VP, Chief Information Security Officer
Ragulan is the VP, Chief Information Security Officer at Sobeys, a national grocery retailer in Canada serving the food shopping needs of Canadians with more than 1,500 stores in 10 provinces. Ragulan is a seasoned cybersecurity, IT, and telecom executive and business partner with a track record of thought leadership and transformation of complex, diverse portfolios. Prior to Sobeys, Ragulan worked at Telus for 13 years and Qualcomm (in San Diego) for nine years.
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Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.
I started my career doing R&D in cutting-edge mobile technology. This led me to a national telco where I was given the opportunity to lead and transform a diverse set of portfolios. I eventually landed in cybersecurity and fell in love with the portfolio due to its complexity, speed of change, and the human-centric nature, where you are tasked with protecting the organization from ever evolving threats. At Telus, I was fortunate enough to lead a large team that was responsible for both protecting the enterprise and also providing managed security services to a large number of Canadian companies, allowing me to experience all facets of a cybersecurity program. This led me to my current role.
What is one of your guiding leadership principles?
I strive to be a servant leader. I strongly believe that if you invest in people and empower them, they will achieve great things and move the business forward. I spend a large portion of time on mentoring and other people development activities. My biggest achievements are not the transformations I delivered, but the people I helped grow and achieve career success.
With disruption being a key theme of the past year, where do you see your role as a CISO going in the next 1-2 years?
COVID-19 has taught us that things that we take for granted can change fast, and companies need to be nimble enough to adapt. I am focused on building a sustainable security program that can adapt to changes without impacting the security posture of the organization. There is no such thing as achieving zero risk. It’s all about informed risk tradeoffs.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the role as a CISO?
Don’t get bogged down in technical items. The CISO role is ultimately a business/risk role. It may be hard to let go of doing the technical work (I still struggle!). But you need to let your team focus on the technical work and instead spend your time with the business stakeholders to understand their needs and educate them on the risk tradeoffs.
Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.
I have super geeky interests, specifically astronomy, anthropology, and history (of any time period); my wife & daughters are quite annoyed at the amount of time I spend reading books and watching documentaries on this. And no vacation is complete without hitting a few museums in that region.
What is the value of participating in a professional community through Evanta?
It is an excellent way to connect with and exchange ideas with your peers. We may be in different companies or even different industries, but we all face similar challenges in dealing with the complexity of cybersecurity. As an extrovert, I love the social aspects as well.
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