Preeti Agarwal: Addressing Automotive Cybersecurity Challenges Head-On

Preeti Agarwal | Addressing Automotive Cybersecurity | The Enterprise World

In recognition of successful women worldwide, The Enterprise World extends tribute to remarkable women everywhere—individuals who defy boundaries, contribute to their communities, and leave a lasting impression through their actions. Regardless of their age or life circumstances, these women serve as genuine heroes deserving of recognition. Their resilience, creativity, and leadership not only inspire but also challenge conventional norms. 

As the Co-Founder and CTO of SecureThings, Preeti Agarwal aspires to continuously build on a Cyber Assurance strategy and add advanced cybersecurity to the Connected vehicle ecosystem. By honoring her and her accomplishments, our magazine lays the foundation for future generations to flourish in an inclusive society where everyone, irrespective of gender, can pursue excellence.

Behind the Wheel to Protect Roads

From Agra to America, Preeti’s professional journey has been exhilarating and packed with valuable insights. Transitioning from a Software expert to an entrepreneur, she is now deeply passionate about leading a team of innovators dedicated to creating safe and secure mobility solutions for all. Early in her career, she was very concerned about the growing automotive cyber-attacks and recognizing the vulnerability of vehicles in an era of rapid technological advancement across industries. With vehicles increasingly interconnected internally and to their surroundings, Preeti Agarwal understood the growing risks of cyber threats. This realization led her to co-found SecureThings alongside her partner Vishal Bajpai, with the mission of safeguarding the future of mobility and ensuring a safer driving experience for everyone.

As the Co-Founder & CTO of SecureThings, Preeti Agarwal has played an integral role in the company’s inception and subsequent successes. Today, she oversees its operations with seasoned leadership and a commitment to inclusivity. Before establishing the company, Preeti spent 18 years at a prominent IT company in the USA. Starting as a Senior Software Engineer, she ascended to the position of Co-Founder & CTO of her company. Preeti is passionate about developing next-generation security solutions tailored to the autonomous, electric, and connected mobility industry. While SecureThings is headquartered in California, Preeti’s heart lies in India, where the company maintains a robust research & development team. Her team monitors the modern vehicle ecosystem and diligently enhances cyber resilience with innovative products and services developed in-house.

Out-Of-The-Box Thinking

It has been an extraordinary journey of 25+ years  Preeti Agarwal as a woman in the tech industry, exploring numerous technical and tactical challenges. 

Preeti Agarwal is a visionary in the realm of automotive cybersecurity, Her passion stems from a profound awareness of the potential ramifications of cyber threats on the automotive sector. With a proactive approach to identifying vulnerabilities and implementing pre-emptive security measures, her team collaborates closely with car manufacturers to safeguard the vast multitude of vehicles and drivers traversing the world’s roads. Known for her composed demeanor and penchant for fostering autonomy among her team members, Preeti champions out-of-the-box thinking as a catalyst for innovation. Beyond her mastery of IoT and cybersecurity, she epitomizes creativity and cohesive leadership.

Advocating Cybersecurity Assurance

In the ever-evolving corridors of modern day mobility, Preeti Agarwal found herself at the forefront of a significant challenge, namely Automotive cybersecurity. As the organization observed the rapid connectivity of every vehicle, a pressing question loomed: how could they ensure comprehensive security for each vehicle and it’s passengers in an increasingly interconnected world? Their mission transcended mere security; they aimed to adopt a proactive stance, always two steps ahead of potential hackers. Secure from design to deployment.  However, at in the beginning, the hurdle was the reluctance of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to share proprietary data thus making the dream of ‘Born Secure’ vehicles difficult to achieve for Preeti and her team. Most OEMs were entrenched in a reactive cybersecurity strategy that was limited only to software related threats or incidents. It was then that a revolutionary idea came to the founders of SecureThings. No one was talking about hardware security in 2017. This became the seed of innovation that led to a new path of bringing security into the very framework of automobiles.

Preeti Agarwal and her team embarked on a mission to shift OEMs towards proactive security measures that were designed into the vehicle’s core. They emphasized that security should not merely react to threats but be intrinsic, and predictive and based on intelligence. This approach, has been the foundation for Preet’s start-up not only staying ahead of the ever-evolving automotive industry but also being a name recognised for its unique, holistic approach to cybersecurity.

