Cybersecurity Consultant | Adjunct Professor | Genealogist
Former Vanguard Information Technology Principal with broad experience in technology operations, IT controls, and business systems analysis. Independent Cybersecurity Consultant. La Salle University Adjunct Professor of Information Security. Genealogy Research Small Business Owner. CISSP, CISM, CIA.
What attracted you to data management or IT, and why did you choose to pursue this career?
I was attracted to a career in IT in the early 70’s after listening to a visiting executive on my college campus who predicted that computers were “the wave of the future.” I saw a lot of potential opportunity in getting involved in a new field. I found that there were aspects of technology that I enjoyed although I was a business major in college.
What has been your greatest career accomplishment so far, and why has it been important to your career?
I served as a principal (officer) at Vanguard for 12 years, in 3 different subdivisions of its Information Technology division. This broad experience positioned me to assist my consulting client in the establishment of a companywide information security program, including gaining executive buy-in, and staffing the first formal information security function. That experience provided an opportunity to become familiar with a breadth of topics that are very timely, and to gain skills that are in demand today.
What are the two or three biggest challenges you face as a data management professional / CDO and how can we address them?
Looking through an Information Security lens, I believe that two of the biggest challenges that data management professionals currently face are data availability and data confidentiality. The recent spike in ransomware attacks has affected all industries and crippled organizations’ ability to have the ready access to its data necessary to conduct vital business functions. In a related vein, organizations’ ability to maintain control of its data, both due to an external attack, or an internally originated data leak, are issues that have risen to board-level visibility. An enterprise risk management program, leveraging foundational controls, is necessary to ensure that these threats are appropriately considered and mitigated.
How do you see data management / the role of the CDO / IT changing in the next 2 – 3 years?
Based on what I have been reading in the news, preparing for the increase in nation state attacks in the cyber realm will be something that IT needs to prioritize to ensure that data is adequately protected. Also, the increase in the use of technologies, for example, artificial intelligence/machine learning, will require strategic planning to ensure that data is appropriately managed going forward.
Do you have any planned next steps for your career?
At this stage of my career, I am interested in expanding my skill set to include virtual CISO and board advisory services.
What is the single best piece of advice you have received in your data management / IT career so far? Why has it been so important to you?
The single best piece of advice I have received, in general, is to continuously learn. Things change so rapidly and continuously in IT, it is important to always stay current.
Can you share something about yourself as a person that people wouldn’t know about you?
People that know me well know that I have been the “family genealogist” for years. In some respects, I have become the CDO of sorts for the family tree data, consistently focusing on the data confidentiality and availability concerns I mentioned previously. It can be easy to lose control of your research, or have it polluted with inaccurate information, so having controls in place against this is important to me too!
If you have any questions about this interview, or if we can be of any service, please do not hesitate to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org