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Tessian Culture

Learn more about Tessian company news, events, and culture directly from different teams. Hear from engineering, product, customer success, and more.

Tessian Culture Cyber Skills Gap
Tessian Officially Named a 2021 UK’s Best Workplaces™ for Women
By Laura Brooks
01 July 2021
We’re excited to announce that Tessian has been recognized as one of the top three medium-sized companies in the UK’s Best Workplaces™ for Women for 2021.  Our Human First value, its commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), and its Employee Resource Group (ERG) for women – Tes-She-An – are just some of the reasons why people love working at the company. This recognition confirms that:  Tessian is a great workplace for all employees, including women. Tessian recognizes that women represent a valuable talent pool in increasingly talent–constrained industries such as cybersecurity and technology.  Tessian lives up to its company values of ‘Human First’ and ‘We Do the Right Thing’, as its leaders make meaningful changes to improve their ability to recruit, retain and nurture top female employees.
Education and training have been foundational first steps in Tessian’s DEI strategy. We partnered with Jeff Turner, former International Learning and Development Director for Facebook, to deliver company-wide training around diversity, unconscious bias and inclusion. We’ve also taken the time to establish our long-term DEI roadmap – which includes a diversity recruitment strategy across all hiring levels, expanding the entry-level talent pool by creating junior jobs for people entering the tech industry, and prioritizing the development of future leaders through well-defined growth frameworks across the company. 
In addition, Tessian’s ERG group – Tes-She-An – provides a space to support all employees who identify as women, celebrate their achievements, and help each other “shine even brighter” by focusing on career progression. The group runs monthly workshops for women, and invites inspiring external guests who are leading the charge in creating equal opportunities in the tech industry, to speak to employees. Importantly, these events do not operate in a closed network. They’re open to the entire company – not just women.  As a result of these initiatives and programs, 99% of Tessian employees surveyed by Great Place to Work® agreed that people at the company are treated fairly regardless of their gender.  Paige Rinke, Head of People at Tessian, says: “We are so proud to be recognized as a Best Workplace for Women and hear first-hand from our employees that our initiatives to create an inclusive workplace are resonating. One of our core values is Human First, and we’re committed to ensuring every employee feels supported and valued, and to improving gender and ethnicity representation across all levels of seniority at Tessian through our DEI efforts. “Why? Because empowering our people to thrive in an inclusive environment and challenging the status quo to create more equal opportunities in the tech industry is, ultimately, the right thing to do.”  Benedict Gautrey, Managing Director of Great Place to Work® UK, explains: “We’re delighted to recognize so many great organizations in this fourth year of the UK’s Best Workplaces™ for Women list. The issues affecting women in the workplace, particularly what we’ve witnessed in the face of the pandemic including parity of pay and advancement opportunities, continue to be important topics. “What our 2021 UK’s Best Workplaces™ for Women clearly show is the positive impact their practices have on business. As a result, they are better able to attract and retain women of talent, encouraging them to develop professionally and personally, and in turn, contribute exponentially to the success of the organizations they work for.” Want to work at Tessian? See if we have a role that interests you today.
Tessian Culture
A Year on from Plus, the Tessian LGBTQ+ Network
By Leon Brown
30 June 2021
This Pride month, at workplaces around the world, you would be forgiven for thinking nothing has changed — working at home, we find ourselves at the same desks looking out of the same windows. Pride celebrations still look and feel different from the ‘before times’, as the physical manifestations of our LGBTQ+ community are slowly rebuilt in digital fabric. A year on from the creation of Plus, Tessian’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group, we look back to our original mission and founding principles, what we’ve learned in these strange times, and what we can look forward to in 2021. How Plus was formed  In all of 2020’s uncertainty, there was one certainty in the transition to remote-working — digital would have to replace physical… at least for the time being.  Zoom calls replaced meeting rooms, Slack replaced coffee chats, and Tessian began to use a tool called Peakon to measure employee engagement. It was only natural, then, that Plus was started by a single Peakon message, asking: “Is Tessian doing anything for LGBTQ Pride Month?”
The answer turned out to be No — but that the opportunity presented itself with the full support of the company and executive team. Without any existing plans, a few LGBTQ+ Tessians self-organized and promoted our newly-formed group — Plus. For us, Pride has always been about celebration and amplification of LGBTQ+ voices — both inside and outside of Tessian, and to create a “safe space” for all Tessian LGBTQ+ employees to network, socialize, and share experiences behind closed doors.  But our largest reservation when starting Plus was always about critical mass.  How Plus grew at Tessian Without any visibility on LGBTQ+ employees at Tessian, we didn’t know if the group would have enough members to be successful, or if by creating a community exclusive to LGBTQ+ voices alone, we would be excluding allies of the community in a way that restricted our ability to act on our mission. Forming a small committee, we promoted the arrival of Plus during company all-hands, new employee onboardings, and relied on existing and larger employee resource groups to gather members. We were quickly impressed at the uptake, with more than 10% of the company joining Plus within the first month of launch — a significant minority and higher than the expected average. Seniority and function were both well-represented at Plus, pulling from all parts of Tessian and for the first time, providing an organized and welcoming committee of LGBTQ+ voices. Plus was formed around a core mission to:  Ensure an inclusive and respectful environment for all employees Raise awareness of, and represent the views and issues of, LGBTQ+ employees Provide a support network for LGBTQ+ employees Create opportunities to socialize with other LGBTQ+ employees Offer confidential support when needed Provide guidance to Tessian as an employer on policy and how to enhance its diversity strategy In practice, the digital certainties of our last year in remote work has led Plus to resculpt any and all ideas around community-building. Online socials over Zoom, knowledge sharing via Slack — and more recently — socially distanced gatherings at local parks, have all worked well. As Tessian began it’s formal journey on Diversity & Inclusion with the development of an internal D&I Report — again developed remotely — Plus had a seat at the table to shape the discussion around LGBTQ+ representation at the company. And sharing our message outside of Tessian, Plus was even fortunate enough to be interviewed for Infosecurity Magazine’s cover pride story alongside ERGs from Zivver and Rapid7.
