LEADERS IN CYBERSECURITY
Galina Antova is a cybersecurity entrepreneur and executive with over 18 years in the cybersecurity industry. For the last ten years, Galina has focused on advancing the state of cybersecurity for critical infrastructure: first, through her work of establishing and leading Industrial Security Services at Siemens and later, through co-founding Claroty and growing it into the global leader in this new market segment. Previously, Galina held a number of leadership roles in IBM’s Cloud Services business. She is the recipient of many notable accolades that recognize her leadership in the security industry and is frequently invited to speak at large security conferences. Galina is an advocate for diversity and a mentor and contributor to various organizations promoting and supporting female founders. She holds a BS in Computer Science from York University, Toronto, and an MBA from IMD, Switzerland.
What does a typical day of work look like for you?
I start with 6 a.m. team sync-up calls or Customer Advisory Board Meetings (I’m on the west coast, so I have to accommodate the east coast and Europe), followed by a customer call to discuss an existing project and an intro to a CISO or security leader I’d met at an event the previous week. Some days I try to have an in-person lunch meeting with visiting or local folks. Afternoons are left for internal follow-ups, sync-ups and standing weekly calls on projects I’m running.
What aspects of your career journey have taken you by surprise?
I didn’t expect to be an entrepreneur. I always thought my career and training took me toward leadership roles in Fortune 500 companies. I was sure I would be the CEO of one of them, which is why I was happy to be accepted into the Siemens CEO program, where I was mentored directly by the CEO. However, as I was exposed to opportunities and saw the market for myself, I didn’t hesitate to take the entrepreneurial path, leave my exec job at Siemens and start my own company, which is how I became a startup founder.
Tell us about the cyber project you're most proud of working on in your career.
My company, Claroty, works on many projects related to critical infrastructure. And although I cannot disclose my customers, many projects were fundamental to the security of our nation.
How has public perception of cybersecurity changed over the course of your career, and how do you predict in the future?
As our industry grew rapidly, there was a significant over-investment. In my conversations with CISOs, the number one concern is always the complexity of the existing security stack and how to add a new product. I predict that in the future, many core security components will be built into the infrastructure layer, allowing it to compete with more differentiated offerings.
Tell us about your first job (can be anything!) and one lesson you might have learned from it.
My boss trusted me and gave me very exciting and challenging assignments. It helped me see myself as a fully contributing part of the team, even though I was fresh out of school.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self about getting started in cyber?
Just do it, don’t be intimidated by titles.
Tell us about a role model or mentor who has helped shape your career.
My first director at IBM put a lot of trust in me (fresh out of college) and put me in charge of a newly integrated software company. He helped me execute a prominent and large acquisition, which gave me a lot of visibility within the team.
A meeting gets canceled and you have a surprise 30 minute window of free time — how do you spend it?
I use it as thinking time – how to optimize a strategy and consider angles I haven’t thought about yet.
What are the ways you stay grounded and take care of yourself?
Mostly exercise, good food and spending quality time with my family.
When you think about your personal legacy as a leader, what do you hope people will remember?
That I was brave, kind and helped people see and trust the potential they have.