Podcast - The New CISO Podcast Episode 73: Leading with a Military Mindset: It’s We, Not Me with Steve Magowan - Exabeam

Leading with a Military Mindset: It’s We, Not Me with Steve Magowan

Podcast Transcript | Air Date August 25, 2022

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Listen to Steve and Steve discuss the key qualities of a leader and breaking into cyber security:

Meet Steve (1:39)

Host Steve Moore introduces our guest today, Steve Magowan. Steve reveals how long he’s worked for BlackBerry.

Steve Magowan explains how his background in the air force led to his cyber security career, where he utilizes his tech abilities and wears many hats.

A Canadian In The Air Force (4:44)

Steve asks Steve Magowan, a Canadian, what was more challenging about the air force: the cold in Canada or dealing with Americans?

Steve shares that the real difficulty is flying through the congestion in the skies above the United States. He realized how empty most of Canada is, which makes for great training grounds.

A Transition Opportunity (8:19)

Steve Magowan shares how his various skill sets suited him well for transitioning into cyber security and how there are more needs for people who understand IoT applications. 

Although having this skill set is now recognized as vitally important, it’s challenging to find someone with tech abilities who can also manage a team. Due to their work ethic and unique perspective, the military has become a worthwhile option for recruiting cybersecurity professionals. 

The Military Mindset (13:56)

Steve and Steve discuss the differences between non-military and military security professionals. 

Host Steve notes that people who have served tend to be more willing to work long hours and share their perspectives to manage a crisis. Steve Magowan explains that much of this team mentality comes from the “us and we and ours” core of their military training.

Moving Into Cyber Security (17:00)

Although Steve did not have a direct cyber security background, a family friend knew of a job for him in the field. With years of consulting and IoT experience at 38 years old, Steve was well suited to transition into, at first, an IT team due to his leadership skills. 

He recognizes that his military experience opened the door for him, but his hunger for knowledge made him succeed.

Bringing Leadership To The Table (22:38)

For aspiring CISOs, host Steve presses Steve on which qualities helped break him into the field and assure employers of his leadership abilities.

Steve reiterates that his military background made him a worthwhile candidate, partly due to his lack of ego. Steve knows he’s not the most intelligent guy in the room, which makes him want to learn and figure out how to solve any security problems that come his way.

The Emerging Problem (27:55)

Supply chain risks are a growing threat, a challenge to people in the cyber security world. Steve Magowan shares how security professionals have dealt with these types of breaches and the differing objectives between business leaders and CISOs.

Differing Agendas (31:15)

Steve and Steve discuss the conflicting agendas between CIOs and CISOs. Corporate America has not fully grasped the increasing cyber threats, making it harder for CISOs to do their jobs. 

CISOs have accepted high-risk positions, which is why they must learn how to communicate with CFOs with their interests in mind: money and business outcome. 

See You Next Time (41:16)

With so much to discuss, especially third-party and supply chain risks, host Steve invites Steve back to the show.

The New CISO (42:25)

To Steve Magowan, a CISO is someone who is an enabler versus a barrier. A CISO’s job is to protect the company against risk and allow the business to succeed.

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