Career Day Outcomes:  Trends in IT, IoT and Privacy Mean More Complexity, Opportunity for IT Professionals

With increasing prognostication around the looming IT talent shortage, it’s refreshing to engage with the students at Merritt College. As this next generation prepares to enter the IT workforce, Cybersecurity Career Day events not only help connect them to industry and business leaders but also create engagement opportunities for learning and collaboration.

MerrittCISEAt the event Nov. 2, about 100 attendees had the pleasure of hearing from three panels that included Instructors, leading CISOs from a number of industries, and students. During the day’s interactions, we clearly saw that the proverbial pendulum is swinging back toward privacy. In fact, discussion about GDPR and California’s Consumer Privacy Act explored what it will mean to students – from IoT expansion and an exploding attack surface to the increasing friction between IT and OT (Operating Technology).

As privacy discussions elevated, it was particularly rewarding to have Michelle Dennedy, Cisco’s Chief Privacy Officer, as the keynote speaker. She provided students and peers alike with a unique perspective of current trends, insight into the evolving landscape of privacy and IT, and shared the personal journey of her own career path.

An important outcome of the day is the awareness that cybersecurity and IT professions are not only needed but increasingly require more complex and greater ‘political’ skillsets inside organizations. Technical acuity and collaborative agility are professional strengths that are not only highly valued today but will be an absolute necessity in the future.

Thank you to all who participated!

Mark Egan

Cisco CPO Michelle Dennedy to Keynote Merritt College Cybersecurity Career Day

MerrittKeynoteCybersecurity Career Day at Merritt College in Oakland is gearing up for an exciting event on Nov. 2.  Keynote for the day is Michelle Dennedy, Cisco’s Chief Privacy Officer. Michelle’s career path as a privacy leader at top technology companies will inspire students.

In her current role at Cisco, Michelle is responsible for the ongoing development and implementation of the company’s data privacy policies and practices, She is a strong voice in the security world addressing the opportunities and challenges in cybersecurity staffing, while helping ensure diversity and inclusion will pave the way forward.  Michelle’s career is impressive, and her leadership is inspiring.  She is a leading expert not only in AI and digital privacy and privacy engineering, but also works across industry, business groups and teams to drive privacy excellence along the security continuum.

The Career Day event underscores the important role IT and cybersecurity experts will play in the global economy moving forward with panelists sharing unique insights based on years of real-world experience. While there is no cost to attend, space is limited. If you’d like to reserve a spot, please email your name, company name and contact information to info@ciseeducationfund.com.

Mark Egan

Solving the Cybersecurity Talent Paradox

CISO Panel Announced, Future of Cybersecurity Career Day Nov. 2 at Merritt College in Oakland, 

MerrittCISEEvery day it seems like headlines report about jobs being replaced by AI and other transformative technology.  While some types of jobs may see change, other areas, like cybersecurity, will see incredible growth in coming years. By 2021, it is estimated that there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity positions available in the U.S., while college institutions are expected to matriculate only 35,000 students with a Bachelor’s degree in computer and information services. Regardless of the latest trend or newest tech, one thing is clear: cybersecurity will be increasingly important to business and talent that is on the cutting edge will be in high demand.

To help industry identify and fill this gap, the faculty at Merritt College has teamed with Consortium of Information Systems Executives (CISE) to develop a fully accredited, two-year Associate of Science degree in Cybersecurity.  On Nov. 2, 2018, the College will host a Cybersecurity Career Day in Oakland, Calif.  Attendees will have the opportunity to meet highly-qualified students and learn firsthand of their training, experience and determination to enter the cybersecurity field.

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CISO Panel Announced:

During the event, thought leaders will be part of an engaging Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) panel that will offer companies and students important insights into the future of cybersecurity and the coming IT talent crisis. The panel includes:

This event underscores the important role that IT and cybersecurity experts will play in the economy moving forward. Our stellar panel will share unique insights for industry and job seekers based on years of real-world experience. While there is no cost to attend the event, space is limited. If you’d like to reserve a spot, please email your name, company name and contact information to info@ciseeducationfund.com.

Building a World-Class IT Organization

The Secret to Sustaining an Empowered Culture

At StrataFusion, we like to share what we are seeing and learning at Information Technology and Services organizations that are in sync with the business and delivering great results. One of the best predictors of success is a vibrant culture. In the systems world, we stress the importance of people, process and technology, and there’s a reason why the word “people” comes first. So what can you do to connect with your teams and build a strong culture?

Three Keys to Unlock World Class IT Culture

  • Articulate your message. First and foremost, ensure your IT strategy, project portfolio and focus areas are directly and dynamically tied to business imperatives and goals that your team understands.
  • Encourage participation. The perspectives people bring to the table are crucial for success, and a feedback loop instills collaboration and enriches contribution. Value diverse knowledge sources by bringing in team members from other business areas to cross-pollinate and innovate.
  • Invest in your people. Winning the talent war is a never-ending journey. Organizations must hire and continuously provide training and development opportunities to people who are energetic, tolerate ambiguity and are excited to learn new approaches and skills.

The Power of Culture 

Culture plays a bigger role in IT success than many leaders think. It’s an attention-getter that shines through in your best people, as they also recruit the highest potential new employees. Culture must clearly articulate authentic company values, and these enrich your product and services. A strong culture is built on a foundation of trust. This means maintaining an environment that challenges the status quo and offers learning experiences – from success and failures – to clear the way for risk and rewards. It also means enabling teamwork and promoting diversity, because everyone brings a unique skill set and point of view to the table.

How can you strengthen culture? Hire, train and then empower employees to work with accountability. Take an agile approach and provide maximum flexibility to meet business needs. Reward self-management successes and discourage micro-managers. Never neglect communication of good or bad news so people understand the organization’s goals, IT strategy, plan and results.  It’s crucial to update progress frequently and get input about how your team can tangibly support it.