That is to say, that even during a year when LGBTQ+ communities around the world have struggled to run gatherings, fundraising, or support networks, — when the importance of Pride as an LGBTQ+ institution has been validated — our approach to working directly with LGBTQ+ Tessians on the community-building activities that matter most to us has proven successful. What’s next for Plus? One of Tessian’s company values continues to be Human First. And with Plus, we’re proud to have created a private, Human First initiative for Tessians to celebrate their sexual orientation and gender identity. Plus germinated alongside Tessian’s transition to choice-first remote working, but won’t stop growing as we move forward to a hybrid workplace. Continuing to grow with new members, we’re excited to meet up in-person, campaign for positive change outside of Tessian, and work with external speakers to open up LGBTQ+ stories to the whole company. Do you lead an LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group at your company? Get in touch and we would love to hear from you on how you’ve elevated LGBTQ+ voices during the past year, and what successes you’ve seen building healthy LGBTQ+ communities.
Tessian Culture Engineering Team
React Hooks at Tessian
By Luke Barnard
16 June 2021
I’d like to describe Tessian’s journey with React hooks so far, covering some technical aspects as we go. About two years ago, some of the Frontend guild at Tessian were getting very excited about a new React feature that was being made available in an upcoming version: React Hooks. React Hooks are a very powerful way to encapsulate state within a React app. In the words of the original blog post, they make it possible to share stateful logic between multiple components. Much like React components, they can be composed to create more powerful hooks that combine multiple different stateful aspects of an application together in one place. So why were we so excited about the possibilities that these hooks could bring? The answer could be found in the way we were writing features before hooks came along. Every time we wrote a feature, we would have to write extra “boilerplate” code using what was, at some point, considered by the React community to be the de facto method for managing state within a React app ─ Redux. As well as Redux, we depended on Redux Sagas, a popular library for implementing asynchronous functionality within the confines of Redux. Combined, these two(!) libraries gave us the foundation upon which to do…very simple things, mostly API requests, handling responses, tracking loading and error states for each API that our app interacted with. The overhead of working in this way showed each feature required a new set of sagas, reducers, actions and of course the UI itself, not to mention the tests for each of these. This would often come up as a talking point when deciding how long a certain task would take during a sprint planning session. Of course there were some benefits in being able to isolate each aspect of every feature. Redux and Redux Sagas are both well-known for being easy to test, making testing of state changes and asynchronous API interactions very straight-forward and very ─if not entirely─ predictable. But there are other ways to keep testing important parts of code, even when hooks get involved (more on that another time). Also, I think it’s important to note that there are ways of using Redux Sagas without maintaining a lot of boilerplate, e.g. by using a generic saga, reducer and actions to handle all API requests. This would still require certain components to be connected to the Redux store, which is not impossible but might encourage prop-drilling. In the end, everyone agreed that the pattern we were using didn’t suit our needs, so we decided to introduce hooks to the app, specifically for new feature development. We also agreed that changing everything all at once in a field where paradigms fall into and out of fashion rather quickly was a bad idea. So we settled on a compromise where we would gradually introduce small pieces of functionality to test the waters. I’d like to introduce some examples of hooks that we use at Tessian to illustrate our journey with them. Tessian’s first hook: usePortal Our first hook was usePortal. The idea behind the hook was to take any component and insert it into a React Portal. This is particularly useful where the UI is shown “above” everything else on the page, such as dialog boxes and modals. The documentation for React Portals recommends using a React Class Component, using the lifecycle methods to instantiate and tear-down the portal as the component mounts/unmounts. Knowing we could achieve the same thing with hooks, we wrote a hook that would handle this functionality and encapsulate it, ready to be reused by our myriad of modals, dialog boxes and popouts across the Tessian portal. The gist of the hook is something like this:
Note that the hook returns a function that can be treated as a React component. This pattern is reminiscent of React HOCs, which are typically used to share concerns across multiple components. Hooks enable something similar but instead of creating a new class of component, usePortal can be used by any (function) component. This added flexibility gives hooks an advantage over HOCs in these sorts of situations. Anyway, the hook itself is very simple in nature, but what it enables is awesome! Here’s an example of how usePortal can be used to give a modal component its own portal:
Just look at how clean that is! One line of code for an infinite amount of behind-the-scenes complexity including side-effects and asynchronous behaviors! It would be an understatement to say that at this point, the entire team was hooked on hooks!   Tessian’s hooks, two months later Two months later we wrote hooks for interacting with our APIs. We were already using Axios as our HTTP request library and we had a good idea of our requirements for pretty much any API interaction. We wanted: To be able to specify anything accepted by the Axios library To be able to access the latest data returned from the API To have an indication of whether an error had occurred and whether a request was ongoing Our real useFetch hook has since become a bit more complicated but to begin with, it looked something like this:
To compare this to the amount of code we would have to write for Redux sagas, reducers and actions, there’s no comparison. This hook clearly encapsulated a key functionality that we have since gone on to use dozens of times in dozens of new features. From here on out, hooks were here to stay in the Tessian portal, and we decided to phase out Redux for use in features. Today there are 72 places where we’ve used this hook or its derivatives ─ that’s 72 times we haven’t had to write any sagas, reducers or actions to manage API requests! Tessian’s hooks in 2021 I’d like to conclude with one of our more recent additions to our growing family of hooks. Created by our resident “hook hacker”, João, this hook encapsulates a very common UX paradigm seen in basically every app. It’s called useSave. The experience is as follows: The user is presented with a form or a set of controls that can be used to alter the state of some object or document in the system. When a change is made, the object is considered “edited” and must be “saved” by the user in order for the changes to persist and take effect. Changes can also be “discarded” such that the form returns to the initial state. The user should be prompted when navigating away from the page or closing the page to prevent them from losing any unsaved changes. When the changes are in the process of being saved, the controls should be disabled and there should be some indication to let the user know that: (a) the changes are being saved, (b) the changes have been saved successfully, or that (c) there was an error with their submission. Each of these aspects require the use of a few different native hooks: A hook to track the object data with the user’s changes (useState) A hook to save the object data on the server and expose the current object data (useFetch) A hook to update the tracked object data when a save is successful (useEffect) A hook to prevent the window from closing/navigating if changes haven’t been saved yet (useEffect) Here’s a simplified version:
As you can see, the code is fairly concise and more importantly it makes no mention of any UI component. This separation means we can use this hook in any part of our app using any of our existing UI components (whether old or new). An exercise for the reader: see if you can change the hook above so that it exposes a textual label to indicate the current state of the saved object. For example if isLoading is true, maybe the label could indicate “Saving changes…” or if hasChanges is true, the text could read “Click ‘Save’ to save changes”. Tessian is hiring! Thanks for following me on this wild hook-based journey, I hope you found it enlightening or inspiring in some way. If you’re interested in working with other engineers that are super motivated to write code that can empower others to implement awesome features, you’re in luck! Tessian is hiring for a range of different roles, so connect with me on LinkedIn, and I can refer you!
