Prevention is the best medicine in cybersecurity

It was consistent pestering that got Kumud Kalia his first CIO role. Now a CIO of AI-based cybersecurity firm Cylance, Kalia spoke to Pulse Q&A CEO Mayank Mehta about how to retain talent, response-readiness under cyberthreats and what it was like to be acquired by Blackberry.

*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.”

Mehta: Kumud you’ve had an amazing and distinguished career, starting off as what you define as the ‘IT guy’ at Morgan Stanley and UBS. But it seems like you’ve had this meteoric rise from IT Guy to actually getting your first CIO gig shortly thereafter. I would imagine that was with a lot of competitors and peers around you that were looking to do similar things. What made you stand out? What do you think helped you become successful above your peers?

Kalia: Yeah, I don’t think it was as meteoric as it might look. It was steady progress along the way. I was at a stage where I was waiting to take that step. So I spoke to my then-CIO. Actually he was below the CIO. I was sitting in the New York office for a European firm and I said “look, the guy who is the CIO right now, I think I could do a better job than him. He’s not doing much from here and I don’t think he’s making the right decisions, technology decisions” I did enough complaining to be able to get in and he said, “so why don’t you try?” That’s how I got my first CIO role.

Mehta: Then from there onto a couple of CIO gigs. Tell us a little bit about your most recent role. You seem to be straddling both the CIO and the CTO role. What does it mean to do that at Cylance?

Kalia: First of all, I’ve changed CIO roles a few times. I’ve changed industry sectors as I’ve been doing that because I always want to learn other business domains. If you stay in the same domain you really go deeper and deeper in that one or you can learn new stuff. Maybe the way consultants do, they change industries and they don’t know much about other things. You learn that you can redeploy some of those things that you learned. Some of them are very complex and specific for a certain business. Others you can carry around with you. That explains switching industries.

Right now, we’re quite a corporation at Cylance. When I joined, we were still a properly held startup and when you’re a startup you can do multiple things; wear multiple hats. It’s easy to do that. So we had some changes on the team. The guy that was the CTO left to become CEO of a startup. So my boss, the CEO of Cylance, said we’re not going to find someone else right now, how about you join us for that? So I did.

Mehta: It feels like CIO is difficult enough by itself, taking those on by choice more than just two hats…how do you handle this? What does your team look like for you guys to be successful?

Kalia: For a CIO in a tech company there’s really not that much of a stretch. We’re selling into IT organizations. So the CIO is with those organizations as our customers. If I have a great understanding of what the CIO mindset is, in terms of what kinds of products and solutions they’re interested in buying, how they want to buy, how they want to give feedback for future improvement; I get that mentality. I think that’s what my boss was thinking about when he asked me to do this. Because he sees me speaking to customers or prospects and sees me representing the company in conferences. He says I get the vibe mentality and so it makes sense that I have a say on the development of the product or app.

Mehta: I would imagine a big part of what makes you successful is your team and who you have around you. What does your hard organizational structure look like, especially doing this duo role? 

Kalia: The CTO is really into product organization. I look at product management as the layer between the customer and the engineering organization. Product managers are going to specify what our feature requirements are. They’re going to consider customer feedback. They’re also going to consider what our competitor is doing, how the market is evolving, what price points we should pay in terms of one of our products or product features, what we think we should charge for those things, and how we can bundle different offerings together to make them more compatible.

Then we have some other individuals in there, maybe more emerging technologies that aren’t very mature enough to be a product or one of those entity spaces like slack, core persona, and RSA most recently. There’s another individual on my team who helps out with some unique customer engagements where they have a particular problem that they’re finding a bit difficult to resolve. So, it might not be something that’s going to be a product today, but if we can help them out, it’s really going to be beneficial for all of our customers. It’s feedback from our more sophisticated customers that helps us see what we should do to improve our product.

We also have a program management office to really keep score on engineering so we can keep track of tasks that we put into engineering and how they’re doing in order to reproduce those. They have multiple priorities and so it helps to have a group track what they’re doing and do inspection on where they’re at.

That’s the product side. Then the IT side has a classic IT structure. There’s business structure folks, there’s business systems folks, and the unique advantage we have in designing that organization is that we’re all on the same cloud. We’re all SaaS. It’s not all carbon footprint. There’s a lot of things I don’t need to have my staff doing because those artifacts don’t exist anymore within the infrastructure. I can keep that fairly lean and that’s fantastic.

