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CSO Spotlight: Tracy Reinhold, Everbridge

Jul 20, 20186 mins
CareersIT Leadership

How a successful career in the FBI along with the events of 9/11 put Tracy Reinhold on the path to a career in cybersecurity.

CSO Spotlight Q&A > Tracy Reinhold, Everbridge
Credit: Everbridge

As CSO of Everbridge, Tracy Reinhold is responsible for advancing the company’s enterprise-level security strategy, as well as working closely with customers and partners to optimize their organizational approach to managing and responding to critical events. Reinhold previously held senior-level security positions at Fannie Mae and Walmart and served as an Associate Executive Assistant Director for the FBI. Here he explains how a career in the FBI and the events of 9/11 led him into the realm of cybersecurity and shares his views on what CSOs should focus on.

What was your first job? I started my professional career as a United States Marine and then served for 22 years in the FBI.

How did you get involved in cybersecurity? As an executive with the FBI, I had oversight of the cyber program in one of our field offices.

Tell us about your career path. I spent the early part of my FBI career working violent crime and served as a supervisor of the violent crime program in the FBI’s Las Vegas Office. While in Las Vegas, the 9/11 attacks happened and I transitioned to working on National Security matters. I was promoted into the Federal Government’s Senior Executive Service in 2004. In 2006, I served as the head of the FBI’s operations in the state of Kentucky and then was promoted into the Intelligence Division at FBIHQ. After that, I became the Assistant Director of the Intelligence Divison and finished my career as the Associate Executive Assistant Director for National Security. I served as a corporate officer for the Walmart Corporation and established their global Investigations team after I retired from the FBI. In that capacity, I established investigative teams in the U.S., Asia, India, Africa, and South America. I became the first CSO for Fannie Mae in 2015 and continued in that role until accepting the challenge of being the first CSO for Everbridge.

What do you feel is the most important aspect of your job? The role of the CSO is to not only protect the assests of the company, but also understand the nature of the organization’s core business and that of their customers. Additionally, in a leadership role, the ability to mentor younger employees is an extremely rewarding part of the CSO’s job.

What metrics or KPIs do you use to measure security effectiveness? While there are many metrics to consider, the ability to recover from a business disruption is the most critical.  If a company cannot map a clear path to recovery, they will not be able to meet the needs of their customers.  Detection and prevention are also critical. An often-overlooked part of security is the education of the employees of the organization. The use of good information security practices are the best and first line of defense.

Is the security skills shortage affecting your organization? What roles or skills are you finding the most difficult to fill? I think the skills shortage is affecting all organizations. Building a motivated workforce and empowering them to grow their careers is the best way to avoid a significant skills shortage.

Cybersecurity is constantly changing – how do you keep learning?  Being open to new ideas, most of which are developed by the security team, allows us to keep current in the security landscape. Introducing young workers to the security environment and then allowing them the opportunity to expand their knowledge provides a platform of continuous learning.

What is the best current trend in cybersecurity? The worst? The best trend is one that engages the workforce to take ownership of critical assets.  Another one is the collaboration between CSOs and CISOs. This has not always been the case and the closer together we work, the better we can protect our companies. The elevation of the role into the C-Suite is critical. One of the things I have concerns about is the confusion in companies between innovative technology and cybersecurity.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? The best advice I have ever received is that it is not about you, it is about the mission and your ability to improve it.

What advice would you give to aspiring security leaders? Take care of your people and become a student of the business. 

Looking back with 20:20 hindsight, what would you have done differently? I know this sounds unusual, but I have enjoyed every aspect of my career. My career in the FBI allowed me to make significant contributions to the security of the country while also allowing me to mentor those that came after me. My time at Walmart was a crash course in the challenges facing a global leader in the retail sector and at Fannie Mae, I was once again helping people by providing a secure environment that allowed employees to concentrate on making homes affordable for the average American. I have been extremely fortunate to be a part of exceptional organizations and I feel the same way about the mission of Everbridge and the help we provide businesses to recover from significant business disruptions.

This interview is part of CSO’s regular Spotlight series, which focuses on the career paths of security leaders. If you know someone (or are someone) with a story worth telling, please contact