Tessian Culture
Lessons Learned From Raising Our Series C Via Zoom
By Tim Sadler
16 June 2021
In February this year, I set out to raise Tessian’s Series C. As many other great founders have written, timing is everything when it comes to fundraising, so we picked our moment carefully. We’d achieved significant growth since our Series B in 2019, we’d just run our first customer NPS (the scores were very good), and we were about to launch our most significant product release to date: Human Layer Risk Hub.  This isn’t our first rodeo. It’s actually my 7th fundraise for Tessian. But there was a key difference this time. The world is working remotely. This meant our entire fundraising process happened over Zoom. So while I was expecting to use a similar version of the process I’d used over the past 7 years, it instead turned out to be something completely different.  Here are four of my key lessons learned from raising our Series C over Zoom.  (1) Get ready to move fast The biggest change I experienced in raising a remote round is how much faster things move. The convenience of Zoom and the fact that nobody is traveling right now, means that it’s easier to schedule large groups of people to join a first meeting with a company. Almost all of the first meetings we had with funds involved multiple partners (some involved the majority of the fund), and this means you’ve already shortcutted what may have taken weeks in a normal process. We experienced things moving quickly from first meeting to data room (normally the same day), and then super fast again from data room to agreeing the next meetings and customer calls. Speed is a blessing for most processes (selling, hiring), but when it comes to fundraising it’s important that founders are ready to move at pace. This means having your data room prepped in advance, NDAs signed if you’re using them, and customers on standby to act as references. Because if you don’t, you risk being left behind and losing the attention span of the funds who are inundated with opportunities right now.  (2) Get your audience to lean in  You need to bring the energy on every pitch. People are back to back on Zoom all day. And to add to this, they’re sitting in front of a computer being constantly pinged with alerts and have full access to their inbox and messaging apps. The temptation to drift away from what you’re pitching and into the chaos of work has never been higher. You need to make people lean into your presentation. You need to inspire them over Zoom. It means that the standards for your deck, narrative, product demo and delivery all have to be a level up from pitching in person. This is a heavy lift without human connection involved. Be ready for it. (3) Showcase your company by bringing in your wider team In normal times, you’d more than likely have funds come and visit your offices. An office environment is such a great way to observe the people, culture, scale and mission of a company. Now that we’re all remote, you can’t showcase your company that way. But you need to. It’s still so important to show the bigger picture of what you’re creating. While remotely raising our Series C we tried hard to have as many people amplify our story as possible. We connected investors with customers, had our executives host sessions with investors and also invited funds we were speaking to join the virtual events and webinars we were running. All of this helps investors feel the scale and impact of your company and its mission in a remote world. (4) Build rapport into your process  Through our Seed, Series A and Series B fundraises, we got to build great relationships with the people that we ended up partnering with (and also those we didn’t get to partner with). By the time these rounds were closed, I’d shared multiple coffees, lunches and dinners with investors. I knew their hobbies, where they went to school, who their family were. What became immediately apparent when we started raising the remote Series C is that things are almost efficient to a fault. If you let it, the fundraising process can focus fully on the business and erase any chance to build rapport. To combat this, Ed Bishop (my co-founder and Tessian’s CTO) and I would do little things around our pitch and meeting with investors. In our core deck, we had pictures of our first “office” (i.e. the tiny kitchen table in our even tinier apartment where we started the company) and shared personal anecdotes about our journey to-date in building the company. This did two things. It showed investors who we were as founders but also as people, so they knew when they partnered with us what it would look like. It also gave us the opportunity to know them as people based on their reaction (i.e. did they laugh? Say nothing? Admire the hustle?)  So there you have it. While in a non-remote setting people used to advise budgeting 180 days for a fundraise, Tessian’s Series C took just 63 days from first pitch to cash in the bank. The difference was that the intensity was much more concentrated over a short period of time and you have to find new ways to build rapport and your relationship with your potential investors.  As the US is starting to reopen, people are naturally trying to predict whether this is the beginning of the end for remote work, and questioning if we’ll all be back to offices soon. Whatever happens, I think remote work has changed the way companies and founders will raise venture capital for good. Zoom means that the overall process moves so much faster and funds are no longer restricted by the geography of their portfolio companies.  With all of this change though, one thing remains. The human connection is still so important. We ran our entire process virtually and met funds located all throughout the world. However, it just so happens that the lead investor we chose to partner with was located 5 minutes down the road, and we had the opportunity to meet them and their network multiple times in person throughout the process. Even though remote raising may be here to stay, the people you raise the money from is still the most important thing. Make sure you take the time to get to know who they are and build the relationship ahead of time.  If you’re interested in reading more about our recent fundraise and what it means for Tessian, everything you need to know is here.  Have you raised a remote round recently? What’s your experience been? I’d love to hear from you. 
