There’s a lot to celebrate when you’re the global leader in offensive security. 

Technology innovation, global expansion, responsible vulnerability disclosures, special shoutouts from clients. Plus, personal accomplishments like job promotions, buying your first home, welcoming a new life into the world, traveling to new places, the list goes on. 

All of this and more was the focal point of our 2023 NetSPI Employee Kickoff event. We brought nearly 500 of our offensive security experts together to Minneapolis to connect face-to-face, celebrate our accomplishments, and align the entire organization on our vision for the future. This year’s theme was “A World of Opportunities” which explored the opportunities we can uncover to make a real impact as the global leader in pentesting, attack surface management, breach and attack simulation – and beyond! 

The claim “global leader in offensive security” is a bold one to make. The proof is in our impressive growth year-over-year, the skillset of our team, the comprehensiveness of our solutions, and our client’s desire to choose us over our competition. 

The kickoff event presented a unique opportunity to reflect on what exactly got us to this point. Certainly, a lot of hard work and grit from the team, but these four core narratives were made evident throughout the course of the day. 

Collaboration and diverse thought 

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Vince Lombardi

This quote articulates the importance of collaboration and the main reason we brought everyone together in one room (plus, I couldn’t let the day go by without at least one Green Bay Packers reference). Building relationships with one another and feeding that culture of collaboration was at the core of our 2023 kickoff. 

What we’ve built is special because of our people. But talented individuals alone are not enough. While it’s often an overused marketing term, collaboration is, and will always be, a core value of NetSPI. We pride ourselves on our ability to collaborate across boundaries and teams to uncover new offensive security solutions and solve seemingly impossible cybersecurity challenges.  

There is immense power in the diversity of thought that brings unique ideas and approaches to challenge the status quo. It was incredible to see members of the team spending time with people outside of their social circle or department, people with backgrounds and perspectives different to theirs. This is where the magic happens. 

Unwavering dedication to our clients 

Events like this are a great platform to reinforce the why behind everything we do. In our case the why is our clients, some of the world’s most prominent organizations. We are maniacally focused on customer delight, ensuring that everything we do brings value to programs and is not creating more work for security teams.  

At the end of the day, we are providing offensive security testing solutions so that businesses can innovate with confidence. 

Our keynote speaker, Brittany Hodak, spoke about how to create superfans, leaving us with the acronym SUPER (Start with your story, Understand your customer’s story, Personalize, Exceed expectations, Repeat). Her session was preceded by a panel of six NetSPI superfans, or soon to be. 

NetSPI Chief Revenue Officer Alex Jones moderated the panel, which centered around the key pain points cybersecurity leaders face today. Interacting with and speaking to customers to understand the challenges they are dealing with is invaluable, and something we make a conscious effort to do day in and day out. Key takeaways? 

  • Cyber is not the #1 risk for businesses, it is just one of the risks. 
  • Perimeter security is paramount. Understanding what is on your perimeter should be a priority. 
  • Those who follow foundational security best practices are going to succeed. Get the basics done right. 
  • Generative AI (e.g. ChatGPT) is a real concern for security leaders. Many are evaluating the risk and building policies. 
  • Security now has a seat at the table! The role of the CISO is becoming less technical and more strategic. 
  • Media headlines around breaches and other security incidents are helping cyber leaders get executive buy-in. 

NetSPI delivers real solutions to these mission critical challenges. We are a key player in the arms race against a sophisticated and well-funded adversary. Offensive security must be scaled and adopted globally, or our clients will fall short.  

This year, we made a strategic investment in a product leader, Vinay Anand, to help us rise to this challenge and create a strong technology platform that is scalable, continuous, easy to use, and leverages intelligent automation. Aligning on this vision as an organization was one of my top highlights of the day. I don’t want to give too much away, but a unified offensive security platform is on its way.  

Maintaining the NetSPI culture and staying true to our Purpose 

Innovation dies without a strong culture. While there may be amazing ideas brought to bear, they won’t flourish without a culture of collaboration, respect, motivation, and challenging our peers. Our culture is the foundation of our success.  

We spend a massive amount of our lives at work, so it’s truly meaningful when we say on top of all this, we’re having fun! We’re disciplined; we’re focused; we’re competitive. But at the end of the day, we enjoy each other’s company and the strong culture we’ve built together. 

Our clients feel this in their interactions with us. They tell us this regularly and it’s one of the many reasons they continue to work with us. They feel supported by a team that takes their offensive security goals as seriously as they do. Our culture at NetSPI is the formula for creating superfans that help us unlock opportunities.  

Someone who emulates the NetSPI culture is our very own Eric Gruber who was the recipient of the NetSPI Founders Award at this year’s kickoff event.  

Another component of our culture is our passion for giving back, whether that’s by way of security community involvement, donating our time to help others, or financially with our philanthropic partner, the Masonic Children’s Hospital.  

Last year, we raised $250,000 for Jersey, the newest facility dog at the University of Minnesota Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain. Jersey made her debut at the kickoff, and we heard first-hand how she is making an impact supporting the emotional and social needs of patients.

Jersey, the newest facility dog at the University of Minnesota Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain
Jersey, the newest facility dog at the University of Minnesota Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain

Making an impact, globally 

In attendance were teams from across the US, UK, and Canada – then we took the show on the road to Pune, India where our team of 60+ came prepared with unbelievable energy. 

Most organizations have global aspirations, so who are we to think our global aspirations are so unique? Well when you have something so special, you want others to experience it. In a very short time, we’ve ramped up top-notch teams in Canada and the UK and continue to build our Pune team. There’s no doubt in my mind that we have the top offensive security teams in those regions today. There are many large multinational clients who need NetSPI to have global operations, and many regions where we can advance and accelerate their testing programs. 

Circling back to a point made earlier, innovation thrives in diversity of thought. Learning new cultures and ways of doing business is a once in a lifetime experience for our team and an opportunity to bring increasingly diverse viewpoints and approaches to support our clients.

I mentioned this in the written recap of last year’s kickoff, but it’s worth reiterating: To other business leaders considering an all-employee in-person event, I couldn’t recommend it more. There’s no replacement for human connection. 

We are at an inflection point as an organization and we cannot become complacent. We continue to find ways to ensure we attract top talent, refine our processes, and stay agile while driving innovation. 

I am both honored and privileged to be a part of the global leader in offensive security. Keep an eye on this team. You won’t want to miss the world of opportunities we uncover next. I’ll leave you with this recap video to keep the energy high until next year – cheers!