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Working on a Corporate Security Team at Duo

Posted by Kathleen Smith

Kat SweetKat Sweet talks to us about her career and working at Duo Security. 

Tell us about you and your work with Duo Security

I’m an information security analyst on Duo Security’s corporate security team. I help enable Duo’s success by securing Duo’s systems and data, and by promoting internal security engagement and awareness.

My background was not initially in security, or even in tech. While I eventually went back to school for security after a few years of self-teaching, my original bachelor’s degree is in gender and women’s studies, and for my first few years out of college I worked as a political staffer. Though I left that world, my passion for tackling complex cultural problems persisted, and I’m delighted that I now get to channel that into security work.

Outside of work, I’ve been volunteering with security conferences ever since I started attending them. I’m currently on the staff of BSides Las Vegas as their lockpick village coordinator. Recently, I began mentoring for the SANS Women’s Immersion Academy (which I participated in last year) and volunteering as a teaching assistant for the Ann Arbor chapter of Girl Develop It.

When I’m not in security mode, I spend a good bit of time knitting, reading, playing board games, and making music. I’m a vocalist and guitarist in the Duo band, Louder Than Necessary.

How did you find your job

Duo Principal Security Strategist Wendy Nather and I knew each other through volunteering together on the staff of the security conference BSides Las Vegas. Wendy had recently joined Duo, and she knew that I was job-hunting, so she pointed me toward an open security analyst position at Duo.

What do you like about working at Duo Security

The people and culture make Duo an amazing place to work. Duo’s culture of cross-team collaboration has been particularly refreshing as a security team member. It’s easy for security teams to fall into either being isolated from the rest of the organization, or being seen only as blocking productivity. Duo’s security team makes a conscious effort to be enablers rather than blockers, and build trust across all teams.

I also appreciate the values that drive Duo’s products: Making secure access easy and effective by balancing security and usability. Security needs to be accessible for everyone, not just for the most tech-savvy. It’s incredibly rewarding to help promote that democratization of security.

Why do you like working in the office vs working remotely

For me, the most rewarding aspect of working in Duo’s Ann Arbor office comes down to fostering relationships within the company. While I appreciate the flexibility that remote work allows, for me there’s no substitute for the conversations and ideas that form organically by sharing a workspace. As a member of the corporate security team, this is particularly valuable – we want to make ourselves accessible to our coworkers whenever they have security concerns or questions, and being physically present helps with this.

What’s your career advice for others 

Find a way to give back to the security community. Community involvement opens up opportunities not only for skill building, but for growing your network. When I was new to security, volunteering at security conferences helped me meet people in the industry; I learned a lot just by working alongside them. As I mentioned above, volunteering at a conference was what ultimately led me to hear about my current position.

Additionally, if you’re a career-changer, remember that you’re not a blank slate. The knowledge and experience you gained prior to switching to security is still valuable, and usually more transferable than you realize.

What skill helped you the most during the interview process

Core skills like critical thinking and communication are incredibly important when interviewing. I also tried to learn as much as I could about Duo going into my interviews — it’s helpful to understand how the corporate security team fits into the ecosystem of Duo, as well as how Duo fits into the larger security landscape.

What makes someone successful at Duo Security

A kind heart and a growth mindset will go a long way. Duo has tripled in size over the past two years, so you need to be comfortable with change and with continuing to grow your skills. With Duo’s rapid growth and ever-evolving processes and business needs, it’s particularly important that we work in collaboration, not in competition.

What most people don’t realize is that 85 percent of Duo’s new hires don’t come from a security background. That diversity allows us to bring an empathetic approach to solve some of the most complex global business and security challenges faced today.

What types of positions are you looking to fill

Duo is hiring across all departments, at all levels, from interns to principals and directors. Within the security department, the two teams that will probably grow the most this year are application security and data science.

It’s worth noting that Duo is very supportive when it comes to career development. We’ve had people move over to the security team from other departments such as engineering, so it never hurts to apply for a job within your existing skill set, familiarize yourself with Duo, and work toward a lateral move.

Tell us about the Duo company culture

It’s unlike any other job I’ve had! Duo really recognizes that a key part of building a resilient, enduring security company is making sure that the company is a great place to work. There’s a strong sense of teamwork and ownership — regardless of whether we’re entry level or senior, we know that we’re making a meaningful contribution. One of Duo’s core values, “kinder than necessary,” drives our interactions not just among each other, but with our customers, prospects, and trusted industry partners.

More than anywhere else I’ve ever worked, Duo openly strives to foster a diverse and inclusive work environment. When I came in for my interview, the Duo-branded rainbow stickers on my future coworkers’ laptops caught my eye — and Duo absolutely lives up to its rainbow stickers. Being able to work in a place where people feel welcome and safe to be themselves goes a long way.

Where do I learn more about careers at Duo

Visit Duo’s career page at duo.com/about/careers or check us out on Glassdoor.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 12:49 pm

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