Women in Cyber: An Interview with Amy De Salvatore

Women in Cyber: An Interview with Amy De Salvatore

Welcome to our Women in Cyber blog series, where we spotlight the remarkable contributions and perspectives of women in the cybersecurity field. In an industry often dominated by men, these women are breaking barriers, shaping strategies, and leading innovations to safeguard our digital world. Join us as we explore their stories, experiences, and insights, celebrating their vital roles in securing cyberspace for generations to come.

Amy De Salvatore

In this interview, we had the pleasure of welcoming Amy De Salvatore, Partner at NightDragon, a powerhouse for women in cybersecurity. She shares her journey, challenges, and victories in this male-dominated field, offering unique insights into the ever- evolving world of digital defence and discusses NightDragon’s strategic partnership with Aspiron Search and how this marks the beginning of an exciting future of NightDragon’s portfolio companies.

Amy De Salvatore at desk

Stay tuned for our next interview, where we’ll continue to spotlight remarkable women breaking barriers, driving innovation, and safeguarding our digital world. Together, let’s celebrate their contributions and empower the next generation of cybersecurity leaders.

More About Amy

What’s a common misconception about women in cyber?

Unfortunately, women have been mislabeled as too emotional, fragile, and reactive to be in the world of cybersecurity. The reality is that women bring empathy and rationality to the role — two qualities that are paramount to dealing with any crisis. Given the intrinsic warrior mentality incumbent on the cyber industry, it comes as no surprise that this space has been historically male-dominant. I would say to a fellow female warrior that if you have an unwavering commitment to innovation, are committed to the mission of making the world a safer place, and have conviction in yourself and your ideas, then cyber is the place for you!

What have been the most rewarding aspects of your career so far?

The relationships I’ve been able to develop with innovators and industry movers.  When you break what I do down to the very basic level, it’s all about and based on relationships. As I’ve built strategic partnerships throughout my career, I’ve found fulfillment in connecting with innovators in this space to create partnerships and forming meaningful relationships that are important from a business standpoint but also thought-provoking and enriching at a more intrinsic level. It’s these relationships that have helped shaped my growth and inspired me to take risks and move in certain directions throughout my career.

What is one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?

The best advice anyone ever gave me is to just be yourself.  We spend too much time with our job and with the people we work with to fake.  Be you first and foremost and the rest will fall into place. If it doesn’t, you’re not in the right place.  The other thing I’ll say to a cyber enthusiast, is that a career in cyber comes with a great deal of responsibility. Be prepared to do much more than your day job because you have an obligation to the industry and society to deliver ideas, offerings and forward progress to improve our cyber defences thereby making the world a safer place.


What made you want to be part of NightDragon?

This comes back to relationships.  Having worked with Dave for more than two decades, I had a great deal of trust and confidence in his ability to build something successful.  I also felt good about the role I could play in the helping him with the execution of his vision and the contributions I could make from a partner ecosystem and go-to-market perspective.  Having deep history with someone as I do with Dave made the jump to entirely new role and domain less daunting than it would be normally and gave me the opportunity to shift my focus to being a part of an amazing team what I could do to contribute to the NightDragon mission to build a more secure world through cybersecurity.

Where do you see the future of NightDragon going?

Our investment and operating thesis at NightDragon is grounded in growth and forward progress. We nearly doubled our team last year, and we’re very proud of the fact that our team is 50% men and 50% women. Not many cyber-focused organizations can say that. We plan to continue investing in best possible commercial defenses to meet the offensive demand and will continue to form innovative partnerships that help our portfolio companies achieve their growth and scale goals.  Our future is to make sure you we are at the forefront of innovation and leading the way for our companies to be successful.

How do you relate to NightDragon’s core values and mission?

Cyber is more than technology and the obscure and distant idea of hackers in dark room.  The prevalence and deleterious impact of cyber threats have made is a commonplace concern for the average citizen and society, especially in today’s social and geopolitical climate. It feels good to do work that by its very nature is designed to make people feel more secure. NightDragon has also given me a platform to promote diversity in the industry which has some of the most satisfying and meaningful work I’ve ever engaged in.

What has been your proudest achievement at NightDragon?

Our NightDragon Advisory Council recently hit 100 members. The group consists of some or the brightest minds in the industry and the fact that they chose to be a part of a community that we’ve created is a testament to what we’re building and the best reflection of who are as a team.  The advisory council is a key component of NightScale, our value-creation platform available to both portfolio companies and advisory clients. This number felt representative of how much work we’ve put into our platform as well as our ability to create scale in anything we do.  I would also point to some of the DEI campaigns I’ve spearheaded, including one with NextGen Cyber Talent where we raised $1M for Bay community college students to pay for their cyber college studies.

Aspiron Search and NightDragon

Where do you see the relationship between Aspiron Search and NightDragon going?

Good companies start with the good teams. To that end, one of the more important investments we can make is in human resources and aligning with partners who can help our companies attract, place and retain top talent.  We reserve our top tier MSA partnerships for organizations we trust and resemble our mission and values. Our interactions with Aspiron point to the highest quality service levels for our companies and awareness of cultural dynamics that we believe are essential. The objective is to leverage Aspiron to help our companies get to the next level through the human capital they bring on board.

How instrumental do you think finding the right hires is when driving a business?

Hiring honest, fair and effective individuals within the portfolio is essential. It all starts with people.  Technology and execution are a byproduct so investment in good hires and retention is the number one priority. In addition, having a diverse talent pool is critical to building a rich and creative culture so talent efforts must be orchestrated through a DEI lens.

What made you want to partner with Aspiron Search as your Talent Partner?

Joseph Cooper and his vision and approach for the business is a big part of the reason I was drawn to Aspiron.  Again, it starts with people and relationships and talent organizations are no exception to this rule As a venture capital firm, NightDragon knows that great talent is at the heart of the success of any of our portfolio companies and Joseph and his team have the high standards we aspire to.