Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An Update on My "Secrets Stolen/Fortunes Lost" Co-Author Christopher Burgess

In case you missed it, my Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost co-author, Christopher Burgess was featured in a recent Forbes Magazine article on What Do Former CIA Spies Do When They Quit the Spy Game?

Upon retirement after thirty years with the Central Intelligence Agency, in various position including Station Chief, Burgess, was awarded the Career Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the highest level of career recognition. After retirement, he took on important roles in the private sector, first as Senior Advisor to Cisco Chief Security Office (CSO) John Stewart, and then as CSO himself at Atigeo. In the Forbes piece, Christopher shares some insights on his transition:

One [skill] that served me well was my ability to collaborate. That’s a huge skill for a field officer. Everybody on a team has something to contribute and you have to truly recognize and believe that. Another skill is a technique common to planning intelligence operations: building in ‘fall back positions’ and alternate routes while mapping out how to attain a goal. In Agency operations, things go wrong and you have to have backup plans. Also in the corporate world, whether you are selling a widget or consulting, competitors will surprise you. Dealing with that surprise, keeping your cool when all about you are losing theirs, definitely came from Agency training. Another key skill I developed in the Agency was creating loyal workforces, which yield outstanding results. A big part of that is knowing exactly what you are asking someone to do. If you don’t know from personal experience, you cannot be shy about asking them to give you feedback on their probability of success in a risky operation. Art Keller, What Do Former CIA Spies Do When They Quit the Spy Game? Forbes, 10-12-12

As I have mentioned in previous posts, this year, in CSO Magazine, I have been focusing on interviews with C-level executives, who also happened to be thought-leaders. (Surely, you have noticed that "C-level executives" and "thought leaders" are not straightforward synonyms?)

In the first of these interviews (fourth one coming soon), Christopher and I discussed a range of vital issues, but of course we started with a look back at our collaboration on Secrets Stolen/Fortunes Lost:

My 30,000-foot perspective has not changed since we co-authored Secrets Stolen, Fortune Lost — every company (emphasis intended) regardless of locale has the potential to fall into the sights of an entity or individual who has designs on their assets. The company can choose to educate or not educate their workforce to this reality. Sadly, I continue to see far too many companies operating as if they are immune from falling into the cross-hairs of someone's targeting scheme because they aren't engaged in national security work — they equate economic espionage and IP theft to only those in the national security vertical. While I don t disagree the nation state vector is one about which we, collectively, must pay attention; the individual, the competitor and the criminal vectors also warrant every company's attention. How to meet the challenges of 21st century security and privacy, CSO Magazine, 4-18-12

NOTE: You can find links to all my CSO Magazine articles in the CyBlog sidebar.

Christopher Burgess is also one of those experts from business and government (in this instance, it's a twofer!) who have delivered CyLab Seminars in the context of my Business Risks Forum. He has given two Seminars, one in 2010 and one this year.

Access to the webcast and online archive of the CyLab Seminar series is an exclusive benefit available only to CyLab Partners. But from time to time, we release select seminars, and excerpts from seminars, via You Tube and iTunes to both promote our program and contribute to the public dialogue on the vital issues of cyber security and privacy.

Here are embedded videos of both of Burgess' CyLab Seminars. Enjoy.

CyLab Business Risks Forum: Christopher Burgess - Collaborative Distributed Inferencing (2012)

CyLab Business Risks Forum: Christoper Burgess - Common Sense Approach to Social Media (2010)