Today’s IT teams have innovative ideas to bring to business collaboration, so take advantage of it. When you are truly committed to cultivating a culture of growth, the payoff is huge.

This is the first blog installment in a series on building world-class IT. The next installment will focus on building teams and careers.

Maureen Vavra

StrataFusion Expands Expertise in M&A, Large Project Space and IT Outsourcing with Partner Jim Murphy

StrataFusion’s growing partnership of trusted advisors is giving clients the expertise they need to solve the challenges they face. Earlier this year, StrataFusion welcomed Jim Murphy, who has been advancing business through the application of technology for JMurphy9-2018more than 25 years. His executive experience spans a number of demanding and high-profile roles, particularly in the large project space, from M&A to IT outsourcing.

“StrataFusion’s Partners are industry-recognized executives with incredible credentials,” Jim says. “I’m honored to be part of this team and truly enjoy the collaborative approach to provide clients with world-class advisory services.”

Previously, Jim served as CIO of Hewlett Packard’s Outsourcing Business and oversaw the IT integration of EDS, one of the largest technology acquisitions of all time. He also served as the VP & GM of HP’s multi-billion-dollar Server Support business, where his global team provided mission-critical services in some of the world’s most demanding environments.

“The experience each of our partners bring to StrataFusion is a winning combination for our clients,” says Ken Crafford, StrataFusion’s founding partner. “As trusted advisors for organizations and companies in a variety of industries, it’s crucial we have diversity of experience to meet the many challenges our clients face as the business landscape evolves.”

Need guidance from a trusted advisor? Learn more about StrataFusion here.

StrataFusion Announces New Partner Greg Higham

Higham photoStrataFusion is pleased to announce that Greg Higham has joined the firm as its newest partner. A customer-focused Silicon Valley technology executive, Greg has enabled growth for businesses of all sizes across many industries, from public companies to start-ups.

“We are thrilled to have Greg join StrataFusion and bring a strategic mindset of revenue growth, optimization and an incredibly deep understanding of customer service, which provides a unique lens for today’s business landscape,” said Ken Crafford, StrataFusion founding partner. “Greg’s compelling record of success gained from three decades driving strategy, world-class technology infrastructures, global operations management, acquisition integration and scalable business growth adds an exciting dimension of executive-level insight to advise StrataFusion clients.”

Navigating the technology challenges of fast, transformational growth and acquisitions, Greg brings a leadership perspective of business needs, technology solutions and customer experience. He co-founded Periscope Group, where he put into action a powerful combination of technology expertise and business acumen. As CIO of Marketo, he helped navigate a successful IPO and subsequent sale to Vista Equity Partners for $1.7 billion. Greg has honed his leadership skills and deep industry knowledge through senior leadership roles across many fast-growing global organizations, including Witness Systems, FrontRange Solutions, Epiphany, Inovis, Peregrine Systems, Harbinger, Premenos and Tandem Computers.

Greg earned a degree in Computer Technology from CDI, San Francisco and is also a graduate of Stanford University’s Professional Education program.

About StrataFusion:

StrataFusion delivers a full portfolio of CIO/CTO/CISO oriented advisory services for today’s most difficult business and technology challenges. StrataFusion leverages refined methodologies with proven experience, empirical data, industry best practices, and analytical models to build programs that reduce project complexities and accelerate investment returns. With executive-level technology and operational experts, clients access deep industry experience spanning fast-growth enterprises to Fortune 500 corporations.

View all Partner bios here.

Reflections on Black Mirror – Cautionary Tale about Tech in Our Lives

Streaming media has taken over from network TV. Among the many shows we’ve binged on Netflix, one of our favorites is Black Mirror.

Each episode is a unique story, much like The Twilight Zone and others long ago. Uniquely, the Black Mirror stories are each cautionary tales about technology in our lives – the risks of misuse, loss of privacy, loss of intimacy.

One episode for example follows a mother who tracks her daughter through an implant and tablet app that allows for real-time geolocation and vitals, but also displays what her daughter sees and even blocks disturbing content from her vision. Other episodes also extend the reach of today’s technology to fictionalize uncontrollable security robots, intrusive virtual dating apps and other scenarios that focus generally on the dark side of ‘future’ technology adoption by consumers. In nearly every episode, the focus is on consumer devices, phones, pads, sensors, and the use of massive amounts of machine data spewing from these devices, shown for either better or usually detrimental impacts on the individual.

In reality, even with the technology – devices, software, analytics and machine learning we have today, we face these ethical dilemmas. My kids, both millenials, give their data freely, and expect to gain advantages from its mining. And having worked at Splunk, understanding the potential of ‘big data” analytics and artificial intelligence, I am of like mind. Sharing freely with attendant benefits outweighs security concerns – the exception being behaviors which can directly lead to identity theft.

A recent news show segment  featured a British security expert explaining what data we are sharing via Fitbit and similar devices, how our whereabouts and travels could be shown on a heat map, what implications that has for military personnel, etc. Yet the benefits of using a Fitbit and openly sharing geolocation and your vitals is well established. Another positive example of using analytics and AI to mine data for its potential was highlighted in a show about Chicago police, social workers, and clergy who have teamed together to mine data collected on potential felons in order to predict criminal behavior by these individuals (yes, without the imprisoned beings depicted in Minority Report!). Once they have a list of high risk subjects, a member of the police squad, a social worker, clergy, etc. actually visit the subject at home and try to convince them to enter into counseling, job training, and other programs. It’s not even at a 50% acceptance rate, but every point on that graph matters, and lives are saved. These points offer some light to go with what is often assumed to be a darker path via big data. And the implications for running a better business, endless!

Doug Harr