Illumio Culture

Inside Illumio: Maria Thompson Saeb

Inside Illumio is a monthly series that highlights the exceptional individuals behind Illumio’s world-class products. Each post will take a peek behind the scenes to spotlight a member of our team. Come get to know us a little better and learn more about what makes Illumio’s culture so unique.

This month, meet  Maria Thompson Saeb, Illumio’s Security Program Manager. Hear about what she has learned during her first year at Illumio, how she thrives in the thick of things at work, and her favorite shows and hobbies while working from home.

Tell us about yourself. What do you do at Illumio?

My role at Illumio is centered around coordinating security compliance as the security program manager. In other words, I help build trust with our customers by ensuring their data is protected, and that we are adhering to the security, availability, and confidentiality commitments that we promise. My work is a mix of technical and logistical coordinating and it involves a lot of problem solving and teamwork.

What does a day in the life of Maria look like? What are you working on that excites you?

Recently, my team completed a SOC-2 compliance audit (stay with me). This is a security audit where we have a third party validate that Illumio is compliant with important security controls – or that we’re protecting our customers well when it comes to privacy and cybersecurity.

Day-to-day, I meet with stakeholders to gather requirements, discuss how to fill certain gaps, and provide productive solutions along the way. Sometimes it can be an administrative solution, like a policy, process or procedure, or we might look at something more technical in nature. I spend a lot of time with the team problem-solving to come up with the best solutions for protecting our customers.

I'm also involved with managing risk throughout Illumio and ensuring that identified risks are properly categorized, measured, and treated. Even though people often view audits as stressful, the SOC-2 audit process was really exciting for me. I love to be in the thick of things. There are so many moving parts to it, and you wind up talking with so many different people. You have the opportunity to learn a lot about the control environment as well, such as understanding the technical controls in place like application and infrastructure alerting and monitoring tools. It’s always a very fun, energizing time for me.

What was your role like during the recent Illumio Edge launch?

During the Illumio Edge launch, I spent most of my time ensuring that we were privacy and security compliant – think GDPR and CCPA. So, my role was making sure that from an operational standpoint, we were compliant across the board.

How do you stay illuminated during the workday?

Now that we're at home, I often ride my Peloton bike during lunch. I take a 20-minute ride to get energized again, and as soon as I’m back at my desk I can really hit the ground running with my work. We’ve recently added a #TeamIllumio hashtag on Peloton, so employees can represent and show some Illumio love while we’re on our bikes.

What TV series have you been watching?

I could binge watch Law and Order all day. It’s so good and I can get pretty caught up in it. But my go-to series these days is Dirty John Betty, which is a super interesting true crime drama. I highly recommend it.

What else are you passionate about outside of your career?

When I’m not working, fashion is definitely my passion. I like watching fashion shows like Project Runway. I'm always amazed at how they take next to nothing, just a piece of fabric, and turn it into something beautiful. I also make clothes when I’m feeling inspired and creative. Recently I've been exploring mixed media and trying to mix different types of fabric and material into my pieces. It’s really fun and I love having a creative outlet.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned at Illumio so far?

There are two things:

  1. I've learned how important values are at a company. I really love the core values Illumio has: build trust, run to challenges, seek truth, leverage differences, bring your best, and onwards together!
  2. Don’t accept the status quo – always ask why. Our executive team encourages us to ask ‘why’ and it brings our teams to better results without fail.

Which Illumio core value resonates most with you and why?

It's hard to pick just one, since they all really resonate with me in one way or another. But if I must pick, it would be run to challenges. This value was a common theme for our team during the SOC-2 audit.

What do you want people to know about working at Illumio?

The people are amazingly smart and down to earth, and everyone is valued for what they bring to the table. July 7th was my one-year work anniversary, and it’s been such a fun and rewarding year! I’m looking forward to many more!

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