There’s also customer support organization that is faced off to our external customers, managing online community. We have people engaged in monitoring acuity that can feed large articles into the acuity.

Then, we have an organization that works with customers of similar emerging problems. It’s like a distributed course into function. We have some very knowledgeable folks that can chase down things with our organization. There’s a lot of problems we have. Compatibility problem, we can send it to Microsoft if it’s their product or maybe with Mac OS. They have to hunt down these multi-area problems to try to answer questions.

Mehta: Let’s get to the hiring part before I jump into the problems in potentially managing both sides of the system. How do you think about hiring talent? Throughout your career you’ve had a really excellent way of getting to the top and part of being at the top is making sure you’re surrounded by great people as well. What’s your favorite strategy? What’s the secret there?

Kalia: Naturally, there’s a secret. Right now, if you ask anyone in Silicon Valley, talent is hard to get. I think talent is always hard to get. It’s not any harder now than it always was. I think people just talk about it more now. Maybe they perceive that there’s a different mentality with the new generation but perhaps they pay attention to certain things. I would rather that they were always paying attention to those things and the employee experience, and trying to prioritize employee productivity. I don’t think any of those things should leave their view. If you think there was more ways than one for talent, you should have been trying to attract the best and brightest always. You can change up the tactics. Many times in our organization we used to do a lot of testing of candidates to try and make sure we’re getting the right kind of talent.

Once you’ve attracted people you have to then do this sort of timeline. Typically what people want is to work on things that are important. They want to do things they can learn from. They don’t want to be doing the same thing. I think there’s a knack to managing the individual’s skill set with a little bit of a challenge offered. If we offer them too much challenge they feel overwhelmed. They feel anxiety, they don’t know if they can do this. If you offer them too little challenge then they’re over skilled for that, and they get bored. Neither of those, either the anxiety situation or the bored situation are good outcomes to have.

There’s this middle ground where the core and the skillset meet and you put some stretch on it so they’re learning something new, and they’re going beyond what they thought they were capable of doing, not too much. That’s the happy state you want to keep your employees in and they continue to grow. Then they feel that they’re learning and as long as you’re giving them coaching all through that then they feel like they have their manager invested in them. Those people tend to be productive, engaged, stick around, and if you don’t pay attention to those, they can get out of balance and then your employees are not going to be at their best. They’re probably not going to stick around.

Mehta: Tell me about the challenges in straddling both of these roles. I would imagine they’re both quite demanding, both with your time as well as your mental capacity. How do you balance those two?

Kalia: Actually, I think it’s just my thing. So, I don’t really look at them as different roles. I look at them as if we were an executive team. We might be more sided or I might have to invest a lot of my time in influencing my peers to get certain outcomes or working with them on their priorities. I look at that as conversations with myself that don’t have to happen. If they don’t have to happen I can go faster. I just look at it as a combination of roles and responsibilities, not really as three jobs.

Mehta: Are there times where the roles conflict with each other?

Kalia: Sure!

Mehta: How do you balance that?

Kalia: We’re always in a process of negotiation with our executive colleagues. Some people are going to get their stuff moved to the head of the queue and other people have to wait until we’re done with this thing, whatever it is. You have some collective responsibility in cross-executive teams. It’s one of the most important things for a company to work out. Hopefully, that’s what people are gauged to do. Then there are some things that could wait until next quarter and you need to come around to that person. You have a bit of explaining to whoever is leading at that function and you tell them that you’ll help them after 3 months. Then, in three months, you better come back and help them.

If you keep them waiting three months, six months, nine months, then they’ve totally lost faith in you. So then it’s like, “well you said that a year ago. I’m glad you came back.” You want to make sure that you can’t get into a position where you can’t deliver on your commitments but also you can’t dip on people who you asked to wait. So, balance those things. Sometimes you have to go back to the person who is now asking for something else. It’s a balance.

Mehta: The CIO is a really good business champion and a really good business partner. It used to be that the IT guys used to be at the back office, making sure that the printers are working. But now they’re front and center of the business. How do you establish and maintain these business relationships, especially as you enter a new role? What’s the cadence with what you do, share some insights that could be useful as a lot of the directors and senior directors in the community are looking to rise to their leadership executive roles and are looking to get business minds to do that.