Triumph in Redefining Automotive Cybersecurity

In 2023, Preeti Agarwal unveiled her brainchild solution the ‘xSecureSquadron’, the most advanced, AI and ML-based Cyber Assurance Platform designed to revolutionize automotive cybersecurity. an innovative solution designed to support OEMs and Tier-1s in the Automotive industry with accurate threat intelligence, compliance to upcoming regulations and standards and with rapid response to threats/attacks.. During the one of the largest auto expos, CAEV 2023, SecureThings made waves with the announcement of ‘xSecureSquadron’. Being the company’s CTO, it was Preeti’s moment to shine, unveiling the groundbreaking platform to the world. With cybersecurity taking center stage in the automotive industry, ‘xSecureSquadron’ emerged as a game-changer, offering a comprehensive solution to manufacturers’ compliance, security, and response needs.

This year at CAEV 2024, Preeti Agarwal left her audience eager to know more about the capabilities of the now fully functional and actively deployed xSecureSquadron. Speaking about the need of the hour for OEMs & Tier-1s to meet regulatory compliance standards and how her company is probably one of the few solutions providers who can meet it.Through her unwavering dedication and visionary leadership, Preeti propelled SecureThings to new heights since it’s inception in 2017 all the way to 2024.   xSecureSquadron  is only the beginning for bigger things to come in automotive cybersecurity sphere and SecureThings paving the way for a future where vehicles are not just smarter but safer. 

Preeti Agarwal | Addressing Automotive Cybersecurity | The Enterprise World

Addressing New Challenges

As the Co-Founder of SecureThings, Preeti envisions establishing the company as a global leader in automotive cybersecurity, fortifying every vehicle with an impenetrable Cyber Defense. The journey toward this ambitious goal has seen remarkable milestones both for the organization as well as personally for Preeti Agarwal, including winning the CTO of the Year Award by Women In Tech in 2023 and being selected by the SAE Committee to present her paper on Security Framework. 

SecureThings has too been at the forefront by being the title sponsor for CAEV Expo for 4 consecutive years, Asia’s premier mobility tradeshow. Also garnering accolades from esteemed organizations like CIO Tech Review, Frost & Sullivan, and StartUS Insights. The latest triumph is the launch of xSecureSquadron, a comprehensive, multi-layered security assurance platform, solidifying SecureThings’ position at the forefront of automotive cybersecurity. It is Preeti’s brainchild for which she has envisioned, developed, and delivered this one-of-its-kind product available in the market.

In a recent interview, Preeti expressed her commitment to continuously enhancing their Cyber Assurance Strategy and fortifying vehicle and cloud infrastructure protection. By expanding partnerships with component suppliers and vehicle manufacturers, she advocates for a Secure-by-Design approach, ensuring security is ingrained in every aspect of the automotive ecosystem. Preeti embodies dedication and leadership, serving as an inspiration to women in technology. With her wealth of experience, she takes ownership and delivers high-quality solutions to address the evolving challenges in the interconnected realm of mobility.

2024 marks a year when mostvehicle types will have to adhere to standards like  the ISO/SAE 21434  and regulations like theUN R155 and R156 for type approval.. Only then will manufacturers be allowed to produce and launch connected vehicles. This is a huge milestone for the industry and the safety of drivers and passengers worldwide. This upcoming deadline introduces myriad challenges for automakers of all shapes and sizes. Budgets, cyber security knowledge, multi-layer attack surfaces,and so on. Preeti Agarwal is determined to align SecureThings products and services  to be fully focused on helping OEMs and Tier-1s navigate these challenges efficiently. The maze of automotive cybersecurity compliance can be easily navigated by Preeti’s preemptive xSecureSquadron.

Preeti Agarwal | Addressing Automotive Cybersecurity | The Enterprise World

Vision for a Safer Automotive Future

Amidst the chaos, Preeti Agarwal remains steadfast in her determination. She recognizes the urgency of the situation and works tirelessly to bridge the gap between theory and practice. With her leadership, SecureThings is becoming a beacon of innovation in the automotive cybersecurity landscape, pioneering proactive security solutions that revolutionized the industry. OEMs gradually embraced the proactive approach advocated by SecureThings, realizing the importance of staying ahead of the curve in cybersecurity. 

In the end, Preeti’s unwavering commitment to proactive security is not only transforming the automotive industry but also safeguarding countless lives. Her story is a testament to the power of perseverance and innovation in the face of adversity, inspiring future generations to dare to dream and strive for a better tomorrow.

