The finalists for WashingtonExec’s Pinnacle Awards were announced Oct. 11, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place live, in-person Nov. 30.
Next is Cybersecurity Industry Executive of the Year (Public Company) finalist Shawn Henry, who’s chief security officer at CrowdStrike. Here, he talks career inflection points, key achievements and more.
What has made you successful in your current role?
Our clear sense of mission to stop breaches and protect organizations and government entities globally against the nefarious acts of cyber threat actors.
While president of CrowdStrike Services, my team has advised top businesses worldwide on how to better secure their critical assets by incorporating strategies to improve their overall cyber posture. We have steadfastly helped customers move from simply reacting to breaches that are days or weeks old, and empowered organizations to proactively mitigate their cyber risk.
I bring a very unique perspective to my role with more than 24 years of investigative experience, including several years overseeing the FBI’s cyber and criminal operations. My public and private sector experience has provided me with a rare awareness of the needs of government agencies and corporations looking to modernize and strengthen their cybersecurity approach.
This coupled with my recurring meetings with top C-levels has provided me a greater understanding of how CrowdStrike can become a valued partner to our customers in the fight against cyber adversaries. As I like to say: One team, one fight!
What key achievements did you have in 2021/2022?
Some of my key achievements over the last year have been with the public sector, establishing programs that not only bolster the defenses of our government agencies, but that also ultimately protect our democracy.
In 2021, when President Biden signed the executive order to improve the nation’s cybersecurity, I worked to ensure that CrowdStrike was delivering solutions that provided compliance across the public sector, which included CrowdStrike’s deployment of the Falcon platform to secure agencies’ critical endpoints and workloads.
I also activated a proactive outreach campaign to provide guidance and resources to elections-related customers, and was instrumental in establishing a partnership with the Center for Internet Security.
In November 2021, CIS selected CrowdStrike as its premier security partner to better identify, detect and respond to incidents within its U.S. state, local, tribal and territorial entities.
What was a turning point or inflection point in your career?
Working at the FBI for over two decades was a rewarding experience that provided me a firsthand look at the flourishing cybercrime ecosystem as it was gaining sophistication and scaling to become the existential threat it is today.
I oversaw half of the FBI’s investigative operations as executive assistant director, including all FBI criminal and cyber investigations worldwide, international operations, and the FBI’s critical incident response to major investigations and disasters.
I also managed computer crime investigations spanning the globe. During this time, my team played an integral part in helping to establish policy that deterred cyber threat actors, in identifying the criminals behind devastating attacks and in the taking down of cybercriminal infrastructure.
The one thing we did not do was develop or deploy new technologies to protect against the thriving eCrime ecosystem. I wanted to be part of the innovation that proactively sought out these actors and stopped them in their tracks. I wanted to be on the side of the data and that helped people protect themselves from adversaries. That is what led me to the private sector and CrowdStrike.