All posts by Michele Siegel

I’m Mike Thompson, Commercial Sales Engineer at Varonis, and This is How ...

I’m Mike Thompson, Commercial Sales Engineer at Varonis, and This is How I Work

In March of 2015, Mike Thompson joined the Commercial Sales Engineer (CSE) team. From then on, he has been responsible for demonstrating Varonis products to potential customers, installing and configuring the software for both evaluation and production implementations, leading customer training sessions, and making sure customers are getting value out of the Varonis solutions.

This role allows him to talk to people from different parts of the country, getting a glimpse of how companies of all shapes and sizes operate. “You become fast friends when you spend a few hours on an installation with someone.” says Mike.

According to his manager Kris Keyser:

“Mike is a smart, creative engineer who’s fun to work with, is well-liked by his customers and co-workers, but takes his craft seriously. He has been a real asset to the team.”

Read on to learn more about Mike – this time, in his own words.

What would people never guess you do in your role?

CSE’s already handle a lot of different things, but I suspect people would be most surprised to learn that I am a panelist on the Varonis Inside Out Security Show podcast.

How has Varonis helped you in your career development?

My time at Varonis has helped to develop my communication skills as well as providing me a better understanding of the tech and security industries since I work with so many different types of organizations. I already had technical skills before coming to Varonis, but now I am better equipped to apply my skills and experience at a larger scale.

What advice do you have for prospective candidates?

Organization is key! Also, do not be afraid to ask questions — we do a lot here at Varonis, and certain things can only be learned through direct experience.

What do you like most about the company?

The company culture is fantastic. Everyone works hard, but the expectations are very realistic, and there are plenty of opportunities to grow and take on new roles internally. Most importantly is the nitro cold brew tap that we have during the warm months. It is the best.

What’s the biggest data security problem your customers/prospects are faced with?

Many of our customers are taking a hard look at data security and they find that their existing security strategy and policies don’t necessarily reflect today’s threats.

The biggest problem is not identifying the risks, but rather formulating a plan of attack to rectify the situation and ensure data security going forward, as many of the customers I talk to already have a rough idea of their weak spots. Every aspect of this problem is complex, so many people don’t know where to start.

What certificates do you have?

I’m a wildcard. (That’s a certificate joke…)

Now for some Fun Facts on Mike!

What’ s your all-time favorite movie or tv show?

Mad Men is definitely my favorite TV show. I have been re-watching it lately and it’s even better the second time around. Spectacular writing, great character development, attention to historical detail, and surprisingly funny.

If you could choose any place in the world to live, where would it be and why?

Right now I have no desire to leave my home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s the ideal neighborhood for me and my wife. But one day I would like to live by the beach — maybe somewhere in California where the mountains meet the ocean.

What is the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?

A nicer apartment!

Interested in becoming Mike’s colleague? Check out our open positions, here!

I’m Alan Cizenski, Corporate Systems Engineer at Varonis, and This is How...

I’m Alan Cizenski, Corporate Systems Engineer at Varonis, and This is How I Work

Alan Cizenski is a Corporate Systems Engineer at Varonis. Based in our New York City office, he is responsible for making sure Varonis solutions work smoothly for our prospective customers. Alan helps them realize the value we can provide within their environment and maintain these relationships as they become customers.

He’s also a regular panelist for the Inside Out Security show. Listen to him on our most recent episode, Is Security a Benefit or a Feature?

According to his manager Kris Keyser:

“Alan’s a positive, hard-working engineer with a strong sales background, who is always ready to go the extra mile for his customers and managers. Starting on the sales side as a Territory Development Rep, Alan quickly moved to the Corporate Sales Engineering team and continues to excel in his current position as a Commercial Sales Engineer.”

Read on to learn more about Alan – this time, in his own words.

What skills do you find most valuable on a daily basis?

Three skills I use every day are investigating, active listening, and note-taking.

Listening and note-taking may not seem glamorous, but I have found them to be among the most vital aspects of my job in just about every business conversation. On a daily basis I work with customers and partners to solve problems, meet compliance, optimize operations, and protect the most critical assets organizations maintain. As you can imagine, we cannot be successful without actively listening to fully understand the problems and goals that need to be tackled. Throughout these active listening sessions, I take notes so that we can make an informed plan for success. Personally this allows me to keep track of who I am working with, what is important for their situation, the progress of what we are working on, and ease the load on my memory.

