Okta hires ex-Symantec executive as new chief security officer

Identity giant Okta has hired its newest chief security officer, David Bradbury.

Bradbury, a security veteran with more than two-decades of security experience who most recently served as chief security officer at Symantec, takes over from Yassir Abousselham, who departed for Splunk in February.

Okta chief executive Todd McKinnon said his new direct report will “continue to drive our security strategy and further identity’s role in a zero-trust approach at scale, both here at Okta and for all of our customers.”

Bradbury’s move to Okta could not come at a more critical time. The San Francisco-based company, which provides identity verification services like multi-factor authentication for companies and organizations, says it’s seen an increase in usage as the coronavirus pandemic has forced large swathes of the world to work from home.

Hackers are also seizing on the pandemic to ramp up their attacks.

“We’re seeing an elevation in opportunistic attacks against those who have not invested heavily into cybersecurity in the last decade — particularly those who are vulnerable to and are susceptible to being more in the spotlight of the consequence of COVID-19,” Bradbury told TechCrunch in a call last week.

Bradbury joined the company shy of three weeks ago at the peak of the outbreak, forcing him and two-dozen other new hires to onboard virtually, he said.

“Security needs to be the conversation starter across the board,” he said. “The culture of security within the organization is really like fitness. There are areas and pockets that will constantly be thinking and breathing security, but there are others that perhaps aren’t in shape.”

“We’re going to have to continue to work at that,” he said. ”