At Zendesk, we prioritize the protection of our data and maintaining the highest security standards across our products, services, and operational processes. Spearheading this effort is our new Chief Trust & Security Officer, Vinay Patel.
With over 20 years of experience in helping enterprises develop intelligence-led security programs and transition from a defensive to offensive cybersecurity approach, Vinay brings a wealth of expertise to Zendesk. Prior to joining our team, he was the CISO at Finastra and Citigroup.
We asked Vinay to provide insights on the ever-evolving cyber landscape, strategies to preserve integrity in the digital world, and the significance of maintaining customer trust.
How has the role of security leader evolved over time, and what key characteristic or value is most essential for a modern head of trust and security?
For a long time, information security was considered a technical specialty confined to back-office functions, without involvement in critical business decisions. However, this dynamic has drastically changed as cyber is considered a top risk across industries. Today, security leaders hold prominent C-suite roles with board oversight, reflecting the elevated importance of cybersecurity.
One of the primary responsibilities for security leaders is to provide guidance to the executive team and board members in defining the organization’s risk appetite and developing and leading an information security roadmap that aligns with the company’s broader strategy. By establishing this alignment, we play a crucial role in safeguarding the organization’s assets while enabling strategic growth and resilience.
Why is it important to prioritize a customer-centric approach when addressing trust and security concerns?
Customers today hold the expectation that their information remains protected in the face of evolving cyber threats, and it is incumbent upon companies to continuously earn and renew that trust over time. At Zendesk, our commitment to upholding trust, transparency, and security in all aspects of our operations is paramount. That’s why my title is Chief Trust & Security Officer.
What lessons did you learn from your prior experience in defense and banking that will be relevant to customer experience (CX)?
In cybersecurity, an asymmetric disadvantage exists: while we must prevent 100% of attacks to succeed, attackers only need to succeed once. To build and scale a high-performance security program, there are four essential elements, that I refer to as the four T’s:
Talent: It is crucial to attract, retain, and invest in top talent. By nurturing a skilled and knowledgeable team, you can bolster your security capabilities.
Technology: Empower your talent with the right combination of security technologies. Providing them with tools that offer speed and visibility enhances their ability to respond effectively to threats.
Teamwork: Recognize that security is a collaborative effort. Foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork within your organization, as it is essential for successfully addressing security challenges.
Tradecraft: Maintain a continuously updated understanding of threat actors and their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). Staying informed about the evolving threat landscape enables you to adapt your security measures accordingly.
Threat actors are constantly advancing their tactics, with attacks becoming increasingly targeted and sophisticated. In this landscape, effective threat detection and rapid response across multi-cloud environments are of utmost importance.
For more information on the Zendesk leadership team, visit here.