Tessian Culture
The Rise Of The New-School CISO
By Henry Trevelyan Thomas
09 June 2021
I’m lucky. I get to speak to and learn from hundreds of CISOs each year across all different sizes and types of orgs. Each conversation gives a unique insight into how companies approach security and, crucially, what works well and what doesn’t.  Over the last few years, there is a very specific type of security leader who I’ve seen succeeding time and time again. A type of CISO that has particular success in winning boards over, getting employees to engage, and ultimately reducing exposure for their org. So what makes these new-school CISOs so successful? 1. Security = sales Gone are the days where security leaders are technical folks that shun any form of pitching as “not part of their job”. The best CISOs have recognized the importance of security in winning new customers and embraced it. Whether it’s leveraging their progressive security tech stack to impress, wowing a prospective customers’ security team over a call, or being a crucial part of the pitch team, security can have a material impact on the most important business driver (new revenue). It doesn’t start when the pitch has been secured; I’m regularly hit up by CISOs at customers asking for intros to prospective new customers. CISOs winning and finding deals – no wonder they don’t struggle with exec attention.    2. Customer success = CISO’s success I’m biased, but nothing is more important than making the customer successful. It’s easy for security teams to think they have limited ability to impact their customers’ success, but some CISOs are going above and beyond to make their customers successful. From proactively building relationships with customers’ security teams to notifying customers of potential vulnerabilities, nothing beats having a direct relationship with a customer. Better still, if you can help them be more secure, you’re creating value for the customer and protecting your organization; after all, you’re only as secure as the customers (and suppliers) you work with.    3. Employees are everything Security doesn’t work in a vacuum. You won’t win as a CISO if you push down security policies and assume they’ll be adopted. This belief is at the core of the new-school of CISO – they know that they’ll only drive positive change in the organization if they bring people along for the journey. That means great storytelling, making content relevant and doing everything they possibly can to help, not hinder, their employees to work securely. Some great examples I’ve seen here are hijacking the beginning of other meetings to educate on security, giving line managers the insight they need to make their teams work securely and gamifying leaderboards to make security competitive.   4. Mission-driven Businesses exist to achieve their mission. Security exists to ensure businesses can stay safe in order to achieve their mission. It’s that simple, and emergent CISOs are building their team around this premise. Unfortunately, often there are years worth of clunky legacy technology and processes that restrict employees, meaning CISOs need to go against the status quo, ask more from their solutions and not settle for anything less than frictionless UX. It’s awesome to see security teams start to judge their success on the delight of their employees – using metrics such as NPS or CSAT – as well as more security-centric metrics. After all, if you enable your employees, you’ll enable your business to succeed.     5. Technical proficiency There’s no doubt having a level of technical proficiency as a CISO is important, but the CISOs who are influencing the most and driving change in the profession often win because they are great communicators, understand business drivers and care about user experience. More and more, I’m seeing CISOs from non-technical backgrounds triumph by combining the above traits with hiring a team who bring the technical expertise.  It’s been awesome seeing security – and the role of the CSIO – change and observing which type of CISOs are having the most success. No doubt in 12 months time, the traits needed to succeed will have changed again and I’ll need to rewrite this 🤦‍♀️.   
Tessian Culture
Building a Customer Success Team: 5 Pillars of Success
By Henry Trevelyan Thomas
02 June 2021
Customer Success (CS) is on fire. LinkedIn recently ranked CS as the 6th fastest growing role, 80% of CS teams saw growth last year and investors can’t get enough of net revenue retention (NRR). It’s never been more important to make your customers successful, but it’s also not always easy. In my journey growing Tessian from a 5 to a 150 person company, I am learning the importance of focus in creating the right environment for your CS team and customers to succeed.  Focus and attention needs to start at a company level. At Tessian, we’re lucky that long-term customer health and value has always been at the forefront of our founders’ minds; so much so that it became codified in of our core company values:
With a tick against company buy-in, my next learning was the importance of championing this value internally and with customers. To drive this focus, we developed a CS strategy built on 5 pillars. I’ve outlined our pillars below in the hope they may help other growing CS teams.
1. People It all starts with your people. It’s no longer enough to have a great product, it’s about how you deliver it. To turn your CS motion into extensions of your customers’ teams and into a key differentiator for your company (the holy grail), you need the best people motivated to push new boundaries. That’s why this pillar always comes first for us.    It’s all very well getting the best people in seat (we use interview scorecards based on our 5 pillars to source, interview and hire for the right competency and culture fit), but you also need to create an environment for people to succeed. Doing so is a team commitment, which requires everyone to commit to helping each other thrive. One of the ways we’ve been doing this is through our “CS People Committee”, who meet monthly to review team sentiment and feedback from our employee engagement tool (Peakon). The committee works to ensure we are continually prioritizing the changes and refinements that are needed to ensure the team continues to remain a great place to work. They recently identified “career growth” as a key area for improvement, leading to the team collaborating to implement growth frameworks for all CS roles 🙌 !  We measure team success and progress using Peakon scores, but we all know the real impact of an engaged team is reflected in how our customers are doing, which is when we turn to our next pillar… 2. Customer Health Having a deep understanding of your customers’ health is critical. Done well, the business impact for the team (proactive engagement, better understanding of value, more focused interactions) and customers (faster time to value, better feedback loops, earlier course-correcting) is huge. The catch is that defining and measuring customer health isn’t easy; it is a nuanced, multi-faceted and a very contextual exercise.  Until we embarked on our journey of contextualizing customer health at Tessian, we relied on gut-feel and experience to diagnose customer health issues. This wasn’t going to scale with our rapidly-growing customer base, so we built a predictive customer health score in Gainsight, bringing together qualitative customer experience variables (relationship strength, sentiment, advocacy, etc) and quantitative product outcomes (time to deploy, product performance, portal engagement, etc) into one place.  This was a great start, but we soon realized our health score was an internally controlled score, which lacked external customer validation. Enter net promoter score (NPS). We built an adaptive NPS program based on the customer stage in their journey with us, giving us a constant stream of live customer feedback. Our NPS augments our predictive health score and has now become the north star metric for this particular pillar.  3. Customer Growth Net Revenue Retention (NRR) is fast becoming one of the most important metrics in SaaS, and CS is the new growth engine driving it. It’s a great measure of both product and customer success. Get it right (>100%) and company valuations soar. Get it wrong (<100%) and you’re going to struggle to survive.  We identified very early that onboarding was one of the key areas we needed to get right to positively impact our NRR. The quicker customers onboard, the quicker we’re showing value (for example, stopping breaches), and the more opportunities we have to show them how else we can help (by introducing them to our expanding product portfolio). Through a combination of creating a dedicated onboarding team (less distractions for CSMs) and working closely with our product teams to drive automation in our product (post technical onboarding, our machine learning-led approach means little product configuration is required), we focused our CSMs on showing customers where there’s opportunity to deepen their protection and increase business value with Tessian. Our quarterly account planning cycles help keep everyone (onboarding, CSMs, AMs, leadership) on the same page about how customers are progressing through their journeys and where we specifically need to focus our efforts.   As a result of this pillar, our NRR rate is now a key measure of success for not only our Customer Growth pillar, but for the company as a whole, with the CS team tracking against churn and expansion targets on a weekly basis.  Our growth focus doesn’t just stop at NRR. Sales Engineering also falls under the CS umbrella due to our proximity and intersection with Product, Engineering and, most importantly, our customers. The combination of anecdotal customer feedback and a deep understanding of the product and its use cases, leaves us with a formidable Sales Eng team who are focused on bringing more customers and revenue into Tessian 👊.. 4. Customer Community We very consciously set out to make a customer’s decision to buy Tessian about more than just buying our products; they’re also joining a the Human Layer Security movement (#SecureTheHumanLayer) that helps amplify their voice, profession and careers. By creating a community of speakers, advocates and content creators, not only are we engaging with our customers at a deeper level, we’re also spreading the word, and building advocacy which in turns helps us to generate more pipeline, getting us closer to our mission of securing the human layer for enterprises across the globe. We’ve repeatedly seen the power of putting our customers at the center of our community: our flagship event – The Human Layer Security Summit – has gone from 30 to over 2,500 attendees; our podcast was ranked among the best data breach podcasts after our debut season launched; and our customer-led product webinar series has been big hit. So we’ve decided to continue doubling-down on our customers’ involvement. To incentivize the team to build and sustain a healthy customer community, we gamified customer involvement through creating an “advocacy events” score, which involves CSMs earning points as a result of customers engagement in our community (referrals, speakers, case studies, podcasts, reviews, etc). Going forward, we’ll be tracking which advocacy events lead to the most pipeline generation and acceleration of value for customers because, after all, that’s a core objective of our community.   
