The Soft Benefits of Security Work at a Start-Up

Tim Messing

From the smallest and newest of startups to the largest and most established of Fortune 500 companies, every organization must have that often overlooked department called security. Security is usually not top of mind for most people until that phishing email arrives in your inbox or you have to complete your yearly security awareness training. To prevent the company name from appearing in news headlines due to a data breach or ransomware incident, an immense amount of work takes place from dedicated professionals. Enter Vivun’s security team, and the passionate individuals who joined it — Logan Miller, Eric Rindo, and Tyrone Osilesi. Besides having a voice in our work, being able to move fast, and having the flexibility to work from anywhere, nothing beats being surrounded by talented and driven people. Walk with us as we explain the reasons why we choose to become part of Vivun’s security team over any other company.

Support from leadership

Contrary to a typical business where security is second rate or a startup where product comes above all else, Vivun’s leadership actively prioritizes security. This is because they understand the risks and consequences of a cybersecurity breach and the value it adds to the product. Vivun’s CEO, Matt Darrow said, “As a startup, we had a very clear plan from the beginning that we would work with enterprise customers. When we cross $100M in ARR we should have around 1,000 customers. Due to the fact we’re not building a long tail, SMB, or freemium offering, ensuring we could support enterprise customers from the very beginning was a huge priority. That’s why we invested so early in our security programs. Not only bringing on our CISO when we were only 50 employees but simultaneously tackling SOC and ISO certifications. These are table-stakes to doing business with the world’s best companies and security plays a big part in our strategy and go-to-market efforts.”

Ownership

Making security part of your go-to-market efforts requires a different way of approaching security. Traditionally, security is tacked on at the last minute to fulfill arbitrary requirements, or to simply check a box. Vivun recognizes the importance of proactive security to help push the go-to-market strategy forward faster. Working at a startup is quite different from working at an established organization. In the latter, most aspects of security strategy and operations are already laid out, which means security personnel are usually operating within that existing framework. These frameworks and processes are usually seen as a blocker or a point of contention between development and security teams. At Vivun, our security team owns the company’s security maturity and is empowered to define and implement in tandem with the development and infrastructure teams on what policies, practices, and controls should be implemented. Working in this way allows us to develop new solutions that security could not have done alone. But we do not consider our work to be done here. We are encouraged to always question why something is the way it is and to find better and more efficient ways of approaching the problem. This is extremely rewarding, interesting, and fun to be part of. When engaging with various teams, our voice absolutely matters and management wants to hear about it.

Move Fast

If you’ve ever worked at much larger organizations or perhaps supported a Federal customer, you may agree that things can move very slowly. Slow to adopt new tech, slow to incorporate new policies, and slow to embrace fresh ideas. You’re probably also familiar with how frustrating it is whenever you try to improve something but bureaucracy and red tape keep you from getting anything meaningful done. At Vivun, you’re challenged and encouraged to move fast, embrace change, and think outside the box. If you see something you want to fix, you’re able to drive the change and make significant and rewarding contributions. Moving with speed requires that we constantly evaluate our current tooling and processes. Vivun has decided to take a cloud native approach that provides us with great agility and flexibility. Cloud native has new and interesting challenges that have to be solved, but we would rather solve those challenges in fun and creative ways than be stuck dealing with infrastructure designed for an old era. Many of the traditional security and infrastructure problems are alleviated with the shared security model, allowing us to focus on the things that matter most. It’s also fun to work with the latest development technology stacks and not be stuck with legacy tech. When we see a new product, we can evaluate it and conduct a proof of concept almost immediately. We can quickly adopt new services that meet our use cases and maybe even some edge ones. We can move at the speed of technology and adjust our policies and procedures along the way. This has afforded us the option of using world-class and cutting-edge technology that further enhances our ability to move quickly.

Flexibility

As a start-up that only came into existence a few short years ago, most of us are relatively new to the company and all operate 100% remote. Do you want to work from the beach? Or maybe you love traveling and are always on the move. We love those things too. Vivun provides us an amazing opportunity to work from anywhere, and as a result, we are able to hire some of the best minds in our industry with no geographical concerns. One challenge of remote work revolves around creating a fun culture. Vivun has this figured out with weekly fun activities, water cooler topics, and random meetups with others in the company. Not to mention in-person get-together events a couple of times a year to be able to see the people you work with every day in person!

So, why did we decide to join?

We’re all talented and driven people that love the challenge of ensuring that our company is operating as securely as possible. Vivun has a unique culture that welcomes security’s efforts to improve our current state as we continue to grow and blossom as a company. Our ownership drive is high and the opportunity to make a difference is amazing. We all decided that moving fast and diving in was where we wanted our careers to go next, and Vivun has definitely delivered! The flexibility we are afforded has really enhanced the way we can live and enjoy our lives. We look forward to the ownership and positive impact we’ll have as we continue our security journey here.

If our enthusiasm for working here has intrigued you, check out our open career opportunities! We’re hiring in most departments.

Tim Messing September 21, 2022