Spotlight On: Rising to Tech Challenges
Continuing our conversation with Amol Kulkarni, Chief Product Officer for CrowdStrike, in this third and final segment, we will touch on some tech industry challenges like workload, scale, and diversity, as well as the current crisis around COVID-19. As you will see from our interview with Amol, he will often view a challenge as not something negative to overcome, but a metric to achieve. He feels that for those who are willing to accept the pace, manage the pressure and embrace the complexity, challenges can be a positive learning experience—and as you might expect, the cybersecurity industry has no shortage of them.
Peter: Arguably one of the biggest challenges right now, is the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. How has this impacted CrowdStrike?
Amol: First and foremost, the COVID-19 crisis puts an added emphasis on the health and wellbeing of everyone we interact with on a daily basis: employees, customers, partners and all their respective families. As a company, we’ve been well equipped to handle the massive shift to a remote workforce, as more than 70% of our employees already work remotely. However, other companies aren’t as accustomed to operating remotely, and they’re unfortunately falling prey to the substantial uptick of COVID-19 related scams and attacks. It’s our mission to help customers back to their feet and provide some normalcy in their everyday work life.
More broadly speaking, my advice would be to maintain a culture of trust in the company. Give valued employees the self-agency they need to navigate these difficult times. Leverage the technology tools available to keep lines of communication open across the company. Inform and educate employees, and provide as much context as possible to updates, events and issues. Following these best practices ensures your workforce, remote or otherwise, has what it needs to stay connected and united during these difficult times.
Peter: 3 trillion events are processed on CrowdStrike’s platform a week: how do you keep the team focused on the big picture without feeling overwhelmed?
Amol: We focus first on creating a supportive learning environment so that no one ever feels like they are on their own. One of the most important attributes for a successful engineer at CrowdStrike is collaboration. We have some of the best and brightest minds in the world. Junior engineers work closely with senior engineers and focus on outcomes, not just outputs. It’s about creating value and making sure people feel supported in their work.
And what we’ve grown to appreciate about our culture is that it attracts people who like to challenge themselves. I think that comes from being able to see the direct impact of their work. That’s very rewarding in itself, but you couple that with a clear mission and the ability to build a skillset at a fast pace —that’s definitely great motivation to keep people going!
Peter: Another challenge, particularly in the cybersecurity space, is this idea of constant change within the landscape. How does your business and organization support that?
Amol: Well that’s true—the landscape is always changing. We sometimes say, the adversaries don’t stop and neither do we. The attacks are getting more sophisticated and so we need to stay a step ahead. We have a way of working where we implement in the short term, focus on overall design in the medium term and the architecture over the long term. So it’s not just about defeating adversaries in the moment, it’s about positioning CrowdStrike to be able to provide comprehensive breach protection well into the future, both directly and through our partners.
Peter: How do you approach diversity as a leader?
Amol: Diversity is a huge topic of discussion in the tech world right now. I want to be clear that our industry has a long way to go in terms of adding women and underrepresented minorities to our teams. CrowdStrike is definitely part of that. We have work to do—we all do.
At the same time, I think one of our strengths is our culture. We have a very strong culture in terms of creating an environment that is welcoming and making sure that diverse perspectives are respected. That starts with me. That starts with my leadership team.
From my view, diversity is not just about gender or about race, but it's also about how you think, how you work, how you act. My intent all along has been to look at the potential in people and invest in that. I want to find a way to help people realize that potential irrespective of what their style of work is or where they come from or what their culture is. I try to instill that same mentality in my leadership team. I want us all to be on the same page when it comes to finding that potential across employees and candidates.
Thank you, Amol! If you’re interested in joining Amol’s team, explore CrowdStrike’s Careers page.