Addressing these challenges prompts the question of how and where to navigate the company forward. SecureThings focuses its products and services on assisting OEMs in efficiently addressing these challenges. What sets the company apart is its ability to:

  • Assist OEMs in implementing cybersecurity policies, processes, and procedures within a “cybersecurity management system” to meet new regulatory requirements.
  • Develop and deploy a comprehensive security solution that is user-friendly and easy to integrate.
  • Educate the broader automotive community about cybersecurity threats.
  • Advocate for creating “Born Secure” vehicles by collaborating with OEMs from the initial stages of vehicle design.
Preeti Agarwal | Addressing Automotive Cybersecurity | The Enterprise World

Dedication towards the Welfare of the Society

In the heart of SecureThings, Preeti Agarwal stands as a beacon of innovation and determination. Her mission: to lead the charge in establishing SecureThings as the global leader in automotive cybersecurity. With a fervent commitment to continuous innovation and disruptive technologies, Preeti envisions a future where vehicles are not just modes of transportation but fortresses of security.

At the core of SecureThings’ ethos was a dedication to societal well-being. Preeti believes that cybersecurity is not just about protecting machines but safeguarding lives. To realize this vision, she handpicked a team of cybersecurity experts with a deep understanding of the automotive sector. Together, they formed a formidable force driven by a shared passion for creating cutting-edge solutions.

As a leader, Preeti Agarwal understands the importance of nurturing her team’s talents. She creates an environment where creativity flourishes and skills are honed. Each team member is encouraged to push the boundaries of what is possible, driving progress while effectively managing risks.

Ensuring End-to-End Security

It is a proud moment for Preeti Agarwal to announce that her paper titled ‘Cyber Security Rating Framework and its Application to J1939-1C Standard’ has been published by SAE International and has been chosen for presentation at the esteemed SAE World Congress, scheduled to take place in Detroit in April of this year. The research focuses on addressing the disparity between the framework and the standard for automakers to assess the vehicle’s compliance level and calculate a cyber security rating widely accepted by the public.

Recognized as one of the Top 20 Most Promising Automotive Technology Solution Providers by CIO Review in 2019, SecureThings is dedicated to offering guidance and advanced technology to secure connected vehicles, ensuring end-to-end security for the automotive industry. Strategically situated with offices in Silicon Valley, USA, and Pune, India, SecureThings leverages the innovation hub of Silicon Valley and the scalability advantage of India to serve esteemed customers. With both the US and India being major automotive markets, this positioning allows the company to effectively cover key automotive ecosystems worldwide, offering round-the-clock support.

Preeti Agarwal | Addressing Automotive Cybersecurity | The Enterprise World
Strengths of SecureThings: Deep domain expertise in automotive software/hardware development, networks, processes, and toolchainsDecades of experience in the cybersecurity domainComprehensive understanding of security threats throughout the supply chainIn-house research teams dedicated to staying ahead of emerging threatsProvision of end-to-end protection with high efficacyExtensive experience in security assessments, encompassing both breadth and depth

SecureThings is committed to assisting stakeholders in embracing security technology as a cost-saving measure while uncovering new potential revenue streams. This dedication makes the company, the preferred partner for automotive manufacturers worldwide for all cybersecurity needs.

“Technology has the extraordinary power to revolutionize industries and profoundly enhance the quality of human life. As stewards of innovation, it is our responsibility as technologists to ensure that every advancement serves the betterment of humanity.” –  

Preeti Agarwal
Preeti Agarwal | Addressing Automotive Cybersecurity | The Enterprise World
Preeti Agarwal: A Trailblazer in IT and Cybersecurity
Started as a Senior Software Engineer, and became indispensable in transformative IT and Cybersecurity projectsOver 25 years of experience as a Cloud Architect, Cyber Security Researcher, IoT expert, and Technology StrategistCurrently serves as the CTO of SecureThings, dedicated to revolutionizing automotive cybersecurityFiled 8 patents with the US PTO, expert in IoT, operational technology security, and data analysisPassionate about raising awareness about IoT and cloud securityPlayed a leadership role in implementing complex solutions and published intellectual property publicationsLed the launch of xSecureSquadron, the first comprehensive Threat Intelligence PlatformWon the CTO of the Year 2023 Award by the Women Tech Network for dedication and expertiseCollaborates with industry standards committees and government bodies to shape regulations for automotive cybersecurityKey role in developing The Security Rating Framework for future cybersecurity management

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