Inspired to innovate: Pamela’s path to Lacework and customer-centric security

Lacework EditorialMarch 5, 20247 min read

The most effective security solutions stem from a genuine understanding of customer challenges. Pamela, as Director of the Insights Machine Learning (ML) and Engineering team at Lacework, is a testament to this, combining her technical expertise with a deep empathy for customer experiences. Pamela leads the team as they develop artificial intelligence (AI)-driven technologies and deliver best-in-class multicloud detection coverage. Her journey at Lacework is not just a career choice, but a meaningful mission to positively impact the world of cloud security. In this Q&A, we’ll learn more about Pamela, her impressive career journey, what led her to Lacework, how she aligns technology with real-world problems, her advice for other engineers in the industry, and how she’s working to make the digital landscape safer for everyone.

Q: Tell us about your role at Lacework. 

A: I currently serve as the Director of the Insights Machine Learning (ML) and Engineering team at Lacework, a position that falls under the umbrella of the Security Efficacy organization. 

Before delving into my role, it’s essential to shed light on the nature of my team and the foundational principles of Lacework. Lacework was established with a fundamental belief: enhanced security starts with data. Our platform has the capability to gather, analyze, and accurately correlate data spanning an organization’s AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Kubernetes environments, distilling it down to the critical security events. My team’s focus is on leveraging this extensive data repository to construct a behavior-based machine learning engine.

Our behavior-based machine learning technology, invented and patented by Lacework, dynamically creates a behavioral model of the infrastructure and client services. This model comprehends the hierarchy of processes, containers, pods, and machines in real time. Utilizing advanced graph-based AI methodologies, we craft behavioral models, detecting unusual behaviors and anomalous patterns. Subsequently, it generates alerts and warnings, providing customers with the necessary tools to investigate and prioritize issues. The overarching objective of the team is to deliver best-in-class multicloud detection coverage, coupled with precise, timely, and contextualized alarms.

In the course of my day-to-day responsibilities, I typically navigate within three core areas: people management, strategic guidance, and collaboration across diverse roles to ensure overall successful execution. I also go beyond engineering, focusing on key product areas and work closely with Sales, Field, GTM, and Marketing to develop a solid rapport with enterprise clients to help with both pre-sales and post-sales success.  

Q: What led you to this role?

A: Cloud security is a critical concern that resonates deeply with me, as it directly affects the lives of my family in India. Despite the convenience offered by various technological advancements, such as online grocery shopping and digital payments, they remain hesitant to embrace these services due to concerns about potential security breaches. Witnessing their fear and reluctance to leverage technology for a more convenient life has heightened my awareness of the significant impact that security breaches can have on individuals and their financial well-being. Unfortunately, I am not alone in this observation, as I have witnessed several people within my network who have suffered financial setbacks as a result of security breaches, leading to profound challenges in their lives. 

In the realm of addressing these security challenges, my work at Lacework takes on a special significance. Lacework provides a platform where I can actively contribute to enhancing security efficacy, addressing the very issues that have affected my family and others close to me. The technical challenges involved in fortifying cloud security form a crucial aspect of my role, allowing me to make a meaningful impact on the safety and confidence of individuals and businesses relying on cloud services.

Beyond the technical aspects, what drew me to Lacework was the opportunity to collaborate with a team of exceptional individuals. During the interview process, I had the privilege of engaging with professionals and their expertise, passion, and commitment to addressing the complexities of cloud security were inspiring. Joining Lacework not only provides me with the opportunity to contribute to a significant societal issue but also allows me to collaborate with a team of dedicated and talented individuals who share a common goal of making the digital landscape safer for everyone. This convergence of personal and professional motivation has made my journey at Lacework not just a career choice but a meaningful mission to positively impact the world of cloud security.

Q: How was the transition from working at two different large companies to working at Lacework?