Kalia: First of all, I don’t think it’s exclusively by a CIO. We’ll see how it goes in the meeting with the organization. If it’s a popular organization then within each of those levels there should be peer conversations and decision-making happening. The CIO may model certain behaviors and the CIO is typically going to be engaged at the executive team level and maybe externally as well, market, or customers, or other partners. They take all those. The CIO’s bandwidth gets consumed quite quickly. Then you’re always looking on the horizon for what’s next. The CIO has quite a limited capacity so you have to depend on the rest of your organization– VP, director, report–to be engaged in our organization. I can set up a lot of those things, but there’s no way I can do it all myself. It’s not feasible for any CIO to be operating all levels of organization like that.

You want to amplify what you’re doing as best you can. So, maybe you have town halls, but you bring in folks from across the business so that this visibility to the cross-functional engagement is actually happening. It’s best if you have, not yourself, but other people present what those experiences are and how they resulted in business outcomes so that the organization is learning from people within the organization. Doing that, not just depending on the CIO to do stuff. CIO is there really to, like a general manager, set the organization, set the targets, set the measurements, and then empower people to do that, do some coaching, and then role models set the day-to-day. Then you let the organization go and you trust in your people. That’s what you do.

Mehta: Is that part of how you define your key success as part of their metrics of their relationship with the business counterparts? If so, how do you guys measure this at all?

Kalia: I don’t think so. That sounds like it’s quite an open-ended mission. You’re having lots of meetings with your business counterparts. Well, great, so what? Are you achieving anything as a result of those things? So, I don’t want to hear that you had lunch with a camp all week. It’s like, have you accomplished something the higher quality way than we may have done before? Or are you getting more things done now than you used to? Are you improving outcomes to your customers? Have you reduced cycle times for your customers now because these teams are cooperating better than they did before?

I would look at how many jointly defined business outcomes do you have and then how many of those have you accomplished. How successful were you in the achievement of that? Did it do what we thought? If not, what have you done to have a posted limitation by analysis to say let’s close the roof on that. It didn’t do what we thought. Yes, great, move onto something else. No, why not? Let’s learn from that.

I think those are the kind of things I would want to look for in terms of measuring the same gauge you’re working on.

Mehta: Cylance was a startup and obviously really successful, but now it’s part of a larger organization. How is the transition for you and what are some things to look out for as part of these transitions that others might be going through?

Kalia: Good question. If you’re in a startup you’re always wondering what is it going to be like when you’ve got to some point where you’re no longer a startup, either IPO or you get acquired and then things change.

So, I’d say, this happened to us fairly recently. We were acquired by Blackberry in February. Now we’re in May so it’s not even three months ago. What we’re seeing is some cultural differences as we’re sort of meshing the organizations together. We’re going to be learning from each other. Blackberry is an organization with a lot more maturity over its business processes. It starts with actually doing a little bit of that, but a little bit of maturity is good because we’re usually all about speed and getting stuff done and we’re not always looking at what’s the most efficient or effective way to get those done.

There are some things we can learn from our acquirer and there are some things they can learn from us because we’re moving at high speed, high growth rate, and we are innovative. If they bought us for our intellectual property and our engineering sort of know-how, that innovation engine we’ve got going on around what our product engineering is doing, then there is a lot that they can learn to keep that going. Then maybe it spreads some of that back into their organization where they may not have the same mojo they had in the past and they want to get it back. I think there are things that we can learn from each other. Honestly, it’s still early days. We’re still getting to know each other.

Mehta: As part of these intermingling with this DNA, what are the best practices you have seen either in the past or currently that have started to trickle into your work and take effect?

Kalia: For the majority of my career being on the acquiring side, not the acquired side, there’s lots of best practices on doing M&A and the post-deal integration. I think, to an extent, that we can use best practices. They’re really useful.

 I’m trying to think if there are any particular things that I’ve called out other than stay high on communications because people always want to know what’s going on and if you don’t tell them stuff then they assume things are happening. So, you got this outlet, you just have to keep telling them it’s all right, we will know more as soon as we have designer time but right now it’s still very discovery mode, we’re still trying to pull data together, told many people we are still learning, and when you get from there you go to someone else to pick up the assignment, or maybe he wants some more input on that process. Even if you rush to judgment you might regret the decisions you made or mistakes. Rather than do that, if you’re more thoughtful, invite other people in but then just keep the communication going so people know this is happening.

