Vijaya Kaza: Redefining the Benchmarks of the Cyber Security Industry

Lookout is a cybersecurity company for the post-perimeter, cloud-first, mobile-first world. Powered by the largest dataset of mobile devices in existence, the Lookout Security Cloud provides visibility into the entire spectrum of mobile risk. The company is trusted by hundreds of millions of individual users, enterprises and government agencies and partners such as AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone, Microsoft, Apple, and others.

Lookout was founded in 2007 before mobile devices were in everyone’s pockets. The company’s founders recognized the profound impact mobility would have on the way we work and live, and knew mobile devices needed special protections. Lookout is powered by a mobile dataset of over 170 million devices and more than 70 million analysed apps (the world’s largest).

In today’s post-perimeter world, corporate data is increasingly in the cloud, and at the same time, increasingly accessed by endpoints connecting to networks outside the corporate perimeter. As a result, enterprises need to adopt a post-perimeter security solution that controls access to both the Internet and corporate data based on continuous assessment of risk. Lookout enables post-perimeter security by monitoring risk at the endpoint, including phishing threats and provides continuous conditional access to corporate resources. This happens only when there is an acceptable level of risk, and the device is in compliance with the policy.

Leadership that Inspires

Vijaya Kaza is the Chief Development Officer at Lookout Inc., responsible for all aspects of product development including engineering, infrastructure & cloud operations, threat research, and Information Security. She has over 20 years of experience leading engineering and product management organizations at various cybersecurity, networking and software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies such as Cisco and FireEye.

Carving Successful Journey with Past Experiences

When Vijaya joined Lookout, the company was growing quickly and there was a huge need to scale and mature the product development organization to keep up with the momentum. Vijaya says, “Drawing upon my previous experience as the SVP of Cloud at FireEye, where I built FireEye’s cloud business, and my various executive roles at Cisco, where I lead engineering for their US$1 billion cybersecurity product portfolio, I quickly made a number of strategic decisions to scale product development at Lookout. My passion for balancing customer demands with forward-facing innovation helped transform the culture of the organization and resulted in record product velocity. I believe happy people build great products, and focused a lot of my energy in enabling teams to drive growth.”

Attributes That Drive Innovation

Vijaya believes leaders with the right blend of IQ, EQ, and CQ (Curiosity) that can reinvent themselves and their businesses are the ones that will continue to be innovative and successful in this ever-evolving technology world.

Sustaining Distinction to Stand Out in the Crowd

When it comes to mitigating risks involving privacy, attacks, and threats for its clients, Vijaya said “Thanks to our heritage on mobile and nearly a decade of protecting tens of millions of people in nearly every country, we’ve accumulated a dataset of more than 50 million apps, with up to 90K added daily. That means we have access to every mobile app ever created, as well as every version of that app. So, when something comes in that we’ve never seen before, we are very well equipped to compare it to all previous apps – good and bad – to assess whether or not it will put users at risk.”

Overcoming Challenges

Vijaya is a first-generation American from a modest background of India, with nothing more than her education to support her. When she first started her career in the US, without a strong peer support network or a sponsor to open doors, Vijaya had to rely solely on her talent, experience, and hard work to push through every step in the career. She says, “I was fortunate to land in Silicon Valley, where I had some amazing opportunities to lead fantastic organizations and build great products at companies of every size – large, medium, and venture-backed. Moreover, I have been very lucky that many of these opportunities have been in some of the hottest industries of technology – cybersecurity, cloud, and mobile. It wasn’t an easy journey, but through hard work, persistence, and luck, today, I carved a niche for myself as a strong engineering, business, and product executive.”

The Promising Future Ahead

According to Vijaya, Cyber Security is continuing to evolve at a rapid pace. A few trends that are particularly interesting are:

  • In the cloud and mobile world, where anything can be accessed from anywhere, a combination of Identity and Device Trust become the new perimeter.
  • Passwords, as we know them, will become less relevant and continuous authentication will become more important.
  • There will be an increasing demand for Privacy and control over personal data.
  • Phishing is, and will continue to be the primary attack method.
  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence will go beyond being buzzwords and will be the key mechanisms to provide predictive analytics in order to stay ahead of the bad actors.
  • IoT and Mobile endpoints will become the predominant attack surfaces.

Imparting Words of Advice

On her advice to emerging business leaders, Vijaya states, “As a leader, people around you are your biggest assets, so surround yourself with people that are smarter than yourself. Be a life-long learner and be adaptable.”