The Silicon Review
Specialized Security Services, Inc. (S3) develops and maintains custom-tailored cybersecurity programs so clients can elevate security to where it belongs—top of mind and top down. They are a women-owned, global cybersecurity firm with headquarters in both Dallas, TX and London. For over two decades, S3’s expert team has successfully assisted organizations with the implementation and oversight of their information security, privacy and regulatory compliance programs.
S3 bridges the gap between clients’ business goals, cybersecurity needs and compliance requirements to become a trusted and valued security partner for life.
The company’s goal is to attract and keep the best talent in the industry and the executives recognize the need to develop leadership skills at all levels. The S3 Leadership Pledge is a list of values and promises that are made for everyone in the organization. Everyone in the company signs it and works to live it out daily. The goal is to create a high-performance, high-trust culture that is open, honest and committed to excellence. The company recognizes the impact of its culture on the day-to-day lives of each employee, as well as the impact on the company’s brand, and strives to create an environment that the employees are proud to be a part of.
Silicon Review: If you had to list five factors that have been/are the biggest asset to your organization, what would they be and why?
Mitchelle Schanbaum: 1. We cultivate an environment that attracts the best talent in our industry. 2. We work with our employees to help them learn, grow and realize their career ambitions. 3. We admit to what we do not know and seek answers and expertise to grow. 4. We never let our ego get in the way of the company’s success. 5. We act with integrity, and endeavor to do everything we say we are going to do.
Silicon Review: Two-way communication is the key. Employees need to feel they have an outlet for sharing their observations and ideas, is this true with your company?
Scott Schanbaum: At S3, we are always interested in new ideas and regularly seek feedback from our team to improve everything from our processes to culture.
If we fall short of a commitment, we openly and honestly acknowledge our short coming. When this happens, we consistently work to remedy the situation. Candid input from our employees is an essential part of this growth process.
Silicon Review: Let’s focus on purpose. How well do your employees know their role in contributing to the team’s and company’s success?
Mitchelle Schanbaum: We create a clear and inspiring vision of where we are leading the company, and communicate to every employee how important their role is in bringing the vision to life. So many of our employees travel and are onsite with clients during the week, so we make sure everyone is home and in town for our Friday staff meetings. This is where we reconnect, share, conduct trainings and discuss our short and long-term goals for the future.
Silicon Review: What makes a company great to work for is often a culture of listening to what employees want to do, and a commitment to help them do it. Do you agree with this statement?
Scott Schanbaum: Fostering the career growth of employees is definitely a key part of any great place to work. At S3, we are committed to giving feedback, both positive and instructive on a regular and timely basis, with the intent of nurturing success in each of our team members. This is true for everyone—we ask our employees to commit to do the same for our Management and Executive Staff.
Silicon Review: What causes conflict between employees in an organization, and how do you take precautions against conflict?
Mitchelle Schanbaum: Conflict is inevitable in any working environment. S3 Executive Management is attentive to the fact that everything we do, not just what we say, sends a message about ourselves and S3. Other people are always watching and listening, from employees, to clients, competitors and people on the street. We accept the responsibility that accompanies this reality, and attempt to conduct ourselves with the highest level of professionalism and respect for others. We remind ourselves often ‘It’s not about me’. Leading by example sets the expectation of our culture and acceptable forms of communication throughout our organization.
Silicon Review: How do you bring the best out of an employee; how do you give them autonomy in work related decisions?
Scott Schanbaum: We make leadership development a priority, recognizing that leadership must be strong throughout the entire organization and not just at the top. At S3 we encourage our employees to make decisions and allow them to make mistakes; the most powerful teaching moment is when we help employees correct their mistakes – it creates integrity.
Silicon Review: To stay motivated and inspired in the workplace, employees should feel there are opportunities to continue to grow in their careers, not just from a promotional standpoint, but also in terms of professional development. Do professional development opportunities exist in your company?
Mitchelle Schanbaum: We work to develop a good understanding of each employees’ work situation, experience, talent and career goals. We put the right people in the right roles where they can leverage their strengths and still have room to grow. We provide in-house continued education programs every first Friday of the month that employees attend. We reward our employees’ performance with recognition and a competitive compensation plan.
Clearly, the company goal of creating lifelong partnerships extends to both employees and clients at Specialized Security Services, Inc.
The Visionaries of S3
Mitchelle Schanbaum, CEO and Co-founder: For over two decades, Mitchelle and her dedicated team have successfully assisted organizations with the implementation and oversight of their cybersecurity, information security, privacy and regulatory compliance programs. Through her strong communications within all levels of organizations, Mitchelle fosters an environment that creates strong business relationships in which Specialized Security Services is often recognized as their “Security Partner”. Mitchelle knows where she wants to go, and how to share her vision to inspire others. She can visualize where the cybersecurity landscape is evolving and can see the big picture.
Scott Schanbaum, CTO and Co-founder: Scott has more than two decades of experience in all phases of cybersecurity, information technology security, privacy and regulatory compliance. His areas of expertise include identifying system shortfalls, assessing and implementing solutions, as well as managing complex security requirements for clients. Scott excels at developing collaborative relationships both with clients and internal staff to assist with the creation of strong Information Security Programs.