Eagle Eye’s Martha Entwistle on Her Company’s Growth, Diversity and Industry Trends
Entwistle also addresses the rising demand of Cloud surveillance and more in this month’s SECURE Perspectives.
SECURE Perspectives is a monthly column by the Security Industry Association (SIA) profiling women in the security industry. This column is part of SIA’s Women in Security Forum, an initiative to support the participation of women in the security field through programs, professional development and networking events.
For this edition of SECURE Perspectives, SIA spoke with Martha Entwistle, communications manager at Eagle Eye Networks.
SIA: How did you get into the security industry?
Martha Entwistle: I was re-entering the workforce and looking for a job as a reporter and found an opportunity as an editor at Security Systems News. When I accepted that job, I had no idea that I was launching a career in this industry. I worked as an editor and conference director for 11 years before moving to communications and media relations.
How does your organization serve the industry?
Eagle Eye Networks’ mission is to deliver secure Cloud-based video with artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics to make businesses more efficient and the world a safer place. The company offers businesses, organizations and communities products that improve safety, security, cybersecurity, operations and customer service while saving money over traditional systems. For resellers, Eagle Eye Networks offers an opportunity to serve their customers more efficiently, to create a recurring monthly revenue stream, making their businesses more valuable.
Eagle Eye Networks pioneered the video surveillance industry’s move to the Cloud, and it continues to push the industry forward, notably with its investment in AI. Its true Cloud video surveillance management platform was purpose-built for the Cloud, and its global network of 11 data centers has been built from the ground up for video retention and analysis. Our founder, Dean Drako, has founded several companies, including leading cybersecurity company Barracuda Networks. As such, cybersecurity and innovation are in the company’s DNA.
What types of job functions do women fill in your company?
Eagle Eye Networks is a relatively young company. In less than 10 years, we’ve grown from a handful of engineers working in a small office in Austin, Texas, to a global, multicultural organization with north of 230 employees. When the company entered a period of hypergrowth in 2020, it expanded its executive team, creating the human resources leader role, hiring a woman to oversee this department. Eagle Eye also hired a woman to serve as director of marketing, to oversee channel marketing and women to lead expansion in the Asia-Pacific and Canada.
With more and more data that shows diversity makes a better workforce, what opportunities do you see for women in the security industry?
There are lots of opportunities! Women can contribute their expertise to this growing industry that uses technology, design and training to promote safety, security and business intelligence. In addition to the sales, technician and installer roles in the channel, there are a variety of jobs working for manufacturers and consultants. And the industry also includes security-focused roles in the security and IT departments of businesses large and small everywhere.
What impediments do you see for achieving this? What could remedy some of these impediments?
The lack of women applicants is certainly an impediment, and in the near term we’re unlikely to see a huge increase in the number of women applying for jobs in our industry. Companies in this industry that want to be more innovative, have higher employee satisfaction and higher profits should cast a wider net in recruitment and seek candidates who are diverse in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, age and experience.
Successful companies everywhere are learning that diversity and inclusivity isn’t some kind of nice initiative — it’s a business success strategy. The SIA Women in Security Forum is having an impact through a variety of programs. The security media can play a huge role in promoting the benefits of diversity, as can industry conferences, trade shows, associations and individual companies.
What do you see as important trends in the industry?
This is an easy one: It’s happening very slowly, but the security industry is becoming more diverse.
What are the top challenges your company has faced in the last year?
The biggest challenge was the pandemic, of course. Like most companies, we made changes in our day-to-day operations, moving to a work-from-home model and doing everything we could to protect the health and safety of our employees and customers. We’re getting back to normal, but the way things work in offices, businesses and organizations has changed. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out and how the role of video surveillance will change as well. Eagle Eye also faced a couple of very welcome challenges: the accelerated move to Cloud and our company’s recent growth.
First, the demand for Cloud proliferated during the pandemic. There are a lot of reasons why that happened, but the fact that many legacy surveillance systems are just terrible at remote access is a big reason. It gave a lot of folks another reason to look at a move to the Cloud. We’ve been busy. Second, fueled by an investment by Accel in October and the exceptional growth in the last year, the company is investing and rapidly expanding. This is a challenge because growth — at every stage of a company’s development — should be thoughtful and deliberate. Bringing on hundreds of new people with limited in-person interaction requires a thoughtful approach and commitment to communication and collaboration.
What are the biggest opportunities your company — and the industry — are seeing?
Artificial intelligence for sure. AI is how we’re going to make analytics smarter and, finally, more reliable. APIs provide another opportunity. It’s how video will continue to extend its capability to solve unique business and security needs of customers.
What do you hope the SIA Women in Security Forum can achieve for the security industry?
We need to continue to engage the younger generation. This is key to this industry’s success, and the SIA Women in Security Forum is focused on this through a series of programs including professional development, community outreach and the WISF Scholarship Committee, which raised and awarded $80,000 in scholarships to qualified women last year. WISF is only three years old and already 750 members strong. Our ranks today include women (and men) from every corner of the industry.
Importantly, WISF has created a community that women in this industry have been searching for. It’s powerful for women in our industry, and those considering joining the industry to “see someone who looks like them” in a leadership role. WISF supports change and progress, and it’s a platform to motivate, inspire and recruit women into our industry. The momentum is tremendous, but we’ve got a lot more work to do.
What is your best advice for women in the industry?
Get involved. Read the security publications, attend trade shows and conferences, be the mentor you wish you had as a young professional. Volunteer for industry groups and learn about Mission 500. Work hard, but don’t work all the time. Get outside a lot.
Who or what was the strongest influence in your career?
My father had the strongest influence on my career. He worked hard, traveled widely, loved to debate and told funny stories. He was well liked and respected by colleagues, and he always had time for his six kids.
How do you define success?
Achieving the elusive balance between work and play. Having a job that’s rewarding, challenging and engaging is a big part of it, but my measure of success is really about having time to spend with my family and our friends, eating good food and enjoying the great outdoors.
What would you say to new upcoming women in the industry?
Welcome! We need you.
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