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Operating in a high-stakes, high-scale environment & implementing “secure by design”

with Bhawna Singh

September 27, 2023


Bhawna Singh is a senior technology executive with 20+ years of experience in successfully transforming products and scaling technology for a global user base. In her career as an executive leader, advisory board member, and investor, Bhawna has worked across multiple high-growth companies to grow & scale platforms from 0 to 100+ million monthly users, led global expansion of products, steered multiple acquisitions and spearheaded innovation to drive user growth and engagement, delivering multi-million dollar revenue growth.

As CTO at Okta, Bhawna leads tech strategy and vision for its Customer Identity product. Bhawna frequently connects with senior executives of Okta’s global customer base, to build deep trust by delivering highly scalable, stable, and secure products serving billions of logins per month.

Bhawna sits on the Advisory board of early-stage startups and VC groups. Bhawna’s deep expertise in the area of high-growth, enterprise SaaS, and cybersecurity is frequently published in the press and podcasts.

"Plan for 10x and build for 3x, which is, ‘Think big, but build for what is needed.’ As you know, many of the AI companies saw a big, big growth in their space and the space we operate in, we are offering them the logging capability. So we sit at the front door of their business, you can say, which means we have to scale faster than them so that we are never a blocker and this time it wasn't plan for 10x and build for 3x. It was build for 10x right away and with absolute urgency.”

- Bhawna Singh   

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  • Bhawna’s experience shifting to a high-scale focus @ Okta (2:01)
  • What it was like adjusting priorities & rearchitecting (6:08)
  • Strategies for collaborating with customers in shaping a product roadmap (9:30)
  • Challenges faced when making the shift for scale (11:54)
  • Factors that contribute to building trust & respect with peers (13:47)
  • Bhawna’s approach to prioritization conversations with stakeholders (16:06)
  • Ensuring the right guardrails are in place while scaling (20:29)
  • How Okta’s balanced portfolio & engineering radar guardrails works (22:15)
  • Frameworks for first setting up / building a guardrail within an org (24:48)
  • Defining the “secure by design” principle & how it’s applied @ Okta (27:15)
  • Challenges of implementing a secure by design process (30:28)
  • How to gain buy-in / universal adoption of a new process (31:44)
  • The role of security leaders working directly w/ customers (35:18)
  • Rapid fire questions (37:56)


  • The 6 Types of Working Genius - New York Times best-selling author Patrick Lencioni unveils a truly groundbreaking new model that will change the way we think about work and teams forever.

This episode wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our incredible production team:

Patrick Gallagher - Producer & Co-Host

Jerry Li - Co-Host

Noah Olberding - Associate Producer, Audio & Video Editor https://www.linkedin.com/in/noah-olberding/

Dan Overheim - Audio Engineer, Dan’s also an avid 3D printer - https://www.bnd3d.com/

Ellie Coggins Angus - Copywriter, Check out her other work at https://elliecoggins.com/about/

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