A: Much to my astonishment, my onboarding experience at Lacework was refreshingly smooth and aligned seamlessly with my expectations. The emphasis on documentation and onboarding as a pivotal aspect of the developer experience at Lacework has been a game-changer. The organization has elevated these processes to the status of a first-class citizen, recognizing their fundamental role in fostering a positive and productive environment.

Lacer Week, the dedicated onboarding program at Lacework, spans a week of comprehensive orientation for new hires. This intentional and structured approach to onboarding ensures that newcomers receive the necessary insights, resources, and connections to integrate smoothly into the company culture and workflows. The week-long program serves as an immersive experience, enabling new team members to gain a holistic understanding of the company’s values, goals, and collaborative spirit.

One of the standout advantages I’ve observed is the ease with which I could connect with the right individuals and access pertinent information during my onboarding process. The emphasis on facilitating these connections has proven instrumental in accelerating the learning curve and progress for new hires. My experience with onboarding at Lacework has undoubtedly set a positive tone for my journey with the company, emphasizing the value placed on a well-structured and welcoming introduction to the vibrant Lacework community.

Q: Lacework announced Lacework AI Assist at AWS re:Invent this year. What is the significance of this milestone to you and the company?

A: Our team was very excited to launch AI Assist, a project that embodies our commitment to innovation and customer-centric solutions. Throughout my career, I’ve consistently advocated for a “problem-first” approach, and it’s heartening to see this philosophy reflected in our team’s endeavors. This approach underscores the importance of delving into customer pain points, truly understanding their challenges, and crafting solutions that directly address their needs.

Launching AI Assist was not just about showcasing a new piece of technology or introducing a flashy feature; to us it was about responding to a genuine customer demand. Our team conscientiously adhered to the principle of aligning technology with real-world problems. In the realm of AI, particularly with the availability of Language Model APIs and the capability to fine-tune them on security data, we identified a golden opportunity. This opportunity aligns perfectly with a longstanding customer request — the need for effective remediations and guidance throughout the alert response life cycle.

This project exemplified the synergy between technological capabilities and customer-driven innovation. It’s a testament to our commitment to not only staying at the forefront of technological advancements but, more importantly, utilizing these advancements purposefully to address tangible challenges faced by our customers. 

Q: What did you and the team learn from this process?

A: The synergy between rapid iteration and customer-centricity is the linchpin for achieving the right product-market fit. Generative AI’s true worth is unlocked not in the abstract realm of technology but in its ability to serve as a catalyst for positive transformation within the day-to-day operations of the SOC analysts and to empower them. By iterating fast with customers and understanding their unique needs in different phases of alert lifecycle response, our generative AI based concept evolved into a solution that resonated profoundly with a lot of our customers.

Q: What advice might you give to women or other historically underrepresented groups interested in pursuing a career as engineers and leaders?

A: The notion that asking for help is not a weakness has been an important realization in both my personal and professional development. The societal narrative often associates strength with independence, but in reality, the courage to seek assistance is a testament to self-awareness, humility, and a commitment to growth.

Finding your community amplifies the strength inherent in seeking support. This community can take various forms, from close-knit groups of friends to professional networks and mentorship circles. For example, the online group Moms in Tech has offered me more than just assistance; this community has provided me a sense of belonging, understanding, and shared purpose. Within this community, I have discovered that my struggles, doubts, and aspirations are not isolated but are part of a broader narrative that weaves everyone together.

Acknowledging the existence of impostor syndrome is the first step towards conquering it. Over the years I have come to realize that is a testament to the high standards and ambitions one set for themselves. By openly acknowledging the fear and discomfort associated with impostor syndrome, one can create a space for authenticity and vulnerability. This transparency not only helps in personal growth but also fosters a culture where others feel encouraged to share their struggles.

Make an impact in cloud security

Pamela’s approach is setting new standards in data-driven cybersecurity solutions. For those inspired by Pamela’s story and interested in contributing to the next wave of advancements in cloud security, Lacework is the place where your expertise can make a tangible impact. To learn more about the exciting careers at Lacework and find out which positions are currently available, visit our careers page.


Suggested for you