Their expectations are high so you have to tell them that some of these things take longer. Tell them, it may need months or weeks. Let them know it’s happening otherwise there’s this constant uncertainty of what’s happening next and that could be bad. That could paralyze organizations. Previously people who were in power suddenly think they are no longer. Even if nothing has changed. So they suddenly feel like they’re not going to do this anymore. I think you just have to keep that reassurance there, not as a status quo, business as usual until it’s not. So, keep there.

Mehta: What is on top of your mind as you think about protecting your organization this year? Obviously, security is one of the hottest topics in an enterprise. No one better than you to know this, it’s supposed to be the next trillion dollar market unto itself. 

Kalia: I guess as we’re going through an integration ‘don’t stop doing anything you’re already doing.’ I’d like to think we’re already at a very high level of security competence. Physical security is good and we have less to secure with what’s into the cloud. We’re in the process of assessing and vetting any new vendor before we put them in the cloud. We have multi-platform education for our employees. Don’t relax with any of those things. There’s a danger when you might go through a merger or something. You might just stop doing some good practices or something. Don’t do any of that. There’s always something with merging. Regulatory compliance, privacy, other regulatory things that are always changing, we have to do all of that.

Mehta: Are there any particular threats that you are worried about more so than before?

Kalia: Not really for our company because we deal with all the emerging threats externally for our customers and so, we really think ahead for our customers. Whatever we’re developing for them, we’re going to use for ourselves. We’re going to try it with ourselves first until we integrate, until we get it right, and we’re happy that it’s market-ready, and then we’ll take it to our customers. So, I would say we’re probably okay with where we want to be. I don’t feel like there are things in the IT organization I have to worry about because we’re not doing them. I think we’ve solved those things long ago. There are plenty of things I’m worried about for our customers but there are new and emerging threats and so my customers may not be ready for them. For those things we have a lot of people in our organization to worry about that.

Mehta: What are the top three things that have either surprised you in terms of security readiness from a customer point-of-view that you have seen over the last few years or things that you anticipate will become top priorities?

Kalia: I still think that there’s a legacy mindset within companies about security. I’ve spoken about this before but I’ll catch you up with a story. Over the last 12 months or so I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a lot of security professionals in conferences where the audience are CISOs or senior security professionals. In one of these situations I just put a question out to the room asking how many of them think it’s inevitable that a breach is going to happen in their organization? Nearly every hand in the room went up.

So, I thought, okay they think it’s inevitable, it’s just a question of time before some breach or compromise, or some bad event happens in their organization. They must be looking for some sort of solution about how to deal with that but it’s just the fact that they think it’s inevitable. That was a moment for me. I thought, they’re security professionals. Their job is to prevent events from happening but they think that it’s inevitable. Which means they’re signing up for a job they think is going to end in failure.

Then I was in another context, the room this time was all directors of boards, mostly public accountants and I got to network with all of these guys over dinner. I was going from table to table and I was saying, “if a breach or a compromise happens, you’re on the board, it happens in your company you’re part of, what do you do? How do you respond?” I got a few answers like “there’s insurance,” and I said “okay, that can get you halfway then you’re still open to that threat so you need to mitigate, how would you do that?” I got responses like, “oh, we get a new CISO.” It’s like, ah! so, the board of directors all think the answer is a new CISO when something bad happens and the CISOs all think that it is inevitable. So, you put those two positions together, that’s not reconciling.

It’s no surprise CISOs have a life-expectancy of 18-months. Something is out of balance in that situation and the CISOs have to change their mentality and say not only is it not inevitable, I can do something about it to prevent it happening on my watch. If they came into it with that mentality I think it would change their approach in the solutions they select and how they architect and instrument their environments. That’s what Cylance has been preaching for a long time.

Preaching is fine but we’ve been trying to educate a lot of traditional security organizations to say don’t wait for something to happen to respond. If your mentality is that things are going to happen so the best we can do is the fastest response, we’re going to be great first responders and we’re going to contain something, whether it’s a machine, or a server, or a group of the network, we’re going to contain that, quarantine it, we’re going to fix it and then close what vector of attack was used and then we feel good until the next one happens.

Then you’re in this constant firefighting mode. You never seem to have enough people, enough solutions, enough things detecting what is going on in the environment. If you were to think about that in a different way and say we’re not there to respond, we’re there to prevent. Then there are very little things you have to actually worry about. So change that and leverage things like AI to be focused on prevention, not focused on detection. Once they can understand that, they can pivot to their security organization.

Mehta: What are the gaps? Is it a mindset issue?

Kalia: It is.

Mehta: It’s just something you inherited and has been a part of you for a while. Is that what has caused it?

