Philippe Lafoucrière README

Philippe Lafoucrière’s README

About me

Hi! I’m a Security Architect at GitLab, which is a specialty on top of my Security Distinguished Engineer role.

I have an Engineering background, having graduated from the Université de Technologie de Compiègne (France) with a Master’s Degree in Computer Science. Nevertheless, my career almost involved an Entrepreneur aspect. This makes me a Jack of all trades and a master of none.

I have worked in various industries, ranging from telecoms to online betting.

A few facts about me:

  • I live in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
  • I have dual citizenships: French & Canadian
  • I have 2 mostly wonderful kids and a fantastic wife
  • I have lived, studied and worked in France and other European countries, but also in South East Asia
  • I spent some of my childhood in Pacific Islands near Australia
  • I love all things outdoors

Background story at GitLab

I joined GitLab with the acquisition of Gemnasium in 2018, when I become the first manager of the Secure Stage. After having designed and developed security products, I decided to switch to the other side of the mirror and joined the Security Department in 2020.


Communicating with me

I’m pretty informal, message me on Slack, send an email, or tag me on a thread, and I’ll respond as soon as I can. I don’t use TODOs in GitLab, preferring to use emails instead. This allows me to see updates on issues where I’ve been involved, without getting pinged explicitly.

You can always book a slot in my agenda (during working hours) if you want to talk to me, no need to ask.

My English is not perfect. The best way for me to improve is to correct myself when I’m using wrong words or expressions.

Also, you can tell I’m tired when my English is worse than usual!

My working style

I live by our values and embrace every one of them as much as I can. By default, I will go async via an issue or a merge request. I create a lot of issues, but they do not all translate into an action item. I use issues as a placeholder for discussions too. Sometimes, it’s to document why I or we think it’s not a good idea to do something. We can re-evaluate the topic long after, and still get the context which might have changed in the meantime.

I enjoy merge requests too, and consider them as the new workspace. They invite everyone to contribute, keep track of context and changes, let us loop in whoever is needed to review or approve, and least but not least have great flexibility for approval rules.

I love UX and by extension simplicity, which is something I will always strive for. Complexity is growing exponentially, so I tend to push back on ideas that can be simplified.

Having managed a company for a decade, I have an affinity for:

  • added value: Return On Investment (ROI) is a great way to think about the value provided when a decision is made. In everything I’m doing or planning to do, I’m always asking myself what my added value in this matter is. How do I contribute to the success of the Security Department and GitLab, the product and the company.
  • risk assessment and management: Blind spots and dark corners keep me up at night. Legal and security risks can arise everywhere, and I usually have a natural ability to find and recognize them.

Typical workday

I wake up at 6 am, exercise until 8 am, breakfast until 8:30 am I usually don’t work before this time, but always check my emails and slack messages when I wake up (old CEO habit).

I take a 1-hour break for lunch, usually between 11:30 am - 12:30 pm.

I end the day around 6 pm to cook dinner for the family.

I get back to the computer between 7 and 8 pm After that, Slack and emails are still in “monitor mode”, but it’s usually family time.


I maintain the GitLab Inventory Builder as well as our internal inventory (private project).

Office Hours

As a Distinguished Engineer, I host Office Hours for the Security Department, but anyone else is free to join if you want to talk about security. These Office Hours usually happen on Mondays at 9:30 AM PST (the event is stored in the “Security” shared calendar, available to all team members of the department). Reach out to me if you’re not in this department and want to be invited.

Roadmap and Vision

My roadmap and vision can be found here.


These tools make my day, every single day. I would have a really hard time working without:


Alfred is a productivity app for mac. It’s a blazing-fast application launcher with some nice extra features. The best is the clipboard history that stacks everything copied in the clipboard. I can copy many different links for example and then switch to another window to paste them. It’s also smart enough to remove secrets from 1password from the history once pasted.

Little Snitch

Little Snitch is a smart firewall for Mac. It monitors all traffic and lets me choose what I accept or not. More importantly, it will trigger a pop-up when a new and unexpected connection is initiated, so I can spot if a program is trying to send something behind my back.

Last modified September 6, 2023: Replace taps with spaces (69f17a79)