Life at Tenable
Someone once asked me, “What do you like about working at Tenable?” And I said, “That’s a tough one, because there isn’t an easy one line answer.”
Come summer we all like to feast on watermelons, and if you are lucky, you feast on the ones that you planted in your own backyard garden in the spring. But if you think about it, all you really did was plant the seed in fertile soil, gave it some water once in a while, and that’s it. The seed eventually bore the fruit.
Where am I going with this? I will come back to that. But first, I want to start with a short story.
In the midst of the 2008 mortgage crisis, when everyone was holding onto their jobs for dear life, my wife moved to NYC for higher studies, and I was spending a good part of my weekends shuttling back and forth between Maryland and New York. I didn't let anyone know, for fear of being "looked" at differently as someone with one foot out of the door (I wasn’t planning on leaving, but remember it was 2008). But eventually word got out, and our CEO came to know about my situation. Next day, he stopped by my desk, and said, "Hey Mehul, I heard about your wife. Do you want to work 4 days a week, and take Friday or Monday off from now on so that you can spend more time with your family? Just make up the time during the rest of the week." That's it. No middle manager meddling, no HR approvals, just a conversation between CEO and an employee.
For me, that conversation crystallizes the core ethos around which Tenable was built in 2002. Take care of the employees, who in turn will take care of the products, which in turn will take care of the business. Fast forward 13 years, and Tenable is bigger, better and stronger than ever before.
So what’s special about Tenable?
The right environment
Tenable will provide you with the right environment, the right tools, and more importantly the right people to flourish and find your true calling
Work, any work devoid of purpose, meaning, challenge and ability to make a difference is just that: work, a transaction. “Do X, get money, repeat.” But work that excites you, motivates you, makes you come back on a Monday morning or even keeps you up on a weekend, gives you a chance to make a difference in something that you love that's worth hanging on to. And I can say Tenable is that kind of place. I am not saying that the projects at Tenable will change lives (sometimes they do), but lets be honest we are not talking about eradicating poverty here, at least yet. What I am saying is if you care enough about your work, and are passionate enough to learn all the subtle nuances of the industry and want to make a contribution, then Tenable will provide you with the right environment, the right tools, and more importantly the right people to flourish and find your true calling. Just like the fertile soil watermelon seeds need to thrive.
Want to take that IDA Pro course or get a degree from an accredited institution? Tenable will fund part of your fees or tuition for professional development. Want to work on products/projects outside of your daily responsibilities? Once a year (sometimes twice), Tenable organizes a week long employee conference when developers hang out with each other and come up with exciting new products. The locations are exciting as well. And on Friday afternoons, researchers and developers can work on pet projects. All to cultivate creative thought, innovative products and new skills. It’s a win-win situation.
Nessus as an educator and shield
What's common between a good old Scotch and Nessus?
What's common between a good old Scotch and Nessus? They both age well, really well. Nessus has been around for a long time, and as it grows older it picks up quirks and unique traits about different systems. And because of that, in addition to finding vulnerabilities, it also gets better at fingerprinting operating systems, identifying services that don’t honor RFCs and flagging really old vulnerabilities which are rarely checked by newer scanners.
All this wealth of knowledge is tucked away nicely in human readable Nessus plugins. Just reading those plugins imparts far more knowledge than a single security book ever can. And as a result, Nessus reports have gained credibility in the marketplace. That credibility rubs off onto a researcher when you join the Nessus team. If you are fresh out of college, it imparts credibility at a time when you have none. And once you find your footing, it gives you a chance to build on it and realize your full potential.
It doesn’t matter what interests you in the security space. The breadth of Tenable products provides an opportunity to lend your expertise in a variety of fields. If you like reverse engineering, there is a team for that. If policy and compliance interests you, there is a dedicated team for that as well. Would you like the thrill of working in a hospital’s ER, but couldn’t make it because of poor grades? I have two words for you: Patch Tuesday!
As long as there are vulnerabilities, there will be a daily challenge to stoke your mind
As long as there is software, there will be vulnerabilities; and as long as there are vulnerabilities, there will be a daily challenge to stoke your mind. The challenges that get the best out of a researcher are the ones that come with little information, which brings out the treasure hunter and problem solver in you. I love that aspect of working at Tenable, and building a team around the same values Tenable was built on, just like I love working my watermelon patch.
No wonder its named a Top Workplace by The Washington Post again.
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