5. Product Enablement Our product philosophy is based on the fact that security teams have too much to do with too little time; hence we lean heavily on automation and reducing time to manage. To maintain our product experience, we are very aware that we need to carry that philosophy through in our onboarding and support interactions. To do so, we invested early (way before most people said we needed to) in building, maintaining and promoting a HelpCenter. This continues to be a great resource for educating both customers and new team members dealing with onboarding or technical issues. We learned soon after release that text-heavy articles are often counterproductive and get poor uptake, so we pivoted to snappy articles, explainer videos and lots of diagrams.  The feedback on the HelpCentre has been amazing and it has played a big role in influencing our key product enablement metrics: CSAT and % users onboarded.  Defining your pillars of success We’re still on a journey of continually reviewing and refining our pillars (we have so much more to learn), but having this framework has allowed us to focus on the things that matter most for our company and customers.  Here are some top tips for defining your own pillars: Keep them simple – anyone should be able to glance at your pillars and quickly understand what your CS team is about. Align them to business priorities – what’s top of mind for your company in the next 12-18 months? Align your pillars to that. The more relevant they are to the company story, the more they’ll resonate with execs, leadership and other teams. And be sure to build a routine of re-examining and refining the pillars because as the business changes, so will your team’s focus. Make sure they’re measurable – pick a “north star” KPI to measure each pillar against. You’ll likely have a ton of supporting KPIs in each pillar, but the north star KPI will keep everyone focused on what’s important. Don’t pick too many! – we’ve learned that 5 to 6 is the sweet spot. Anything more and you risk spreading your focus too thinly and anything less you’re likely to not be effective in helping your company achieve its mission. I’ve only scratched the surface in this article but hope at least some of these lessons we’ve learned at Tessian can be helpful in your journey. It can sometimes be daunting to condense your team strategy into a few key pillars (not least because CS differs so wildly in every company), but get them right and your team will have the focus, clarity and ownership it requires to thrive 🤝 .  
Human Layer Security Tessian Culture
Announcing our $65M Series C led by March Capital
By Tim Sadler
25 May 2021
Today, I’m thrilled to share the news that Tessian has raised a $65m Series C led by March Capital with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Accel, Balderton Capital and Latitude and new investor Schroder Adveq! Tessian has achieved a huge amount since our Series B funding in early 2019.  We’ve created a new category of security software, addressing the 90% of data breaches caused by human error in the enterprise — we call it Human Layer Security.  We’ve added a slew of product enhancements to our platform including the Human Layer Risk Hub, machine based detection for incorrectly attached files on emails and email security against phishing emails from externally compromised vendors.  We’ve expanded globally hiring an incredible team in the US, grown our company from 77 to over 150 and hired security experts to lead us in this next chapter. (Welcome again Ramin Sayar, Aaron Cote and Matt Smith 👋) But the work I’m most proud of is how we’ve served our customers. We tripled our Fortune 500 customer base in 2020, and to date have prevented an incredible 300k+ data breaches and security threats for our customers, as well as prevented over half a million phishing attacks that would otherwise have bypassed other security controls like Secure Email Gateways. From the first meeting we had with March Capital, it was clear that we shared the same vision. March Capital’s experience with Crowdstrike and KnowBe4 not only showed them what it takes to build a category leader in security, but also, made it clear that so many challenges still remain to be solved.  As with our Seed, Series A and Series B, what’s always the most important thing, though, is the people who you’re going to be working with. I’m delighted to welcome Jamie Montgomery to Tessian’s Board of Directors and couldn’t be more excited to partner with him, Jed Leidheiser and the whole team at March Capital on our next chapter of growth. I’m also excited to welcome Schroder Adveq to our investor base. Schroders and their security team have been invaluable supporters of Tessian right from the start when they became one of our first ever customers. It’s a great honor and a proud moment to have one of our first customers join our Series C and now support us as investors. Tessian’s Series C marks an incredible new chapter for our company. The capital raised will be used to investing heavily in R&D to expand Tessian to secure other interfaces and communication channels beyond email, as well as bringing Human Layer Risk Scores to enterprises around the world, helping them quantify the security strengths and weaknesses of every single employee in their organization. We’ll also be expanding our go-to-market teams in the US, UK and beyond, as well as launching our first partnership programs led by our newly formed Business Development team.  But the most exciting thing about this Series C announcement is how it will help our customers. Every single minute Tessian’s behavioral intelligence models prevent 36 human layer security incidents. This new round of funding will see us continue to invest heavily in building world class Customer Success and Product teams to serve the security teams that rely on their human layer security. I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all of our customers. Without your support and trust none of this would be possible. Tessian would still be a concept in the sketchbook of Ed Bishop (my co-founder and Tessian’s Chief Technology Officer), not the company it is today.  And last but by no means least, the biggest thank you of all goes to our employees and the tireless, mission-driven work you put in every day to build our incredible company. Tessian shines so brightly because of your brilliance.  But as with every fundraise, this is just the beginning. It takes a village and we’re only just getting started. If you know anyone looking to take the next step in their career and to join a company solving the biggest problem in enterprise security today, please get in touch, we are hiring! 🚀
Tessian Culture
Why We’re Logging Off at Lunchtime This Summer
By Paige Rinke
12 May 2021
