60 Seconds Interview with Wendy Nather, Duo Security

Are you in a rush? Why not quickly check out our latest 60 Seconds interview with Wendy Nather, Principal Security Strategist at Duo Security. Find out what three non-communication apps she can’t live without and what the biggest eureka moment she has had in her successful career.

Whats your favourite gadget?

Of the gadgets I use, I love my electric kettle the most. I know it’s not at all a new thing in the UK, but it’s not common in the US, and it makes tea-time so much better when I don’t have to boil water by hand or drink coffee-flavoured tea out of a coffee maker.
Of the gadgets I’ve never used, my favourite is the Eierschallensollbruchstellenverursacher, just because it has a name like rolling thunder.

List three non-communication apps you can’t live without?

I love Favor, because the runners will pick up and deliver from anywhere, not just a short list of restaurants. I’ve had them deliver over-the-counter medicines to my mother when I couldn’t run the errand myself. And when one has a taco emergency, of course time is of the essence.
Famzoo is another great one because I can teach my teenagers about spending and saving their allowances, and transfer money to them instantly if they’re stuck somewhere (or have just planned badly).
Last but not least, the Kindle app on my phone means that I never lose that book that I was reading two months ago but that has somehow gone missing in the kitchen or garage or in a suitcase or …

What podcasts are you currently listening to?

Sadly I am not the kind of person who can sit still and listen to a podcast. But the Southern Fried Security crew are near and dear to my heart.

If you could create a gadget to help you around the house, what would it be?

I still haven’t found a gadget smart enough to rummage around on a high shelf for me and find what I’m looking for, without dropping half of the contents on my head. My husband and kids, who are all taller than I am, can easily hide things like chocolate and it’s annoying.
What key advice would you give to your younger self?
It’s okay not to know what you want to be when you grow up. I would never have guessed that I’d be doing all the different jobs that I’ve had, and if I’d tried to aim my career in those directions on purpose, it probably wouldn’t have worked.
Some people are very goal-oriented and pick a spot on the horizon and aim for it with great determination; I prefer to surf the waves as they come along.

What has been the biggest eureka moment you’ve had in your career?

The importance that company culture has on its bottom line. I have usually focussed on the technical side, and the logistical side, and I’ve worked with and covered hundreds of security companies. But you can tell the culture right away from talking to the CEO and the staff, and it’s amazing how much that influences how that company performs at the end of the day.

What book has been the most helpful for you professionally?

Andrew Jaquith’s book on Security Metrics came along at just the right time for me in my career; it helped me think more strategically, and taught me at the same time how to be skeptical about conventional security wisdom. I wish he’d update the book with his experiences since it was published in 2007.

Who in the world of tech has inspired you the most? 

I admire the skill, vision and style of so many people, it’s hard to pick just one. Allison Miller at Google and Katie Moussouris of Luta Security have broken the trail in critical areas of security, economics and risk, and they have so much energy and integrity. Jeremiah Grossman and Dug Song have both built companies and led them with honesty and kindness along with their forward-thinking inspiration. And I learn a lot from every CISO who is willing to talk with me about their challenges.