Collaboration and Creativity: A Look at the Role of a Lead Security Engineer at adMarketplace

Mayla Wang
April 4, 2023
“Like many things, security is a collaborative effort. You can be a brilliant technologist but if you cannot convey the importance of your work to those outside of the security field, then you will not be able to generate concern and enthusiasm in the domain of security.”

Meet Artem Kazantsev, our Lead Security Engineer.

Since joining us over two years ago, Artem and his team have been dedicated to creating secure systems and environments within the company. He is passionate about security and has a wealth of knowledge on managing risks and digital safety. Additionally, he continues to educate himself through our Continuous Education Program and even won a hackathon last October!

We recently caught up with Artem to discuss how Collaboration is integral to his role as a security professional: from promoting his team’s valuable work to partnering with other groups across the organization.

What do you think the most important aspects of collaboration are?

I would say that the most important drivers of collaboration are listening to others, staying curious, and making connections.

Whether it be users, clients, or team members, listening to and understanding their needs and perspectives is the key to any business. That is especially important for our Security Team; we work together to create and provide solutions – not restrictions.

Staying curious means asking questions to better understand our business and processes. It helps us make decisions that are based on more than just our assumptions. Being curious (another one of our values) is part of our profession, but asking the right questions in the right ways is an art form in itself. If we come across as too aggressive, too prescriptive, or too presumptuous, we have already failed.

And finally, getting to know people outside their job functions and making friends is essential. For a small team like ours, every new friend has the potential to become a security champion. Every opportunity we get to put a face to the name is a chance we get to collaborate better!

Having empathy and possessing knowledge are definitely key for improving collaboration. What habits and values promote teamwork and collaboration on the Security Team?

Curiosity and perpetual learning drives teamwork and collaboration on our team. We need to continuously educate ourselves as well as others on risk awareness and risk avoidance for the organization. Sometimes, that means employing things outside of our comfort zone including business processes, untested technology, emerging threats, or mitigating risks beyond our control.

What’s the biggest problem your team is solving?

Our team is small but mighty! My teammates and I are generalists, with experience in offensive and defensive security. We apply our knowledge and expertise in multiple areas, from SecOps to product security, and from incident response to compliance.  This year is going to be an exciting challenge as we prepare for our annual penetration test.

Do you think part of the field of security can be creative?

Absolutely, especially when developing software and tools. You have to approach the task from different angles. If you are a penetration tester, you are testing how secure your company is. You are basically hacking into the company’s system to prove there are vulnerabilities. There are many tools but there is no step-by-step plan on how to orchestrate a test. It’s sort of like being a chef: you’ve got the ingredients, but how you cook and pair them is completely up to you.

What life experiences relate to your role now?

I find that the older you get, the more important it is to work with people than with just technology alone. My focus shifts back and forth between technology and interpersonal interactions. Technology can be outsourced; You can be a brilliant technologist but if you cannot convey the importance of your work to those outside of the security field, then you will not be able to generate concern and enthusiasm in the domain of security.

Like many things, security is a collaborative effort. That’s why we do internal security training to educate others. Instinctively, people understand what security is and why it is important but promoting the message reduces the chance that they will forget or neglect the importance of security measures.

What is your favorite thing about the team at adMarketplace?

I like that my role allows me to work with all different teams in the organization: our Infrastructure Team, Developers, Platform, HR, Marketing, Finance, Operations, etc.  Every team has their security champions, who are also great specialists in their fields. It is also fun to hang out with and get to know them!

What are some things you learned at adMarketplace?

Each industry is unique. Here, I am able to learn a lot about adtech-specific technology, processes, and challenges. Working side-by-side with visionaries and practitioners (who I feel can make just about anything work), I am able to explore a lot of new, cutting-edge cloud tech. We also just got a new espresso machine in the office and even that is an exploration in itself.

And lastly, when you’re not at work, where can we find you?

You can find me outdoors, hiking and mountaineering. There is also an activity called “orienteering” that involves land navigation without using a GPS – navigating in an “old school way” with a map and a compass. It is very popular in Northern Europe and in the rest of the world. As a kid, my favorite chemistry teacher brought a small group of us orienteering and I’ve loved it since – an example of what happens when you are always curious and learning.

New York is an awesome place with mountains, parks, waterfalls and lakes. It is a paradise for an outdoorsman like myself and I have not even begun to explore even half of it!

We’re Hiring! Check out our open tech roles here to join our growing team of collaborative innovators!