We don’t have to tell people that it’s been a hard year.  We’ve all been locked inside, unable to leave our local areas to explore the world around us. Tessians haven’t been able to see their families and friends IRL, and relationships have had to be maintained on zoom.  It’s tough, and it’s definitely weighing on all of us.  But, this summer we want to change that and hopefully give our Tessians the chance to make up for lost time. To spend time with loved ones, to take care of themselves, and (maybe, just maybe!) even board a plane again. We’ve been running what we’ve deemed “Refreshian Day” over the last year. This is a day we all take each quarter, to all be offline together, and to focus purely on taking care of ourselves.  Want to learn more? Check out this blog: Why Shutting Down Tessian Was The Best Decision We Ever Made. With the success of these days, we’re introducing something new: Refreshian Summer.  So, what exactly is Refreshian Summer? Every Friday in July and August will be a half day for Tessians – meaning we will all log off around lunchtime. No annual leave needs to be logged to take these afternoons off, it’s just time for all Tessians to spend doing whatever will bring them joy or relaxation. This seems like a lot of time off….why are we doing this?  First, we think it’s simply the right thing to do. Research has shown that in countries like the US and UK (where most Tessians are based), people are working 2 – 3 hours more per day. The line between our personal and professional lives are blurry and everyone seems to always be online. That means there’s never a delay between emails. It’s a perpetual cycle of quick responses, and persistent, intense pace. And, because people aren’t taking time off, there’s no real “break”.  While we don’t expect the pace to change (hypergrowth will always be demanding, and we like it that way!), we can change the way that we support our people.  We’ve found that on Refreshian Day, people genuinely manage to switch off, without worrying about what’s going on in their absence, or the number of emails that are coming through (because there aren’t any!). We want to create this feeling all summer. After what we’ve all been through, we really need to be able to take advantage of the sunniest days, in whatever way we like, and truly relax.  Plus, there’s some pretty cool research on how having something to look forward to bolsters our ability to cope with stress – we could all use a little of that right now!
How are we going to make this work? We appreciate that many of you will be thinking “How on earth are you going to get all your employees to reduce their working time by 10%?” or,“How are you going to manage this across multiple timezones, since you’re losing daily crossover time?” We get you, and we hear you.  But, we’re encouraging our team to remember that this is temporary. And we think that for a temporary period it’s possible to adapt and reduce our working time just one day per week, and to workout timezone issues. We don’t believe in mandating an approach (autonomy =  where the best ideas come from), and trust all Tessians to work with their team and manager to agree ways of working during this time.  But, we’ve come up with some broad suggestions on how people might work together to reduce time in meetings this summer. Here’s a look at some of these: Manage how you will communicate with team members in earlier/later time zones that you would normally have a Friday crossover with – e.g. Can you use asynchronous communication instead? Recording a short video clip is easy to do on Zoom and is a great way to communicate complex ideas.  We ask that every team scrutinize their recurring meeting and determine where you can temporarily reduce the number of meetings. For example:  Do you need to have a stand-up every day? Would 3 days per week suffice instead? Can you move your global wrap-ups to a Thursday afternoon (UK)/morning (US) instead?  Which 1 to 1s or team meetings can you reduce from weekly to bi-weekly, or can you shorten the duration? Does the idea of Sync & Maker hours work in your team and would it be worth trying out to increase efficiency? Should you block out Friday mornings on your calendar for “No Meetings” so that people have time to plan before the weekend? Do you have the right coverage/on-call approach in place if you’re in a customer facing role? There will be plenty of things we won’t have thought of, which we can’t wait to hear from our team about.  What’s next? This is an experiment – but one that we’re really excited to try. We will be seeking feedback continually from our team and adjusting where we need to as the summer goes on. We’ll also be collecting best practices from our teams who have found ways to reduce time spent in meetings (but maintain effectiveness) or communicate asynchronously.  And, we will simply be looking forward some well-earned time off this Refreshian Summer.  Want to learn more about Tessian’s values and culture? You can explore more articles here.
Tessian Culture
Sumo Logic CEO Ramin Sayar Joins Tessian’s Board of Directors
By Tessian
06 May 2021
Ramin Sayar, President and CEO of Sumo Logic, has joined Tessian’s Board of Directors. In his role as a board member, Sayar will advise on various go-to-market strategies, technology strategies, as well as, help drive and improve operational excellence to support Tessian’s accelerated global growth. Sayar will continue to lead Sumo Logic as the company’s President and CEO, a position he has held since 2014. Sayar brings with him over 20 years of experience in the technology industry, along with a strong track record of developing innovative products in both emerging and mature markets. Mr. Sayar, an experienced strategic and operating leader of both small and large organizations, has a strong track record of developing innovative products in both emerging and mature markets. Prior to joining Sumo Logic he served as the Senior Vice President and General Manager of VMware’s Cloud Management Business Unit at VMware, which was the company’s fastest growing billion dollar business unit. Previously, Ramin held multiple executive roles with leading companies such as HP Software, Mercury Software, Tibco Software, AOL & Netscape. Sayar has also served as advisor and on the boards of various other startup companies, helping them build product, go-to-market and business strategies. On joining Tessian’s Board of Directors, Sayar said, “It’s very exciting to join such an innovative and pioneering team like Tessian. By focusing on people first, Tessian has defined and created a new category of security software that is defining the Human Layer Security movement, and I see more companies – legacy and new – following suit. Tessian’s technology enables businesses to visualize the risks posed by employees and easily take targeted actions to reduce them. What I find most impactful and remarkable is how Tessian drives lasting behavior change in employees, which ultimately makes them not only more accountable, but also more secure in their work and personal lives.” Tim Sadler, CEO and co-founder of Tessian said, “Having Ramin join Tessian’s board is another step in reinforcing our position as the category leader in Human Layer Security. Ramin is a world-class operator and one of the most empathetic leaders I’ve met. His human-first approach to business aligns perfectly with our company values and mission, and I believe this alignment will help us solve some of the biggest challenges that enterprises face today. With his knowledge of the industry and talent for helping innovative startups grow and thrive, Ramin’s appointment is going to be game-changing for our customers and our company.”
