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American Industry Benefiting From Government Cybersecurity Executive Transitions

Bob Gourley

One of the bright spots in the cybersecurity community is the corporate awakening to the need for highly competent executive level talent. Businesses in every sector of the economy and of all sizes are realizing that effective cyber risk mitigation is not just a matter of buying new technologies or turning on a firewall. Mitigating risks while enabling business requires executive talent that can understand and empower business objectives but take systematic, cross-organizational action to strategically reduce the threat to the business.

Now the issue becomes where to find this talent. For decades corporate America has turned to former government executives as a source of talent. Most fortune 500 firms will have former FBI, CIA, NSA, DIA or DoD cybersecurity professionals in leadership positions. Over the last few years this trend has only accelerated.

We found great context on this trend in this Chief Security Officer Magazine article by Benchmark Executive Search's Jeremy King titled: "National Security Brain Drain."  Jeremy writes in part that:

Whether defending from adversaries to include nation states, crime groups, extremists, and hackers, their unique understanding of the complex threat landscape, methods and capabilities used to combat these threats is now what corporate America needs. Their sense of patriotism and mission continues and will now help protect some of our country’s top brands and companies.

Since the critical infrastructure is primarily owned and operated by the private sector, our government can’t be expected to solve all the problems in keeping America safe. Industry must take the lead. We have seen the demand for these accomplished leaders skyrocket as forward-looking corporate CEOs and boards are turning to these former national security and cyber government officials to gain expertise, insight and address the growing need to combat a full spectrum of enterprise risks.

American industry has always benefited from the talent produced by the U.S. government, especially those with national security experience. The demand signal from industry and the needs to secure our nation's economy indicate more of this talent will be needed in the future. There are issues here of course. Will industry demand cause more in government to decide to leave earlier and will that cause impact to important agency missions? How will agencies mitigate their risks if that happens?  Those are challenges, but overall it seems America needs this talent to protect the economy and government should prepare and adapt to meet these changes.

I should also mention that for many mid-sized companies there will not be enough of this talent to go around. What does the small to mid-sized firm do when they want high end cybersecurity talent on their side? They contact Cognitio, of course.

 

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Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com