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CSO Spotlight: Eddie Garcia, Cloudera

For Eddie Garcia, job satisfaction comes from “[seeing his] contributions help organizations securely process data for good.” His best advice for aspiring security leaders is to focus on your passion and let the rest fall into place — because in his experience it will.

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Eddie Garcia is the chief information security officer (CISO) at Cloudera. Previously he was vice president of infosec and engineering at Gazzang and chief architect of zNcrypt encryption products. He is the author of four data security patents and a book on data security. At Cloudera, Eddie formerly served as the chief security architect working in the office of the CTO to advance enterprise security in the Cloudera platform and help customers meet regulatory data compliance policies with high performance and easy to maintain solutions. Here, he shares his career path and offers advice for aspiring security leaders.

What was your first job? I started off as a software engineer, writing code, and that evolved into security software.

How did you get involved in cybersecurity? I helped build a startup that focused on the protection and encryption of big data, and that company was acquired by Cloudera. Once at Cloudera, I went from protecting consumer data to protecting the data and infrastructure of Cloudera and its customers.

Tell us about your career path. I did a few potential startups, mostly night and weekend things, and it took a few before building out one that ultimately was acquired by Cloudera. Still, there’s that entrepreneurial part of me and it’s led me to many different opportunities. The highlight of all this work has been the acquisition by Cloudera. Four years ago when I joined, Cloudera was a pretty small company and it’s been a blast building up the company to the IPO last April.

Was there anyone who has inspired or mentored you in your career? My earliest mentors continue to mentor me to this day. It’s also not a coincidence that the best mentors I’ve had had their own mentors. Amr Awadallah, Cloudera’s CTO, has been a wonderful mentor. He really helped me grow after Cloudera acquired my company -- he’s just a phenomenal person.

What do you feel is the most important aspect of your job? Reducing risk for our customers and Cloudera by securing data. That can come in many forms -- from ISO to GDPR to detecting threats and vulnerabilities. More recently there’s been a large focus on using machine learning to address cybersecurity threats and eliminate them.

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