Tessian Culture
How We Created a D&I Strategy to Maximize Impact
By Amina Godfrey
19 April 2021
You might have read about our D&I learning journey, the start of our journey to create a better Tessian and a better world. After such an illuminating learning series, it was tempting to dive straight into initiatives and solutions. But if we want to tackle such significant and impactful challenges, we can’t work on everything all at once. We need focus.  So we made an active decision to approach D&I with the rigor we bring to all aspects of work at Tessian…and that means data. We gathered data we knew could inform our broader D&I strategy and help us to narrow down focus areas where we could have sustainable impact.  Gathering the data The aim of our internal research was to understand: What our representation at Tessian looks like; and Whether the experience of Tessians varies according to personal attributes and protected characteristics On a voluntary basis, we asked all our Tessians to submit information about themselves using our engagement platform Peakon. We had great uptake, with 80-90% of Tessians providing information about their personal attributes. This allowed us to understand representation at Tessian, across different aspects of diversity, including gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, and age. From this we were able to: Segment anonymous employee experience feedback scores to identify groups (based on personal characteristics) who are having a different experience and; Conduct a pay gap and employee retention analysis Determining focus areas You might be thinking…how statistically significant is data when you’re a small company (for reference, we’re currently about 150 people)? We asked ourselves this question A LOT. With so few data points, we were reluctant to draw certain conclusions from our findings. Instead, we have treated our findings as indicators of places we need to go and do further research. The data isn’t the be all and end all of our understanding, but it does provide the signposts.  We paired these data insights with what we hear from the company anecdotally, and what we know to be the case in the tech industry. This gave us a good picture of where Tessian is with D&I today. But we still needed focus. So, we asked ourselves: Where are our biggest concerns? Where can we make a significant impact? These two simple questions helped us to identify the key focus areas of our D&I efforts this year. So…where did we land? Ensure every Tessian continues to feel like they’re supported, valued and belong at Tessian Improve ethnicity and gender representation across all levels of seniority at Tessian We believe by focusing in these areas we can create a long-lasting positive impact on diversity and inclusion, in Tessian and in our industry. Building our strategy Once we had our focus areas, we worked closely with our exec team to build the strategy and tactics we would commit to this year. These discussions with our exec team centred not only on how to make change for a better Tessian, but also initiatives that would help create a more diverse industry.  As the exec team were bouncing ideas on tactics, we were careful to keep in mind every point of the employee life cycle. When thinking about D&I, it’s easy to focus on top of funnel diversity in hiring. Improving representation through hiring is important, but on its own it’s not enough. It matters what Tessians experience once they’re through the door too.
Once we had committed to the steps we’re taking this year, we kicked off by presenting our research and our strategy to the whole of Tessian. Our employees don’t just want to know what we’ve found, they want to know what we’re doing about it and when. So as part of this presentation, we shared this 2021 D&I roadmap.
As we work our way through the roadmap, we will be communicating progress, wins and learnings every two weeks in our employee newsletter. We want every Tessian to stay super engaged in this work, and to have the opportunity to bring ideas and feedback to the table. How our work this year will create long-term solutions It’s no secret that today, the tech industry isn’t that diverse. If we want representation of  diverse people at Tessian, it’s not enough to draw from the existent talent pool, where so many groups are so underrepresented. By this we mean that it’s not enough for us to think about short term wins for Tessian’s stats. We need to be committed to making positive, sustainable change in the long term. And that means changing the whole industry, as well as Tessian.  We want to create opportunities for a range of people to move into tech, and make sure they want to stay! If we don’t, our CFO, Sabrina Castiglione, will tell you how no-one wins in this zero-sum game.  Our long term strategy is about growing and expanding the entry-level talent pool by creating junior jobs for people entering the tech industry, whether that’s in Sales or Engineering. But remember, we don’t just want to bring them in, we want them to stay, learn and grow! Only then will we get representation of diverse voices in senior positions.  To achieve this, we’re prioritizing the development of future leaders through well-defined growth frameworks across the company. Every Tessian creates a detailed growth plan, and by the end of the year, we’ll have a tailored growth framework for every single department at Tessian.  These tactics won’t move the needle on senior representation this year. Probably not next year either. But through them, we can change the game when it comes to diversity in tech. We want to see senior representation, and that means bringing in and building up fresh talent.  How to act today As well as the longer-term goals, we’re taking action on some short-term wins to ensure our business is an equitable and inclusive place for everyone today. Even before that representation has changed.  D&I needs to be baked into the culture of a business. And that doesn’t just mean D&I training alone.  It means we need to interrogate every single one of our People processes and ask “Is there opportunity for bias here?”.  It means we need to inspect our company communications and ask “Who has a voice here?” It means we need to listen to employee feedback and ask “Do people have an equitable experience here?” There’s nothing stopping us asking these questions today. And the good news is — we have the power to have a huge impact on the answers straight away. Want to keep up with our D&I journey? Subscribe to our weekly blog digest to be the first to hear about updates. Or, if you’d rather explore open opportunities at Tessian, click here. 
Compliance Tessian Culture Engineering Team
Securing SOC 2 Certification
By Trevor Luker
30 March 2021
Building on our existing ISO 27001 security certification, Tessian is excited to announce that we have achieved Service Organization Control 2 Type 2 (SOC 2) compliance in the key domains of Security, Confidentiality and Availability with zero exceptions on our very first attempt. Achieving full SOC 2 Type 2 compliance within 6 months is simply sensational and is a huge achievement for our company. It reinforces our message to customers and prospects that Information Security and protecting customer data is at the very core of everything Tessian does.
