January 2, 2019

Engineering Spotlight: Threat Stack

 Threat Stack is a cybersecurity company offering protection against attacks on enterprise companies cloud and IT infrastructure.

We connected with two members of the Threat Stack engineering team, Ben Patterson and Dan Kirsch, to learn more about how their platforms work and what the team's day-to-day operations are like. We also asked about what other organizations the company is associated with and what events they take part in.

Interested in joining Threat Stack's team? Click here to see all of the company's job openings.

Quick Hit Details

  • Year Founded:  2012

  • Number of employees: 130

  • Number of engineers: 45

  • Industry: Cloud Security

Can you share a summary on what Threat Stack does?

Threat Stack enables DevOps and SecOps teams to innovate and scale security by providing full-stack security observability from the control plane up to the application layer. Purpose-built for today’s infrastructure, the Threat Stack Cloud Security Platform® and Cloud SecOps Program℠ combine cloud-optimized intrusion defense, continuous security monitoring, and proactive risk assessment to help security and operations teams detect security incidents, achieve compliance, and secure infrastructure in transition.

Ben Patterson
Ben Patterson, Director of Engineering at Threat Stack

Threat Stack enables companies with a cloud presence to operationalize security at the speed of business. Threat Stack has a variety of innovative offerings, including the Threat Stack Cloud Security Platform and the Threat Stack Cloud SecOps Program.

The Cloud Security Platform provides run-time visibility across hosts, containers, cloud control planes, and with our recent acquisition of BlueFyre, application security. Threat Stack monitors infrastructure in real time, providing the ability to monitor for, detect, and respond to security incidents with actionable context.

The Threat Stack Cloud SecOps Program provides an additional layer to our customers that may not have the resources to fully manage security themselves. Our program augments existing security resources by providing security experts to guide security strategy, monitor infrastructure in real time, and uncover key metrics and trends to achieve security goals.

What are some of the different technologies that the engineering team gets to work with and at what scale?

Our teams get to play with Scala, Kafka, Cassandra, some Linux kernel, with Chef and Terraform, with sprinklings of Postgres and NodeJS. The primary challenge for our engineers at Threat Stack is dealing with an immense volume of data in a streaming fashion. The edge of our environment receives roughly 1 million events per second. We’ve achieved this milestone by utilizing Scala (Akka) and Kafka. These technologies have provided a high level of durability, and scalability and will be able to take us well into the future as we look towards 10 million, then 100 million events per second.

What are some of the interesting projects that the engineering team is tackling?

Taking this kind of volume and putting the data’s power into our customers’ hands. This includes enabling our customers to interact with the platform in new and exciting ways, bringing more vision to their cloud infrastructure as well as acting on the data presented. There is also a major initiative to modernize some of our secret sauce and rebuild a critical piece of our technology stack which will enable many new features to come.

Does your engineering team have a chance to work on projects outside of their day-to-day responsibilities?  For example - skunk work projects, open source projects?

Engineering enjoys a very good relationship with the Product team at Threat Stack. Both departments are very much aligned in fostering innovation and addressing tech debt. Because of this, Skunk Work-style projects get brought into the light and are treated as real Engineering initiatives. This allows engineers the proper time to focus on a Skunk Works style project and make it their day-to-day.

What is the culture like at Threat Stack for the engineering team?

Dan Kirsch
Dan Kirsch, Director of Engineering at Threat Stack

In short, it’s accelerated learning within an environment that values asking questions, while enjoying the small moments and celebrating engineering wins.

Engineering at Threat Stack is truly a collaborative effort in a fun environment. We work hard during the day and leave it at the office at night. Work/Life balance is extremely important and flexible scheduling is available. Team members are encouraged to work together via asking questions, pair programming, and project planning. After accomplishing an initiative, Engineering celebrates success with recognition and events, inclusive of all Threat Stack teams.

What can a potential employee expect during the interview process?

A prospective employee can expect to receive a real slice of life when interviewing with Threat Stack Engineering. We recognize interviewing is a two-way street and answer questions honestly. We are much more concerned with a candidates’ attitude and aptitude than what boxes could be checked off. Our interviews do not include “gotcha” style questions and we avoid asking questions out of the computer science interview playbook. We are focused on letting you show how you work through a problem, work with others, and communicate.

Are you involved in any local tech organizations or Meetups?

We are always open to partnering with new organizations within the Boston tech community. A few that we have partnerships with and regularly attend or sponsor events for are; She Geeks Out, PyLadies, BosOps, DevOpsDays, Resilient Coders, and Scala Symposium. If you attend any of these, keep an eye out for us and let’s chat!

Rapid Fire Q&A

Batman or Superman?

Batman - Superman is too clean for us

Starburst or Skittles?

Starburst, but the small kind that doesn’t have a wrapper.

What’s on tap?

Nitro cold brew, Bevi, and Friday Whiskey Club

Favorite employee perk?

Schedule flexibility & commuter benefits. Snacks are too obvious.

What movie describes the engineering team’s culture?

Super Troopers

What music is playing in your office?

Crowdsourced through our #music slack channel & Spotify. It goes from surfer electronica to 80s big hair to NPR tiny desk concerts.

View from your office:

Threat Stack Office View

Team Profiles

Joe Baker

Joe Baker, Software Engineering Manager (Platform)

Jennifer Kim Threat Stack

Jennifer Kim, Backend/Platform Engineer

Colin Barry is an Editor & Staff Writer to VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash

Images courtesy of Threat Stack

Our current openings