Arrowsmith: Within my own teams again, kind of let them run away with the programs. I'm looking for them to take ownership, accountability, and really support them in any way possible that I can and try to remove roadblocks. I think that level of management with my own teams has really been reciprocated well by the leaders that I have. I look at this as an opportunity for what we call in the business, a greenfield opportunity. A lot of what we're doing is fresh, it is growing at a very rapid rate and so it is really providing a lot of opportunity for these leaders to be able to kind of put their stamp on their individual programs and what they foresee the needs of Ninja and our customer base. So it's a very exciting opportunity for all of us and I think it's a great working dynamic that we have in place.

Mike Arrowsmith: I think the biggest advice I can give to individuals is the adaptation or the acceptance that change is part of every day of our lives. It's a constant learning like I always tell folks what we knew about two years ago is different than we know today and it's a constant evolution of learning and that to me is the exciting piece. I find myself learning a lot through experiences of peers, friends that are in this space. So I think that is probably one or two things that I would say is really imperative for the future generations coming up with cybersecurity is to embrace change and to network as much as you can.