If you were to casually meet CyberArk CFO Josh Siegel for the first time at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), you might quickly assume that he has spent the balance of his career-building years in nearby Silicon Valley. Certainly, on paper his resume lists the requisite number of finance job titles and entrepreneurial milestones that you might expect the bio of an accomplished Silicon Valley CFO to itemize.
Later, as you reflect on the mild-mannered “Cyber CFO” whom you briefly encountered, you make one last entry in your mental manifest: CFO Siegel was queuing up for a flight to Tel Aviv.
In the end, it’s this entry that’s most telling. Or at least it’s the mental note that perhaps exposes the most about Siegel’s present as well as his past.Read More
The fact is that Siegel first began frequenting Tel Aviv departure and arrival gates back in the mid-1990s, when he felt compelled to divert his finance career-building into a more entrepreneurial lane. However, instead of zigging to Silicon Valley, Siegel zagged to Israel—a move that he executed while brandishing a resume with modest accounting feats but deep treasury experience.
“When I first got to Israel in the mid-1990s, they were really Old School, and the fact that I was not an accountant meant that I would never be hired as a controller,” comments Siegel, who prior to moving to Israel had held the position of director of capital markets at Sallie Mae, the erstwhile government-sponsored lending enterprise.
As Siegel acquired different finance experiences and titles over time, he says, Israel-based businesses and the country’s widening entrepreneurial corridor recast their notions of finance leadership.
“Today, the ideas around what makes a strategic finance executive in Israel have really changed,” reports Siegel, echoing a view widely shared among his Silicon Valley peers.
Still, more than departure gates today expose differences in Siegel’s finance leadership upbringing.
As he says, “A goal that I have shared with our CEO is answering the question of how to scale up this company with profitable growth—and that’s just not the standard modus operandi of a lot of Silicon Valley companies.” –Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: Tell us about CyberArk … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Siegel: CyberArk has been in business now for more than 20 years, having been founded in 2000. I say this up front because “cyber” was part of the name even back then. I don’t think that many people used the word “cyber” back in the year 2000, and now it’s an everyday word that everybody is using—even our parents and grandparents. We are the second largest cybersecurity company in Israel in terms of sales, and we basically sell privileged-access management. This is a big part of where identity security is today because if you think about where cybersecurity has come from over the past several years, it’s been all about keeping the bad guys out.Read More
How do you keep the bad actors out? You would build a very strong perimeter. Now, the identity is the new perimeter because you assume that the bad guys are getting into your network. There’s the old adage that either you’ve been breached or you don’t know that you’ve been breached. We’re essentially all around not necessarily preventing the attacker from getting on the inside of your network but around securing the controls of and identities within the network to ensure that the attacker can’t laterally move within it, escalate privileges, and eventually be able to get to a position where a credential is compromised such that personal identifiable information or credit card information or IP addresses can be stolen. The end goal may even be to embarrass, as it was Sony, or to breach for geopolitical purposes as we’re now seeing in the news more and more. Our role is to guard against all of this.
“Within your organization, it’s about the people. When you begin your journey, find the places where you will get the most out of your manager professionally, which is much more valuable than compensation. As you develop your own teams, surround yourself with high-quality individuals, lead by example, be nice to them, and appreciate and recognize their contributions. For your own career development, try to become the Go-To Person—usually this will mean that you don’t limit yourself to your own role but engage with what the company does strategically, get into the details, and continually show that you are personally committed to its success and fully accountable all the time—even or especially for mistakes. If you are offered the chance to advance, take it, even if you have doubt that you can manage the new situation.” –Josh Siegel, CFO, CyberArk
CyberArk | www.cyberark.com | Newton, Mass.