Billy Spears: Reciprocal and Cross-functional Cybersecurity Learning and Engagement

Kitecast

Jul 20 2023 • 40 mins

Billy Spears, Teradata’s CISO since 2021, stresses reciprocal learning and community in cybersecurity in a Kitecast episode. He believes each interaction offers learning potential and guides his volunteering decisions based on potential mutual benefits.

Spears discusses the evolution of cybersecurity standards since his time at the Department of Homeland Security. Initial efforts focused on creating policies and frameworks, while today's challenge is managing an overabundance of inconsistent frameworks. Companies need to navigate from the least to most restrictive frameworks, factoring in their needs, risk tolerance, global economic influences, regional regulations, and data handling practices. Spears highlights that compliance, while important, is not the sole determinant of strong security.

Spears emphasizes resource and cost management in implementing new cybersecurity technologies. As a CISO, he believes in cross-functional thinking across IT systems, including product, engineering, and marketing. The impact of technology solutions on business decisions must be considered holistically, assessing financial aspects with procurement teams for a comprehensive impact evaluation.

The cybersecurity skills shortage continues, and Spears suggests three mitigation strategies. First, avoid bias in recruitment towards candidates who reflect hiring managers. Second, dispel the misconception that cybersecurity is solely technical and hire non-technical roles like auditors, project managers, and governance professionals. Finally, combat the retirement of senior leaders by thinking creatively in recruitment, promoting cross-training, community engagement, university partnerships, and succession planning.

Spears emphasizes understanding the variety in AI. It’s not a single product but an array of algorithms and models used for different outcomes. Awareness of these differences is critical in cybersecurity to discern the benefits and risks of each AI model, like understanding blockchain. He advocates for education as key to navigating AI’s advantages and potential hazards.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/billyjspears/

Check out video versions of Kitecast episodes at https://www.kiteworks.com/kitecast or on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/c/KiteworksCGCP.

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