C-suite career advice: Eyal Benishti, IRONSCALES

Last name: Eyal Benishti


Occupation: CEO

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Eyal Benishti is the CEO and Founder of IRONSCALES, the first and only email phishing solution to combine human intelligence with machine learning to automatically prevent, detect and respond to phishing attacks in real time. Benishti graduated with honors in Computer Science and Mathematics. His previous roles include security researcher, reverse engineer, and malware analyst. Early in his career, Benishti served as a Java team leader and technology manager in various technical roles for over 8 years. Benishti has extensive knowledge of cybersecurity, malware, and social engineering; and is an open source advocate.

What was the most valuable career advice you received? Always be the hardest working person in the room and don’t be afraid to take risks. If your dreams don’t scare you, they probably aren’t big enough.

What’s been the worst business advice you’ve ever received? I was once told to “stay in your lane” and I believe you will always get the same result if you never approach a challenge thinking differently or outside the box. I encourage my team to let go of the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality so that we can creatively address challenges with new solutions. I also encourage cross-departmental feedback on challenges, such as inviting our product team to a marketing challenge, as each person’s experience and perspective can help drive the best outcome.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in IT/technology? Get started, don’t wait until you feel “ready”. You may never feel fully qualified or ready, but it’s very important to jump in and start somewhere and then keep learning as you go. I am a big proponent of continuous learning. You will always find me sharing the latest status quo challenger articles, podcasts and blogs with my team to encourage them to keep learning and growing.

Have you always wanted to work in IT/technology? Yes! I was particularly interested in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity has been one of my passions since I was young. I was always breaking things to put them back together and had an early interest in programming and coding. But just because you didn’t have that passion in the beginning doesn’t mean you can’t work in IT/Tech. There are so many job and internship opportunities available that I encourage you to explore the industry and look for opportunities. It is a challenging and yet very rewarding industry.

What was your first job in IT/technology? I was a software developer.

What are some common misconceptions about working in IT/Tech? One of the biggest misconceptions is that it’s hard to get a job in IT/Tech if you don’t have any experience. There are so many opportunities available for roles and we also believe that bringing unique and diverse industry experiences through our employees helps us be stronger overall as a company.

What advice would you give to someone aiming for a C-level position? I think it’s important to understand the product you represent and be practical as you progress. For example, we require our new hires to begin their onboarding by spending time detecting and remediating phishing incidents on our platform so that all employees understand the day in the life of our key personas. The benefits of this hands-on work are twofold. First, our employees truly understand the challenges our characters face and are better able to understand and empathize with their challenges because they were in the trenches too. Second, it helps our employees understand the value of our product and the challenges we are trying to solve. So my best advice is to not skip any steps in your process; really make sure you understand your product, its benefits, and its value by walking a mile in your customers’ shoes. Finally, I try to stay very close to our teams and our customers in order to have a constant feedback loop both internally and externally. This helps me lead our teams in the best possible way to align with our customers and ensure our products and our teams deliver value.

What are your professional ambitions and have you already achieved them? My aspiration is to take a company public, and we are still working towards that.

Do you have a good work-life balance in your current role? Using the word “balance” is difficult because it implies that everything is always in balance at the same time. I prefer to think of it in terms of work/life integration, and yes, I have great work/life integration. What I mean by this is that we are flexible so that our employees can perform at their best at work and at home. Their schedules may be slightly different from employee to employee, but we want our employees to feel supported both at work and in their personal lives. We don’t want our employees to miss important family commitments. The work may sometimes require longer hours, but in general we encourage a flexible schedule to better support our teams.

What, if anything, would you change in your career path? Working in a start-up environment has been invaluable in my career. If I could change one thing, I would have joined a start-up earlier in my career. You have this incredible opportunity to build something, lay the foundation for growth, and then grow this business exponentially, which has been very challenging and rewarding for me.

What would you recommend: a coding bootcamp or a computer science degree? It depends on the person and where they are in their career, as well as their background. But I personally believe that a computer science degree provides more tools for personal growth and can support a more dynamic career. Bootcamps are great tools for honing a specific skill area or expanding knowledge on a new topic.

How important are specific certifications? I’m a big believer in experience, learning on the job, so paper certifications are less important to me than the practical skills someone brings to their role.

What three skills or abilities do you look for in potential candidates? Ambition – having the drive and drive to take on a challenge and find solutions

Intellect – work in continuous learning mode and never think you have all the answers

Integrity – honesty and integrity mean a lot to me

What would dissuade you from applying? If they cannot explain why they are interviewing for the specific role. I want to bring in employees who are passionate about problem solving, who want to win and who really want to help IRONSCALES win. If someone is applying for the sake of applying, I would prefer to drop by and find the candidate who has a passion for email security and our IRONSCALES core values.

What are the most common mistakes candidates make during an interview? How to avoid these errors? Some of the most common mistakes candidates make in an interview come without preparation. Study the company you are applying to join, be able to explain why you are excited about the role, where you see yourself growing from there, be honest, have a candid conversation about your goals and how it would align on the company’s objectives.

Do you think it’s better to have technical or business skills – or a mix of both? For IT/cybersecurity, I think having a technical background and learning the business skills is the best way to go. It is easier to learn business skills from the excellent educational sources available today.

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