I have a confession: Talking about technology can bore the heck out of me. Bot master, data encryption, system-specific policies — there are times when hearing someone ramble on about this stuff makes my eyes roll into the back of my head. One minute I’m listening intently and the next I’m picturing a guy straight out of the Dilbert comic series sporting bottle-thick glasses, a short-sleeve button-up shirt and a tie with a pizza stain from last week’s office party.
That’s why it’s really refreshing to read books, such as “Take Back Control of Your Cybersecurity Now,” written by smart, technology-savvy people who can speak passionately about cybersecurity without dragging the rest of us into the mind-numbing quicksand of IT jargon. Don’t get me wrong — it’s important to be informed and understand the terminology, but it’s equally important to present that information in a way that people can actually comprehend.
Meet the Experts
Enter authors Paul Ferrillo and Chris Veltsos. I’ll come clean here and admit these guys are at least part nerd, but they also have their wits about them and can talk about their expertise in cybersecurity with an ease virtually anyone can understand — even me.
Paul is a lawyer at New York’s Weil, Gotshal & Manges law firm focusing on cybersecurity governance issues. In the book, he adroitly guides us through the deeply complex legal and policy landscape surrounding security. Chris is a professor in the Department of Computer Information Science at Minnesota State University. He is also known as Dr. InfoSec online — partly a hat tip to his advanced degrees, but maybe more of a recognition of his ability to be smart about cybersecurity without making the rest of us feel dumb.
Pick Your Podcast
So, when I got the opportunity to interview these two gents in a podcast series based on their book, I jumped at the chance. When I stepped into this task, I had no idea that it would turn into a series of nine podcasts. The more I got into it, the more I enjoyed it and the smarter I got, which is a no small feat for a communications guy like me. And don’t worry — we’ve kept the podcasts short and digestible for you.
Before writing this article, I went back to Chris and Paul to ask them what their favorite sessions were, which is kind of like asking a restaurant’s head chef what her favorite dish is on the menu. So if you’re a pick-and-choose person such as myself, this might serve as a good cheat sheet to help you decide what to listen to first.
In Paul’s favorite sessions, we discussed:
- Artificial intelligence, cognitive computing and what they mean for the future of cybersecurity;
- Why employing guidelines from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a must; and
- The need for both chief information security officers (CISOs) and boards to ask tough questions in a language the other can understand.
Chris’ favorite sessions included conversations about:
- The importance and effectiveness of security controls;
- Engaging senior management in cybersecurity; and
- Talking tech with C-level leaders and the board in a way they can understand.
Paul and Chris may be the experts, but I have to call out my personal favorite episode as well. In that session, we discussed what makes IBM Watson different from the vast range of other security solutions.
Learn How to Take Back Control of Your Cybersecurity
Well, what are you waiting for? Check out the podcasts and spend a few minutes learning from smart guys who won’t make you feel stupid.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to read Paul and Chris’ complete book to get the whole story. Finally, keep an eye out here on Security Intelligence for updates from Paul, Chris and me. We’ve agreed to get the band back together about once a month to cover new cybersecurity issues as they come up.