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How our new CISO is keeping your data secure

How our new CISO is keeping your data secure

Our head of Trust & Security takes the helm as CISO, ensuring data protection and compliance

Brent Williams, CISO of SurveyMonkey

At SurveyMonkey, we value the trust our customers give us by letting us act as stewards of their data. Our survey platform is used by 17.5+ million people, including 98% of the Fortune 500, and we are meticulous about protecting their information. We’re also scrupulous about putting the right people in place to do so.  

With that in mind, we’re excited to announce Brent Williams as our new Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). No stranger to SurveyMonkey, Brent has led our security organization as the head of Trust & Security for the past four years. As CISO, Brent will continue to lead the Application Security, Security Operations, and GRC functions. Together with his team, he’ll proactively address security risks and vulnerabilities through collaboration with our Engineering and Legal teams to ensure data protection and compliance.

“I’m thrilled to be leading a team that is working diligently to protect our customers’ data, addressing today’s security challenges and those that will emerge down the road,” said Brent “We will continue to evaluate our practices and ensure they align with best-in-class industry standards. We help 16 million active users answer 20 million questions daily, and our customers’ security is our, and particularly my, utmost priority.”

Prioritizing security as we grow

There couldn’t be a better time for Brent to take the helm, as SurveyMonkey expands internationally and into enterprise markets. Brent and his team have been rigorous about protecting data throughout our portfolio of products and integrations in a year of high growth—and there has been a lot to protect.

In his words, “As a team, we are constantly assessing our security posture. Continuous evaluation allows us to properly manage risks, knowing that new threats are always materializing, as are new ways of detecting and preventing them. We’ve found that leveraging an agile approach to security has helped the team adjust quickly as needed.”

We’re also focusing on helping our customers take ownership in protecting their information by launching new product features.

In 2108, we launched Team plans to help organizations collaborate better, removing the unsafe practice of sharing passwords. Our recent survey of 1,113 U.S. workers conducted between January 23 - 25, 2019 shows one of the main reasons for sharing passwords in the workplace is the need to collaborate (42% of workers share passwords for the sake of collaboration vs. 34% who are looking to save cost), and Teams addresses this need in a secure way.

Our Trust & Security team also has doubled-down on a cross-functional Anti-Abuse Program to improve identification and prevention of non-approved uses of the SurveyMonkey platform. We’ve also invested in both people and tools for our Application and Product Security teams, to further strengthen our platform's security.

Then there are the acronyms, like GRC and GDPR. We launched our comprehensive GRC function (governance, risk, & compliance) to oversee HIPAA, PCI, and ISO 27001 compliance, while also working with cross-functional partners on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance to protect customer data and privacy across the globe.

We’re proud to say that Brent has also made equal gender representation a priority—something that SurveyMonkey as a company values deeply.  Our Trust & Security team is 50% women—and growing.

(Speaking of—interested in joining the SurveyMonkey team?  Check out our job openings!)

We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Brent at the helm as we prioritize security in this new stage of SurveyMonkey growth.