Career Notes 2.7.21
Ep 35 | 2.7.21

Jason Clark: Challenge the way things are done. [Strategy]


Jason Clark: Hi, I'm Jason Clark, and I am chief strategy officer and chief security officer.

Jason Clark: I grew up wanting to be a pilot in the Air Force, my lineage of four generations as all Army officers and generals, and I wanted to be different. So I wanted to join the Air Force and I got my pilot's license at 16. Myself, personally, I like to challenge the way things are done. I like to challenge why are we doing it this way? It could be done better. We need to innovate this. We need to innovate that. So while the military was one of the best choices I've ever made in my entire life and I learned so much from it. After four years, I, I just 100% knew it was I needed to be out of government so that I could drive change and it was encouraged to challenge your bosses. It was encouraged to challenge thinking.

Jason Clark: After that, my first CISO job was with The New York Times. They had a compromise and they had lost a bunch of credit cards from one of their business units, which was The Boston Globe. And so The New York Times brought me in. They had 35 companies under them. And and so the job was to to build their first security program as their first CISO and to get them PCI compliance. And so that was kind of my my my first very, very big role. I was I was twenty-six years old at the time, believe it or not, as a CISO of a of a Fortune 500 company.

Jason Clark: You should always be seeking out jobs you're actually not qualified for. I think that's how you grow. If you know you could do the job, and you've got half the skills, go for it. And that was the case for The New York Times. I, you know, I was energetic. I had the military background. There wasn't a big pool of CISOs to hire from way back then like there is today. And I was probably cheap compared to other people they might have been looking for because this was in New York City. I made a decision after getting my MBA to jump to the business side because I felt like I'd maxed out the IT side of what I wanted to do, but I took the IT stuff with me. And so Netskope's a good example of what what I've turned this into. So it took being aa CISO and a practitioner and being a technical expert to to the business by running strategy. I also am a chief marketing officer, so I run marketing. I think I'm the first CISO ever to be the chief marketing officer, which is interesting. But and then and then also I do run internal security still. So the CISO for Netskope does report to me and we we run everything. Believe it or not, like marketing and security go go very hand-in-hand for a cybersecurity company. The closer I'm to the problem, the closer I understand my my friends out there that are CISOs, and I understand there are problems. The closer I see what the threats are doing and what the risks are in our own program at Netskope and protecting our customers data. And then I translate that to our strategy.

Jason Clark: The purpose of every business is to acquire and retain profitable customers. That one sentence is the reason why a business exists and everybody in the company should be thinking about how am I helping acquire or how am I helping retain and how am I helping them be profitable with their customers. And then security should be thinking about that. How are they driving that? And so understanding, you know, when to say no to the business, when to just guide and nudge the business is is, I would say, the number one most important lesson.

Jason Clark: We don't have the right amount of diversity or people coming into the industry, and I want you know that the next kind of big step of my career over the next 20 years, I want to be a lot of it focused on getting more diversity into cybersecurity and getting more kids from inner cities and getting more girls into cybersecurity to realize because I think they're what's going to help us make this thing better. We're lacking in that today. So that's actually why I founded the Security Advisor Alliance, which is the I think the largest CISO security non-profit, all focused on, you know, we've engaged a million kids to get them into cybersecurity across the globe. You inspire and engage one kid, you change somebody's life.