The Journey We began the preparations for SOC 2 in September 2020 and initiated the formal process in October. Having previously experienced the pain and trauma of doing SOC 2 manually, we knew that to move quickly, we needed tooling to assist with the evidence gathering and reporting.  Fortunately we were introduced to VANTA, which automates the majority of the information gathering tasks, allowing the Tessian team to concentrate on identifying and closing any gaps we had. VANTA is a great platform, and we would recommend it to any other company undertaking SOC 2 or ISO 27001 certification. For the external audit part of the process, we were especially fortunate to team up with Barr Advisory who proactively helped us navigate the maze of the Trust Service Criteria requirements. They provided skilled, objective advice and guidance along the way, and we would particularly like to thank Cody Hewell and Kyle Helles for their insights, enthusiasm and support. Tessian chose an accelerated three month observation period, which in turn, put a lot of pressure on internal resources to respond to information requests and deliver process changes as required. The Tessian team knew how important SOC 2 was to us strategically and rallied to the challenge. Despite some extremely short timeframes, we were able to deliver the evidence that the auditors needed.  A huge team effort and a great reflection of Tessian’s Craft At Speed value. What Next? Achieving SOC 2 Type 2 is a crucial step for Tessian as we expand further into the large enterprise space. It’s also the basis on which we will further develop our compliance and risk management initiatives, leading to specialized government security accreditation in the US and Europe over the next year or two.
Tessian Culture
Mind Over Matter: Why We Prioritize a Growth Mindset at Tessian
By Samantha Holt
30 March 2021
“I can’t ….” “I’m an anxious person.” “I’m bad with numbers.” “I don’t understand the technical stuff; it’s just not for me!” Sound familiar? These are the limiting beliefs of someone stuck in what Dr. Carol Dweck, Stanford University psychologist and author of Mindsets: The New Psychology of Success, termed “fixed mindset.”  The problem with a fixed mindset If you’re in the “fixed mindset” camp, you most likely avoid challenges, don’t like failure (flag! can be prone to sandbag), ignore feedback, and believe you’re stuck with what you’ve got: your intelligence, talents, and abilities.  You’re simply what you are. People in this camp often rely on talent alone and will spend time looking for praise and recognition vs building on past successes, seeing the silver lining in failures, and getting better. If you say out loud that you’ll never understand the technical stuff … your team will believe it and more importantly, YOU will believe it. The opportunity to learn will end there. The very language we use to describe our limitations makes those limitations a reality.  This can be especially limiting when it comes to doing things out of your comfort zone. Why mindset matters when you’re out of your comfort zone  The mindset you have will likely how you react when you’re out of your comfort zone.  To keep it simple, there are likely only three directions you’ll gravitate towards when you’re out of your comfort zone:  Flight: You’ll freak out and run the other way, seeking shelter and safety  Fight: You’ll get angry, irritated, or annoyed by the situation  Freeze: You’ll freeze in your tracks, not able to move the conversation forward, hoping no one notices  This is where a “growth mindset” comes in.
The learning zone: A growth mindset You want to find space between the trigger and your response (i.e. fleeing, fighting or freezing) where you can plant your feet firmly on the ground, step into the chaos, and try to learn from the difficult situation. If you’re in the “growth mindset” camp, you believe your intelligence, talents, and abilities can grow through Grit & Perseverance (a Tessian value!).  What you’re born with is just the foundation, which cultivates an insatiable desire in you to continue learning and improving.  How is Tessian championing a growth mindset? In the last year, we created a Global Leadership Team (GLT) to help our people work on personal and leadership growth. 
We focused on growth mindset because an essential part of scaling a hyper-growth start-up is building a culture where your people are unafraid to set moonshot goals.  But to set these ambitious moonshot goals, we also need to be comfortable with failing fast, iterating, and continuing to build. As Simon Sinek says “What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Iterate. Fail. Try again. Change the world.”  At Tessian we want to change the world of cybersecurity. During our GLT sessions on growth mindset, our biggest takeaway was that we need to change how we view our failures. This change of mindset takes time, but we’ve already begun relishing in challenges, because mistakes and setbacks aren’t a reflection on us — just on our preparation and current ability, which are adaptable. We can grow! Tips to help you adopt a growth mindset We’re creating a culture where our leaders are open to feedback, accountable for their own growth, and resilient to take on new challenges — we are seeing the impact of this with increased creativity, innovation, and bottom-line growth. So, how can you adopt a growth mindset? Here are three of the core “growth mindset” tenants we implemented: Openly recognize and reward the value of learning from failure with your team. Failure is inevitable when it comes to running a team. So when you’re running a retrospective, it’s a good idea to openly speak about your own failures and those of the team, plus the lessons you learned. This will help create a culture where failure is recognized as a learning tool. Result? Your team will be encouraged to grow and take innovative risks. Embed a company or leadership value that focuses on perseverance. A great organization doesn’t grow overnight. The fruits of growth require time, which means perseverance is key. We found having a company value around “Grit & Perseverance” helped to better embed this concept throughout our teams. We speak about it at our Town Halls, Weekly All Hands, and Performance Reviews. The company is clear on how important it to push through failure, treat obstacles as challenges, and persist in spite of difficult situations to produce more impactful results. Pay close attention to the language you use in 1:1s with your direct reports and team meetings. Top tip: Remove the “you can’t” mindset and adopt a “how can you” mindset with your team. Also, think about moving from “this was a failure” to “we failed, this is what we learned, now let’s go make this even better”. Everyone has desires, and most of us can channel our efforts toward diligent work. But the ability to overcome constant failure has proven to be the distinguishing factor between ‘good’ and ‘great’. Language will help motivate your teams to keep coming back from failures; they will feel it’s safe for them to fail. (Hint! This is all about psychological safety). If you want to learn more about growth mindset, here are some of our favorite resources: Everything written by Dr. Dweck is great! But if you’re going to read or listen to anything, we’d recommend you watch this TedTalk or read this HBR article. We found it helpful to check out how other start-ups were using “Growth Mindset” to develop their leaders and found this article on Microsoft helpful We love everything from Farnam Street, and found ourselves coming back to this article, Creating a Growth Mindset in the Workplace again and again Farnam Street has done a great summary of the two different mindsets here Inspired by this article? Share it with your network on LinkedIn and Twitter! Or, if you’re looking for more insights into how we work at Tessian, subscribe to our newsletter below.
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