Dispatches from Dreamforce
Photo: Salesforce

Dispatches from Dreamforce

Protocol Enterprise

Hello, and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: what Dreamforce 2022 attendees thought of this year’s cult meeting, what it’s like to be a CISO at a security company and if your Windows PC refused to visit Google sites this morning, there was a kind of hilarious reason.

Shifting paradigms on Howard Street

I’ve been head down at Dreamforce over the past couple days, and besides the surprise performances, Dreamforce-branded sneakers and fuzzy creatures, there was actual business to discuss.

Attendees seemed generally enthused to be back in person, although many were annoyed at the heightened level of security, and some had pointed thoughts about Salesforce.

  • Among the people I talked to, most had been to Dreamforce before, and one attendee had been a whopping 18 times.
  • Several attendees familiar with Salesforce had strong thoughts about Quip and Slack, with more than one calling Quip a failed acquisition and puzzling over the price Salesforce paid for Slack.
  • But the acquisitions of Quip and Slack were ways of competing with Microsoft, of course.
  • “Marc Benioff is the only one crazy enough to directly go after Microsoft,” one attendee told me.

Speaking of Benioff, attendees had a few takes on succession talk. Several attendees told me they don’t think Benioff will ever step down, until he retires (eventually).

But Salesforce’s new product announcements and broader platform strategy were front and center.

  • During a press conference, co-CEO Bret Taylor emphasized how Slack, the company’s AI capability Einstein and Genie are the core foundations of the Salesforce platform.
  • “When we think about the platform, we think about the system of record that Salesofrce represents, the system of intelligence that Einstein represents and [we’re] really thinking about Slack as the system of engagement,” he said.
  • Behind all this talk is Salesforce’s ultimate goal: to expand the business into new areas.
  • On a panel alongside CIOs from ADT and Keybank, Salesforce CIO Juan Perez emphasized that point. “I don’t work on technology for the sake of technology. I work on technology for the sake of the business,” he said.

One would be forgiven for forgetting about the actual business side of Dreamforce amid the usual over-the-top decorations that turned SoMa into Bizarro Disneyland.

  • As one attendee relayed to me, the first time he attended Dreamforce, his boss was in disbelief once he saw the pictures. “Are you sure this is for an enterprise software company?” he asked.
— Aisha Counts (email | twitter)

A MESSAGE FROM CAPITAL ONE SOFTWARE

Capital One’s adoption of modern cloud and data capabilities led us to create tools to operate at scale in the cloud. Capital One Software is bringing these solutions to market to help you accelerate your cloud and data journey. Get started with Slingshot, a data management solution for Snowflake customers.

Learn more

The state of innovation

The global innovation race is well underway. What is the U.S. administration doing to stay ahead, and where is it falling short? What is the status of funding by Congress and in statehouses, and which areas still need investment? Is the U.S. doing enough to attract and retain top tech talent from around the world?

Join Protocol Policy’s Hirsh Chitkara for a virtual event on Sept. 27 at 10 a.m. PT as we dive into the U.S.’s national strategy on innovation, what’s working, what isn’t and what policy changes we can expect from the year ahead. He’ll be speaking with Chris Padilla, vice president, government and regulatory affairs, IBM; Chris Miller, author of “Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology”; and Victoria A. Espinel, president and chief executive officer, BSA | The Software Alliance.

RSVP here.

Here’s your security Rx

Not all cybersecurity leadership roles are alike. But working as a chief information security officer at a security vendor, in particular, “is a completely different kind of CISO job,” Okta’s Jameeka Green Aaron told me.

Following a more than two-decade career that included IT and cybersecurity leadership positions in the U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin and Nike, Aaron was named the CISO at Auth0 in March 2021 — just two days before Okta announced a $6.5 billion deal to acquire the identity and access management startup. Now, in the role of CISO for customer identity at Okta, her responsibilities go well beyond securing internal corporate IT environments.

Aaron said that she and her team have a “deep collaboration” with the company’s product development operation, offering their insights as security practitioners on the front lines. “We are probably the best testers of the product,” she told me. Aaron also spends significant time talking with customers to get an even better picture about what features security teams are looking for next.

In that regard, Aaron said she’s especially excited for one forthcoming Okta feature, which will allow customers to quickly see how securely their identity systems are configured, compared to those of other customers. It will also provide recommendations, based in part on current threats for the customer’s industry, she said.

For instance, the capability might tell a customer, “‘Based on [data from] all of our customers and our billions of logins, we think you should have adaptive MFA turned on.’ Or, ‘We think that you should have IP throttling turned on — and here’s why.’”

As someone who knows how crucial it is for security teams to be targeted in what they do, Aaron said she believes practitioners will appreciate the prescriptive approach of this feature, which is expected to be available soon.

“It takes all of [our] knowledge and says, ‘This is what we think you should do. And it’s backed by research,’” she said. “I love that.”

— Kyle Alspach (email | twitter)

Around the enterprise

Windows PC users running the Malwarebytes antivirus software were unable to visit Google websites for several hours Wednesday morning after the software mistakenly identified all Google properties as security threats.

BeReal became a real web service Wednesday after suffering a multihour outage and saying next to nothing about the factors that caused it.

A MESSAGE FROM CAPITAL ONE SOFTWARE

Capital One’s adoption of modern cloud and data capabilities led us to create tools to operate at scale in the cloud. Capital One Software is bringing these solutions to market to help you accelerate your cloud and data journey. Get started with Slingshot, a data management solution for Snowflake customers.

Learn more

Thanks for reading — see you tomorrow!

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