Kalia: It’s totally a mindset. There are people who don’t want to hear it. Maybe it sounds too good to be true. If you think for 20 or 30 years that this is inevitable and someone comes along and says it’s not like we couldn’t prevent it, you’re going against something you have been doing for a long time, so you’re going against your personal experience.

Mehta: How do you get over that? What is step one?

Kalia: I show them proof points to try and see. Take all the threats you can think of and throw them at the solution and see if it prevents or if it detects and you need to respond. Seems to me like it’s a pretty compelling and obvious thing to do.

Mehta: AI is a really good talking point for IT executives, especially as it is related to security. But with the hype comes a lot of noise as you have probably seen with the number of IT security vendors emerging. How do you, as a CIO, play a role in filtering out signal from noise successfully with the vendors you choose to work with?

Kalia: That is a really good question. CIOs are probably curious or intrigued about how AI can help their businesses. I think there’s a lot of new cases that may have lined up in what they can do to mine the assets they have themselves. Maybe monetize their data assets or get some new insights about their customers, maybe get some product ideas or if it’s their business model based on insights they gave. If we put that to one side, a lot of interests there come back for security for AI: big buff security. That builds on what I was saying about using it for protection. What do I say to the vendors coming along saying that now we’ve got AI in their product? I say first test what happens to your product if you turn that AI off. Does it still work? Is there a part of your product that still works? Most of them say yes which means that AI is not core to their product. It’s some kind of bolt that they put on.

This is AI doing some analytics because their core product wasn’t about AI doing it. If you ask Cylance for AI, we don’t have a product, we are an AI solution in the cloud. If we turn our AI off, there’s no product. We have nothing. We’re not a company. It’s all centered on the AI. That’s how we have built our machine learning models, using that AI technology we have built. Now it could be up to seven years old, which for an AI, or for machine learning, models is quite old and we’ve had a lot of time to train and mature at once.

People more recently getting into AI haven’t got that far ahead. Maybe they are earlier in their journey or future generations or the technology is behind, they might be doing some interesting things but I think that’s the first test I would do- what happens if you turn the AI off? That then helps you understand where you’re applying the AI. A lot of AI from security products gets used for triage. There’s a lot of events that are being monitored and put into some database or dashboard. A human being cannot process 300 events but that’s how many are being recorded across the collective enterprise, 10s of hundreds of events per day and they are all getting dumped somewhere.

They say “help me make sense of these millions of events so I can see which ones are the ones I really need to pay attention to.” That AI usually gets used to trim that down. There’s a triage process to say which events are really important and need my attention. Again, if you go back to what I’m saying about changing the paragon who think the old way, what they’re doing is collecting all the evidence and looking at where some bad thing has happened. We have been compromised or hacked or breached. Something has happened. Let’s go find that. Retract right after the fact.

Or did you detect it when it happened a week ago? That gap is material. If it’s milliseconds then we can’t get too much damage but if it’s a week, people could look at a whole new defense. AI is still giving you thousands of things to look at per day that need to be investigated, that’s still a very reactive way of working.

If the AI is doing something else, it’s preventing malware from executing in your environment and then telling you what it prevented, then you might have some correlation you can do or a tactic, maybe there is some vulnerability in some other tools you have used. Maybe there is a particular backdoor that you should be in support of but also think is being exploited. You can look for that and then go patch something up but safe in the knowledge that no damage was done. That’s the smart way to use the AI. The dumb way to use the AI is to dumb the AI at the same time. Apply the brute force approach of just trying to take these millions of events and make them a thousand of events so the human can still process them. To me that is not the smart way to use an AI.

Mehta: How do you choose whether or not to engage with a startup or younger companies relative to their more mature peers?

Kalia: It can be very difficult to get to CIO if you’re a startup. You have to think from the CIOs perspective, how many startups are trying to get to the CIO? I can’t remember the exact number but it’s in the 10’s of thousands. So, the number of tech companies trying to say to a CIO or IT organization, just in the U.S. alone is just in the 10s of thousands. If I took a 15 minute meeting with each of those companies every day, I would be doing nothing for the rest of my life. Clearly, that’s not what scales it. The first thing to understand is it’s easier to have a bandwidth to engage with anyone who comes to buy. You have to come up with a different approach.

