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CSA Official Press Release

Published 09/21/2023

Cloud Security Alliance Awards 2023 Philippe Courtot Leadership Award to Schellman CEO Avani Desai

Cloud Security Alliance Awards 2023 Philippe Courtot Leadership Award to Schellman CEO Avani Desai

Volunteers are also honored for outstanding efforts in advancing cloud security, cybersecurity worldwide with the Juanita Koilpillai and Chapter of Excellence Awards

BELLEVUE, WA – SECtember – Sept. 21, 2023 – The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the world’s leading organization dedicated to defining and raising awareness of best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment, is thrilled to announce Avani Desai, Chief Executive Officer of Schellman, as the recipient of the Philippe Courtot Leadership Award for 2023.

Previously the CSA Industry Leadership Award, the award was renamed in honor of Philippe Courtot, the former Chairman and CEO of Qualys and a founding member of CSA. Courtot was known for his industry vision and dedication to helping companies improve their IT security and compliance postures. His passion and understanding of emerging cyber threats redefined how companies think about security.

For over a decade, Desai has held leadership roles at Schellman, one of the industry's top cybersecurity assessment firms. She has shepherded the organization through tremendous growth and brought to market several new services. Her efforts have resulted in thousands of organizations around the world improving their cybersecurity capabilities and maturity. At the same time she is an active volunteer and champions philanthropic activities in her community and beyond.

“Avani Desai is a great example of what we ask every person joining the cybersecurity industry to be. She puts the common good of the cybersecurity mission above parochial concerns. She mentors professionals inside and out of her own firm. She is forward-looking and contributes innovative ideas to organizations like Cloud Security Alliance that allow us to provide higher quality best practices to the market. We have greatly benefitted from Avani's keen insights and generous spirit,” said Jim Reavis, CEO and co-founder, Cloud Security Alliance.

"As I reflect on my journey in the realm of cybersecurity, I'm grateful for the incredible individuals I've had the privilege to learn from and collaborate with. Receiving recognition under the name of a pioneer like Philippe Courtot, who has left an indelible mark on our industry, is a profound honor. It serves as a reminder of the immense potential and responsibility we hold in shaping the future of cybersecurity," said Avani Desai, CEO, Schellman Compliance, LLC.

Additionally, CSA announced the winners of its Juanita Koilpillai and Chapter of Excellence Awards. The honorees were chosen by the CSA executive team, based on their valuable contributions towards fulfilling CSA’s mission of promoting best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment.

The Juanita Koilpillai Award is awarded to CSA members whose contributions reflect Juanita's passion for volunteerism. It was first established in 2012 as the Ron Knode Service Award and re-established in 2022 as the Juanita Koilpillai Award. Winners of the Chapters of Excellence Award are selected based on their overall contributions to furthering CSA's mission at the local level.

Philippe Courtot Leadership Award
Avani Desai. Avani Desai is the CEO of Schellman Compliance, LLC, the largest niche cybersecurity assessment firm in the world that focuses on technology assessments. She is an accomplished executive with domestic and international experience in information security, operations, P&L, oversight, and marketing involving both start-up and growth organizations. She has been featured in Forbes, CIO.com, and the Wall Street Journal, and is a sought-after speaker as a voice on a variety of emerging topics, including security, privacy, information security, future technology trends, and the expansion of young women involved in technology. Also passionate about strategic philanthropy, she sits on the board of Arnold Palmer Medical Center, Philanos, Audit Committee chairwoman at the Central Florida Foundation, and is the co-chair of 100 Women Strong, a female-only venture capitalist-based giving circle that focuses on solving community-based problems specific to women and children by using data analytics and big data.

Juanita Koilpillai Award
Parthasarathi Chakraborty. Partha Chakraborty is the co-chair of the CSA Cloud Key Management Working Group, and has over 20 years of cyber security leadership in the financial services and healthcare industries. An active speaker and panelist at global cyber security conferences, and a frequent commenter in such publications as The Economist UK, he is passionate about learning new technologies and writing about recent groundbreaking cyber trends. He is the founder of the Cloud Security Practitioner Council, a practitioner-driven forum to create security guidelines for the industry. Partha sits on the advisory board of Oak9 and TrueFort and serves on the Dean's Board of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Currently, he heads up security architecture, engineering, and cloud for Humana Inc, a Fortune 46 healthcare company. Previously, Partha held executive leadership roles with Bank of Montreal, JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, and Guardian Life Insurance Company. A CISSP, CCSP, CEH, CHFI-certified security evangelist, he holds a Bachelor’s degree in engineering from NIT Rourkela; Master’s degrees in Cyber Security (Western Governors University) and in Technology Management (Columbia University), a cyber security professional certificate (Stanford University) and executive CTO university credit program from Wharton Business School and University of Pennsylvania. Currently, he is researching security challenges in the application programming interface, microservices, key, and posture management space. He has two patents under his name for JP Morgan and Humana Inc.

Jason Garbis. Jason Garbis is founder and principal at Numberline Security, a consulting firm providing Zero Trust Security education and advisory services. He is the author of Zero Trust Security: An Enterprise Guide, co-chair of the CSA Zero Trust Working Group, and is a frequent contributor to and speaker at industry conferences. Jason holds a CISSP certification, has a BS in Computer Science from Cornell, and an MBA from Northeastern. Professionally, he has expertise in the areas of identity management, enterprise security architectures, network security, and security strategy. Previously, he served as Chief Product Officer at Appgate and held roles at security firms, including RSA and Aveksa.