Listening and note taking helps me set up for success, but challenges and cyber threats will always come up. This is where investigative skills come in. Every day I spend at least an hour or two investigating an incident with a customer or troubleshooting issues. All the metadata in the world won’t help protect information or solve problems unless it is properly leveraged and presented. It is vital to accurately determine who, what, when, where, why, and how threats emerge to not only secure the present, but also to prepare for the future.

What skills would you recommend to someone looking to become a System Engineer in an organization like Varonis?

Outside of making sure that you have a strong technical understanding, I would definitely recommend working on those skills listed above – active listening, note taking, and investigating. I would also strongly suggest practicing succinct communication, objection handling, and presentation skills. Of course, keeping up-to-date with the latest security practices, classes, and certifications helps a lot too!

What skills do they need to learn to stay relevant in today’s cyber workforce?

Personally, I think continuous practice is the key to staying relevant in today’s cyber workforce. Job requirements of cyber professionals are constantly changing, so you must be able to adapt and learn continuously. People skills are also vital to today’s cyber world because the most effective strategies will have clear and open communication between users who own business assets and the team focused on protecting those assets. Make time to practice your technical and people skills because main differentiators for cyber professionals seem to be knowledge and approach. If you keep up with your knowledge and practice good approaches, you will always be in demand.

Also, learn how to use checklists!

How those skills will be applied on the job from professionals in the field?

Practice speaks for itself, but as an example – we have technical and sales certification quizzes at Varonis to ensure that we can do our jobs effectively. If you do not practice to maintain your skill set and incorporate new skills, you may fail your certification and become less relevant to your customers and the company.

I also stress the people skills because users of the assets we protect have the best knowledge of who should be using them, what is expected behavior, and most importantly who should not be accessing them. Cyber professionals need to be able to communicate with these users to receive and share insights for the most successful holistic cyber strategy.

Checklists changed the way I do everything from installing software to answering RFI’s. Simply checking off steps as I go through an install keeps me focused, ensures I don’t misconfigure something, makes technical challenges easier to address, and saves me a ton of time.

What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?

How dynamic my role is. I get the opportunity to experience a lot of different aspects of Varonis; from product testing/development, to thought leadership on the Inside Out Security Show, to working with customers to close business and ensure customer success.

What would people never guess you do in your role?

People would probably never guess that I cold call current Varonis customers. I reach out to them to open the lines of communication, touch base on the products they currently have, and make sure they’re successful and happy. Then see if there is a potential for upsells.

How has Varonis helped you in your career development?

I have received so much guidance to become a better salesman, a better engineer, a better analyst, and most importantly a better leader. I am always asking for help to develop more skills for the future and the company has always been happy to offer it. Varonis has also taught me to laugh (a lot).

What advice do you have for prospective candidates?

Be ready to learn because things can move quickly. There are a lot of very talented people to learn from at Varonis, so prepare yourself to pick up all the knowledge you can to execute opportunities when they are presented.

What do you like most about the company? 

The people…I know it’s cliché! The people here really are incredible though. I cannot overstate how instrumental my colleagues have been in my development as an employee and a person.

What’s the biggest data security problem your customers/prospects are faced with?

I would say the biggest challenge is how quickly threats evolve. Implementing new security practices is difficult and time-consuming – especially the kind of change a corporate culture that is typically required to protect data.

When programs are fully implemented, the attackers may have shifted tactics and organizations have to start from scratch, fighting a new type of threat. This is why user behavior analysis is becoming so important for insider threats.

Now for some Fun Facts on Alan!

What’ s your all-time favorite movie or tv show?

Twin Peaks, all the way.

If you could choose any place in the world to live, where would it be and why?

A nice boat with space to tie up a seaplane. That way, I could get a very cool perspective on the world and start every day with a swim.

What is the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?

A seaplane with pilot lessons.

Interested in becoming Alan’s colleague? Check out our open positions, here!

I’m Jim Graham, Manager of Sales Engineering at Varonis, and This is How ...

I’m Jim Graham, Manager of Sales Engineering at Varonis, and This is How I Work

This quarter we will be getting to know Jim Graham, a Manager of Sales Engineering at Varonis, who manages employees located in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Hawaii.

According to his manager Scott Truchot:

Jim is well liked by his coworkers and there to provide a helping hand when needed, and his happy demeanor invites people to spend time with him off the clock as well.

