SRE, Security, and Presidential Campaigns

Hillary for America was the organization created for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. By election day, the campaign employed 82 software developers. A team of four SREs and two Security Engineers helped protect and scale close to a hundred backend services against a constant stream of DDoS, looming deadlines, and constantly shifting priorities.

This team helped build an environment for rapidly launching new projects, raising billions of dollars from donors, and withstanding spiky and semi-unpredictable traffic. We will walk through how we did this, the unusual schedule of a presidential campaign and how that affects a growing tech team.

Panelists will dive into the technical details of our infrastructure, including our love/hate relationship with AWS, our use of open source technology like Packer, Ansible, and Consul, and our flat out love of Varnish. We will also discuss what makes a presidential campaign a unique technical environment, such as the pace of development, and the work hours.



Ben Hagen

Ben Hagen is likely the only security professional in the world who has won both a presidential election and an Emmy. He loves security and both building and breaking things. Ben lead the Cloud ...amy-hailes

Amy Hailes

Amy was a Site Reliabilty Engineer on the Hillary for America SRE/Ops team. She has also worked as an SRE at The New York Times and as a performance engineer at Akamai Technologies. When she’s ...michael-fisher

Michael Fisher

Michael led Hillary for America’s Site Reliability Engineering team, joining the tech team as its 5th engineer in June 2015. Before that Michael worked on ad tech at DMP platform Krux and at Google. ...will-mccutcheon

Will McCutcheon

Will McCutcheon is a Lead Systems Engineer at Two Bulls in Brooklyn, NY, and before that was a Site Reliability Engineer on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. His work has been varied: ...timball


timball is a human infosec ninja and was the Senior Security Engineer for the campaign. This was his third presidential campaign. Previously had has worked for the Naval Research Labs, US Senate, ...dylan-ayrey

Dylan Ayrey

Dylan is a Security Engineer who graduated RIT in 2015. He is active in the open source community and security community. Prior to the Hillary campaign he did security consulting, primarily focusing ...