Shruti Kulkarni. Shruti Kulkarni, cyber security architect with 6point6, is a security professional with experience across various domains of security. She works in defining an organization's security strategy, architecture, and practices, translating business objectives and risk management strategies into specific security processes enabled by security technologies and services. She works on gap analysis, design, implementation, and maintenance of ISO27001, PCI-DSS, and GDPR, including Greenfield implementations. Shruti is a frequent presenter and collaborates with cross-functional groups to implement information security controls in software development life-cycle, service operations, service delivery, sales function, human resources, and other functions as applicable. Her working roles include security analyst, ISMS auditor, consultant, information security manager, enterprise security architect, volunteer, and guest speaker.

Masahiro Morozumi. Masahiro Morozumi is a founding member and executive director of the CSA Japan Chapter. He has built his career in information security and founded his own consulting firm in 2014 with the aim to promote cloud adoption, providing consultation to SMEs on how to move to cloud securely. He participates in various CSA initiatives to promote adoption of CSA’s best practices in different cloud-based technologies, and is a member of CSA’s Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM), Internet of Things, and Security Guidance Working Groups, where he has been an active contributor is translating their publications, including the ISO27017 mapping to CCM, to into Japanese. Additionally, he managed the CSA Japan Summit and Congress. He has engineering experience for UNIX operating systems and Oracle databases. He holds a Master in Management Engineering degree from The University of Electro-Communications.

Urmila Nagvekar. Urmila Nagvekar is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), with a combined 27 years in information technology, security, and privacy, involving leading cybersecurity, information risk management, and data privacy programs as business value drivers for engineering and geoscience with oil majors. She has been actively contributing and presenting topics related to blockchain security at CSA’s Blockchain/DLT Working Group. As co-author and team lead of DLT Security Controls Checklist Group, a global mix of cybersecurity professionals and blockchain practitioners, she has led the Hyperledger Fabric Architecture Security Review Project and a similar project on the Corda platform, as well.

Lars Ruddigkeit. Lars Ruddigkeit completed his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Bern (UBS) in 2013 with a focus on computer-aided drug design. He began his professional career at Accenture in technology consulting in big data and data science. At UBS, he specialized in operational machine learning and cybersecurity as a machine learning architect in the financial service industry. He is a contributor to the Cloud Security Alliance Working Groups for Zero Trust and Artificial Intelligence. He is currently responsible for the Swiss state as Account Technology Strategist at Microsoft Switzerland.

His expertise compromises artificial intelligence, adversarial machine learning, compliance, cloud, and cybersecurity.

Chapter of Excellence Award
Americas Region: Triangle NC
The CSA Triangle Chapter excels in advancing cloud security knowledge, creating educational materials on cloud threat modeling, presenting at conferences, and hosting immersion events. Collaborating with cloud and security providers, they lead technical discussions, co-hosted the Triangle InfoSeCon 2023, and contributed to cloud security panels. The chapter expanded through partnerships, sponsorships, and aided Red Hat's CSA Trusted Cloud Consultant designation. They also co-hosted the 2022 CSA Summit North Carolina, featuring speakers on cloud strategy and real-world implementations.

APAC Region: Bangalore
The CSA Bangalore Chapter’s 2022 inaugural annual conference had over 250 participants while its 2023 monthly meetups have consistently drawn impressive numbers. Their commitment to diversity is showcased through events featuring high participation among women and an all-female speaker lineup. Additionally, their training initiatives, global research projects, and collaborations with universities have set new benchmarks in promoting cybersecurity awareness and thought leadership. With a rapidly growing community nearing 4,000 members, the chapter has been instrumental in establishing CxO forums and addressing key industry challenges. Their continuous encouragement for member contributions has resulted in numerous insightful blogs, with several featured on the CSA webpage.

EMEA Region: Israel
The CSA Israel Chapter continues to make waves in the cybersecurity world, notably with their annual event held during Tel Aviv University's (TAU) Cyber Week, one of the globe's premier cyber conferences. Their six-year collaboration with TAU has seen consistent growth in both reputation and audience, with a record 500 attendees in 2023. Their dedication to advancing the field is evident in their release of four pioneering research papers, with a fifth on the horizon. Notably, their innovative work on serverless security has not only been a trailblazer but also secured a spot among CSA's top downloads for a period.

About Cloud Security Alliance
The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) is the world’s leading organization dedicated to defining and raising awareness of best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment. CSA harnesses the subject matter expertise of industry practitioners, associations, governments, and its corporate and individual members to offer cloud security-specific research, education, training, certification, events, and products. CSA's activities, knowledge, and extensive network benefit the entire community impacted by cloud — from providers and customers to governments, entrepreneurs, and the assurance industry — and provide a forum through which different parties can work together to create and maintain a trusted cloud ecosystem. For further information, visit us at www.cloudsecurityalliance.org, and follow us on Twitter @cloudsa.

Media Contacts
Kristina Rundquist
ZAG Communications for CSA
[email protected]

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About Cloud Security Alliance

The Cloud Security Alliance is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to promote the use of best practices for providing security assurance within Cloud Computing, and to provide education on the uses of Cloud Computing to help secure all other forms of computing. The Cloud Security Alliance is led by a broad coalition of industry practitioners, corporations, associations and other key stakeholders. For further information, follow us on Twitter @cloudsa.

For press inquiries, email Zenobia Godschalk of ZAG Communications or reach her by phone at 650.269.8315.