Amy De Salvatore

Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Alliances, NightDragon

Cyberattacks are the number one business risk in most of the world, according to a 2022 study from the World Economic Forum. Not all cyber threats are alike, and diverse problems require diverse solutions. Yet, the cyber industry is predominantly led by men. How can we solve this significant threat to the business world with only half of the population? Fortunately, the women who make up that percentage are some of the fiercest in the greater technology industry. In this series, The Female Quotient and Deloitte are putting a spotlight on 25 women at the forefront of the cyber revolution, amplifying their career advice and sharing their insights on how the industry will evolve in the future. Their stories are proof that behind every functioning society is a woman in cyber.

What does a typical day of work look like for you?

A typical day looks like a morning snuggle with Fin (my French Bulldog) and then complete immersion in all things NightDragon. We are a fast-growing growth equity platform. On a typical day, I am cultivating existing partnerships, forging new relationships, and managing our advisor engagement, talent and DEI programs.

What's a common misconception about women in cyber you'd like to debunk?

Unfortunately, women have been mislabeled as too emotional, fragile, and reactive to be in the world of cybersecurity. The reality is that women bring empathy and rationality to the role — two qualities that are paramount to dealing with any crisis.

What aspects of your career journey have taken you by surprise?

I’m risk averse, and never thought I would leave a comfortable existence at a large tech company so late in my career to work for Forescout Technologies, which was a startup at the time. That decision was out of character for me, and it turned out to be the most invigorating and financially rewarding move I ever made. Taking the company public and my contribution to that process is the highlight of my career.

What's your superpower as a woman in cyber?

I have two superpowers. One, I don’t shrink from necessary dialogue and confrontation. Two, I’m an excellent listener, which enables me to be thorough in my follow through and responses.

What's the most challenging component of your job today?

We are a startup venture firm with just a few people. This means we are each doing the job of several people and the workload can be all-consuming.

Tell us about the cyber project you're most proud of working on in your career.

I initiated and led a campaign to help close the cybersecurity talent gap. With our partner NextGen Cyber Talent, I formed a coalition of industry partners and pledge donors who raised $400K of the $950K needed to fund Bay Area cybersecurity community college students for one year. This campaign empowers underprivileged students to obtain careers in cybersecurity, and it also helps build the cybersecurity workforce to better defend our nation against the rising onslaught of cyber attacks.

What's one must read, watch or listen for women wanting to work in cyber?

This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyber Weapons Arms Race by Nicole Perlroth.

How has public perception of cybersecurity changed over the course of your career, and how do you predict in the future?

It’s evolved from a niche interest, to one of the most important challenges of our time. With the advancements of cyber warfare, one cyber attack could lead to a level of societal disablement and a collapse like we’ve never seen. The need for cybersecurity is no longer a nice to have, but a must have.

What's one piece of advice you'd give your younger self about getting started in cyber?

A career in cyber comes with a great deal of social and civil responsibility. Be prepared to do much more than your day job because you have an obligation to the industry and the rest of the world to steward the people, products, and services which can offer cyber protections to keep us all safe.

Who are some women working in cyber today that you admire?

Coco Brown, founder of the Athena Alliance; Vijaya Kaza, CISO at Airbnb; Katie Crombach Jenkins, CISO at Liberty Mutual; Julie Cullivan, former CIO of Forescout.

Amy is the Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Alliances at NightDragon, a growth stage investment platform focused on scaling innovative companies, where she brings more than twenty years of business development experience to the NightDragon team. Her NightDragon responsibilities include building, maintaining and cultivating NightDragon’s vast network of Advisors, Portfolio Companies and Partners, as well as managing NightDragon’s Go-to-Market Scaling and Talent/ Diversity Program. She develops and maintains a strong ecosystem of partnerships specifically designed to help NightDragon portfolio companies grow and scale their business, and to maximize go-to-market leverage.