The other thing you have to think about is how many solutions can an enterprise actually support? If you are a really large company, maybe you can have a few thousand if you’re ambitious. If you are that small to medium-size company you can maybe support a few hundred at the most. That’s another thing you have to think about and if there’s supposed to be time to find my clutches, we can’t just keep on adding another solution. Usually if you add one, you have to rip something out. Most vendors don’t think like that. They just think “look how cool this idea is, wouldn’t you like to use it for this?” But that is not a business idea. You have to show me my finite resources in terms of budget and people. Can you even help me put this into my environment? To help me fund it, I’m going to switch something off or maybe multiple somethings.

But then, if I have to invest in creating a new skill set to support this tool that is also expensive for me because I have to retrain my people or I have to hire in some new people and sometimes that is even more difficult even if I have the budget to do that. If I can repurpose existing skill sets it’s much easier for me for adoption. Then, if it’s something that my end users can consume and manage themselves, a lot of the time a corporation will want support or an IT admin to manage that, then it becomes a little easier for adoption. There are multiple things I’m looking for.

So we go back to the first one. In fact 10s of thousands of vendors having to get to me, typically it’s through some trusted referral or connection that I have. So, it’s someone on my team telling me “hey have you come across this? This company needs to know about this, or has to talk about this”, I’ll pay attention to what my team is telling me. If it’s another CIO who I know, I can then trust their judgment if they say ‘hey, I have found this thing I think it would be applicable to you. Then I’ll look at that.

The third is the VCs. They will have days where they spend time with CIOs to bring them up-to-date on what is happening in the portfolio. Sometimes, if I’m close to certain VCs I might be advising them on their portfolio companies. That’s another great thing. I would say those are typically the ways to get to a CIO but don’t waste your time with spamming me or inviting me to events or anything because I have more invitations than I could ever take up in my life. They need to persuade me that it is a business problem that I have and they can solve and then to make it easy for me as well.

Mehta: Some rapid fire questions. How are you prepping for 5G? What are the things CIOs, CTOs should consider?

Kalia: I personally think 5G is still somewhat exed off. I think 5G is one of those hyper-technologies where you’re going to hear a lot of 5G this year, next year, then real 5G starts happening maybe three years out. I think I would encourage people to envision what they can do with their customers. If the user experience can be a mobile device with much higher bandwidth than there is available today, I think they should envision for them what the future looks like. To me, what it means is people are going to consolidate on a single device and that will be their phone. You can have high bandwidth in your phone, why would you need a laptop as well to have at home, or work, or Starbucks, when you got some high bandwidth available to you.

I think companies should prepare themselves for that scenario but I don’t think the technology will be available anytime soon. It’s going to take a long time to build and roll out robust 5G that doesn’t immediately get swamped by everybody.

Mehta: What tool/platform/product are you most excited about this year? Something you might have recently seen or excited to try, besides phones.

Kalia: Are you familiar with Espresso?

Mehta: Yeah.

Kalia: It’s a company called Espresso and I’m using their technology. It’s like a virtual assistant, a blank, it’s like a chatbot on an interface but utilizing a search function. Let’s say you want a question answered and your solution is to go to a community to get that question answered. What if it was really enterprise specific? What is the native payroll date? How many days off- what’s the holiday calendar for the company? Or, where do I sign up for this tool that I’ve heard or my neighbor is using my rights to get that. Or, I saw this feature in Snap Pro, how do I do that? A lot of people traditionally find someone to ask, maybe go bother someone at the help desk.

Imagine if you could just type your question into a chat type of interface and the answer comes back. You can do it through slang. And so the answer just comes back saying hey do you mean one of these things? You just go yes I mean that one. Or it might say are you a Mac user? Yes I am. Let’s say you exhaust the possible set of knowledge then it will just open a ticket for you and then say, so-and-so has been assigned your ticket and we’ll get back to you. Then if you want, you can just go back in to check the status, so that’s good.

I think that is an example of having a reduced friction for employees to harness. Especially when they often don’t know where to go to ask for help. If they’re not at head office, if they’re a remote worker, or working in some regional office, it’s even more difficult because it might not be anyone local for you to ask. Asking co-workers if you can’t reach them, it could take a while, you might be entirely alone, you might lose the productivity before long, and though you might have high anxiety. If you can take care of that for your employees then that’s a win. I think that’s interesting.

Mehta: Thank you so much for your time today Kumud. Really appreciate it.

Kalia: My pleasure.

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Speaking the board’s language

Comagine Health CIO Jason Owens used an early crisis to forge an opportunity. In this conversation with Pulse…