- Slack named Sean Catlett chief security officer Thursday, according to a company announcement. He will start at Slack this month.
- Catlett will oversee Slack's security governance, risk management, and compliance measures. Slack operates under a "risk-based security model with controls to manage the physical, technical and administrative risks of our operating environment," according to the company.
- Catlett joins the collaboration platform after serving as CISO at Reddit, where he "built and grew the company’s dedicated Security and Privacy functions," according to the announcement.
As SaaS vendors vie for their place in the enterprise, security is becoming a competitive advantage. At the onset of the pandemic, Zoom absorbed heat for its consumer and enterprise digital communication tools with varying degrees of security.
The new "distributed workforce centered around a digital versus physical headquarters is an exciting opportunity to apply my experience leading teams responsible for protecting critical information in high-stakes environments," Catlett said in an emailed statement to CIO Dive. "This will be critical as Slack continues to grow, and as our customers continue to scale their usage of Slack internally and with trusted partners through Slack Connect."
Slack named its first CSO, Geoff Belknap, in 2016. Belknap served in the position until July 2019. Since his departure, Larkin Ryder has been serving as Slack's interim CSO.
Slack's push to make its security practices appealing to enterprises made way for 2019's launch of Enterprise Key Management (EKM), which gave customers power over their encryption keys.
The EKM solution bumped Slack into another class of enterprise-grade SaaS applications, but the company has been fighting what many consider a two-horse race with Microsoft Teams.
In June, Slack announced Slack Connect, a function that securely allows up to 20 companies to collaborate within one channel. Slack Connect is an extension of the company's other enterprise security standards, including data loss prevention, retention, e-discovery and EKM.
While Slack continues to make inroads with its enterprise customer base, COVID-19 either promoted rapid adoption of the platform or stalled it. In March, CEO Stewart Butterfiled tweeted about a customer wanting a "wall-to-wall" contract with Slack in preparation for remote work.
While some companies adopted communication tools in haste, as the pandemic prolongs remote work, some companies are deciding what tools they'll maintain. CIOs didn't have time to perform bake-offs in March, but they do now.