 How does Jim work his magic with customers?

He understands the challenges our customers face, and how Varonis can help at all levels of an organization.  He always maintains a professional, yet personal demeanor which sets customers at ease and quickly shifts to them respecting him as a trusted advisor.

When he first started at Varonis as a Sales Engineer, he met with an unhappy customer that was not going to renew their maintenance.  Within a few days of work, not only did he make them happy and renew, they actually bought additional software from us.”

Read on to learn more about Jim – this time, in his own words.

When did you start working at Varonis and what does your role entail?

I have been with Varonis since July of 2013. As a Manager of Sales Engineering, I am responsible for leading my team, ensuring that they each have has a successful sales campaign. I also make sure our customers are getting the most value from the products and solutions they have purchased.

Relationship counseling is also a part of my job here, something you might not expect. I greatly enjoy teaching my team the hard and soft skills that I have used in my past in order to be successful and watching them be successful as well.

How has Varonis helped you in your career development?

Varonis has helped me better understand my strengths as a manager and provided me the opportunity to lead a fast growing team.

What advice do you have for prospective candidates?

To be mindful that each day is an opportunity to help build a great company. That every job and task we do is part of the bigger goal and to celebrate the little wins.

What do you like most about the company?

Each day we make a difference to our customers and we continue to innovate our solutions to help guarantee that difference for years to come.

What’s the biggest data security problem your customers/prospects are faced with?

The lack of visibility across the business and the capability to act against a threat is our customers and prospects greatest problem.

What certificates do you have?

I have certificates for Microsoft Certified IT Professional in SQL and Microsoft Certified Professional for SharePoint, Dynamics GP, and Dynamics CRM.

What’s your all-time favorite movie or TV show?

I really am hooked on the Walking Dead and the Game of Thrones.

If you could choose any place in the world to live, where would it be and why?

I don’t know if I could pick just one place. The place where I would like to live most would be somewhere tropical and by the ocean. Growing up in Colorado, I have had enough cold to last a lifetime.

What is the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?

I would buy a house near the beach.

Interested in becoming Jim’s colleague? Check out our open positions, here!

I’m Kieran Laffan, Sales Engineer at Varonis, and This is How I Work

I’m Kieran Laffan, Sales Engineer at Varonis, and This is How I Work

Welcome to our new “This Is How I Work” series where you’ll get to know a different Varonis employee each quarter. Today, the spotlight’s on Kieran Laffan, a Sales Engineer at Varonis who covers Western Canada.

According to his colleague Derek Keen, also a Systems Engineer,

Kieran is a fantastic colleague who is well known and well liked for his easy going, fun, and hilarious nature. We always have a laugh together, even when working on difficult tasks.

He’s one of our ‘go to’ guys for many of us SE’s at Varonis, always jumping on calls to assist others and sharing the knowledge he picks up along the way.

How does Kieran work his magic with customers? 

His smooth Irish charm. They also know that he’ll answer the bell for any customer… I know if I was a customer, I’d appreciate having someone like Kieran be part of my success.

Read on to learn more about Kieran – this time in his own words.

What would people never guess you do in your role?

Most of my family and friends still think that I fix laptops for a living.

I’ve found that it’s much easier to let them think that way – I once tried to explain virtualization to my folks and their eyes glazed over as I started outlining the fundamentals of hardware abstraction!

How has Varonis helped you in your career development?

The majority of my IT career was focused on quite technical roles.  One of the more important things I’ve learned while at Varonis is how to talk to customers in high level terms of value and strategy – as opposed to features and benefits.

What advice do you have for prospective candidates?

Know your audience, and take the time to learn about your customers. Tell a story that people can relate to, using everyday examples which anyone can understand.

What do you like most about the company?

Varonis is a fast growing company that still values our input. I’ve worked for large tech companies before and felt like just another cog in the wheel.

At Varonis, my voice matters – sales engineers are able to translate customer demand and trends that we see in the marketplace directly into product features and development.

What’s the biggest data security problem your customers/prospects are faced with?

Insider threats.

What certificates do you have?

VCP, ITIL, and of course – Varonis Certified Technical Associate!

What’ s your all-time favorite movie or tv show?

City of God and the Sopranos.

What is the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?

A plane ticket 😉

Want to buy Kieran a plane ticket? Or better yet, become his colleague at Varonis?  Check out our open positions here!