The Author's Code... with Ben Herzberg and Yoav Cohen

Apress authors Ben Herzberg and Yoav Cohen talk about their experience co-writing Snowflake Security: Securing YHerzberg and Cohenour Snowflake Data Cloud together and the challenges they faced—when combined with work/life responsibilities—and how they overcame them. This joint effort is complete guide to Snowflake security, covering account security, authentication, data access control, logging and monitoring, and more. 

Q: How would you describe the experience of writing your book? Was it easier or harder than expected?

Looking back, it was pretty much what we expected it to be. It’s a big project and is sort of a black hole in terms of free time. But once you build a plan around it, breaking it down, it becomes manageable. But we must confess that there were moments when we were asking ourselves “Why?!” However, looking back, it was totally worth it.

Q: What was your schedule like when you wrote your book? Can you describe your writing process?

We tried breaking it down and getting something done every day. However, most of the work was done in weekend sprints, waking up early and writing before the weekend hustle and bustle. 

Q: Are there things you would do differently in terms of planning if you were to write another book?

In terms of planning, we would probably do more or less the same. This, of course, depends on the type of book, which may cause adjustments to the plan.

Q: Most tech authors write their books alongside work/life responsibilities—how did you find the time to complete your book?

That was definitely the biggest challenge in this whole project. We were writing the book while already working in a very demanding startup environment. This project took over some working time and some free time for a certain period. However, this was still a very exciting project, and hearing from readers that the book helped them gives great satisfaction.

Q: What was your main reason/inspiration for writing this book?

When we dived into that whole world of data engineers that manage security for their organization on their Snowflake accounts, we felt there’s a gap in knowledge about implementing security requirements, as well as knowing where to start and how to prioritize.

We were looking for a book to read and fill this gap, but couldn’t find one. Then it was like… “well if there isn’t a book, let’s write one”. At first, the idea sounded a bit intimidating. Then the adventure sounded appealing. From there it was mainly contacting Apress to ask Susan McDermott what she thinks about it, and all of a sudden it turned into a plan.

Q: Based on this experience, would you ever write another book?

Ben: Although I personally didn’t go through one, I think this is like delivering a baby. If you asked me at the moment of delivery if I would ever do that my answer would be “hell no”, but now that the dust has settled, it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, given the right type of book.

Q: How did you get started on your career path?

Ben: I was doing hands-on coding and security for fun before making it a profession. From there, I tried to keep myself occupied with things that I feel passionate about - security, technological challenges, research, and data.

Yoav: I started my software development career at the age of 12, writing software that controlled truck weights, traffic radars, and such at my uncle’s company. After graduating from university I spend a few years at SAP where I got to experience software development at scale.

Q: Did you have writer’s block while working on your book? If so, how did you overcome it?

Definitely. Some of the things that worked for us were crying to our surrounding family and colleagues. Then part of treating the writer’s block was handled by forcing ourselves to make progress in small intervals, to get a sense of accomplishment.

Q: What is your favorite book? Favorite author?

Ben: There are just so many, but some recent great reads were “The Cemetery Of Forgotten Book” series by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, which I’ve read, then immediately re-read.

Yoav: I love reading many genres and authors. Lately, I re-read Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore which is a must-read in my opinion for any startup founder. I also enjoyed Amp It Up by Snowflake’s CEO, Frank Slootman which references Crossing the Chasm.

Ben Herzberg is an experienced hacker and developer with years of experience in endpoint security, behavioral analytics, application security, and data security. His professional experience in development, research, and security includes roles such as the CTO of Cynet and leading the threat research group at Imperva. Ben is now the Chief Scientist for Satori, streamlining data access and security with DataSecOps. Ben also loves to write, speak at conferences, travel, and meet new people.

Yoav Cohen is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Satori Cyber. At Satori, Yoav is building the company’s technology vision and leading the research and engineering teams. Before founding Satori Cyber, Yoav was the Senior Vice President of Product Development for Imperva, which he joined as part of the acquisition of Incapsula, a cloud-based web applications security and acceleration company, where he was the Vice President of Engineering. Before joining Incapsula, Yoav held several technology leadership positions at SAP. When he isn’t glued to his laptop or on a whiteboard, Yoav can be found traveling with his wife and four kids in an RV, playing electric guitar, or doing laps at the pool. He is still dreaming about building his own operating system. Yoav holds an MSc in computer science from Tel-Aviv University and a BSc in computer science and biology from Tel-Aviv University.