Trusting Your Tech to Tackle Human Problems with Dr. Adrian Mayers
Episode 7014th July 2022 • The New CISO • Steve Moore
00:00:00 00:41:57

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In this episode of The New CISO, Steve is joined by Dr. Adrian Mayers, VP and CISO at Premera Blue Cross, to discuss what to consider when interviewing for CISO positions and how to trust your tech in the security field.

Since fifth grade, Dr. Adrian Mayers has had a passion for computers. Now a CISO, he shares the role computers play in a security professional’s day-to-day life. Listen to the episode to hear more about Dr. Adrian’s advice for aspiring CISOs, the relationship between human behavior and tech, and his thoughts on the transition to automation.

Listen to Steve and Dr. Adrian discuss how to find the right security team and solve human problems with technology:

Meet Dr. Adrian (1:56)

Host Steve Moore introduces our guest today, Dr. Adrian Mayers, who shares a bit about his life before Premera Blue Cross and his childhood interest in computers.

The Power of Story-telling (5:43)

Dr. Adrian explains his love of narrative-based gaming and how escapism provides relief after difficult work days. He also shares how video games give him strategy ideas he uses in his current role.

The Character of a Leader (8:19)

When asked about his characterization of a leader, Dr. Adrian reflects that a leader is someone who has integrity at their core. He expresses the importance of evaluating who you are and ensuring you bring your values into a leadership position.

Advice For Aspiring CISOS (9:25)

Steve asks Dr. Adrian his advice for those interviewing for CISO positions. 

Dr. Adrian shares why you should communicate how security plays into your day-to-day life and ask questions about the team's previous history when tackling security problems. The main thing is to be comfortable with who’s in front of you because you would build relationships with this team if offered the position.

Looking For Your Next Position (16:08)

There are different considerations if you’re courting a government position than evaluating a job at a start-up company. Ultimately, it depends on each security company's process and context when navigating the interview stages.

Solving Human Problems (18:25)

Steve asks Dr. Adrian about his thoughts on tech solving human problems. 

Dr. Adrian reminds the listeners not to get so wrapped in the technology that they forget what they’re trying to do: tackle human problems. Ultimately, tech helps CISOs do this work, but focusing on the human elements will keep you centered and effective.

Not Trusting The Tech (21:44)

Dr. Adrian recognizes that many security professionals wonder if they can trust data platforms versus the insights of actual human beings. 

He also understands that there is a difference between installing programs and implementing them. Overall, if you take the time to understand the tools, you can see how tech makes effective security decisions regarding human problems.

Defending Automation (26:27)

Steve presses Dr. Adrian on ways to convince security professionals to automate low-level tasks. 

Dr. Adrian assures the listeners that these changes are being made daily in the security field. By clarifying to security professionals that they will not be replaced by automation but will have more space for high-level problem-solving, the transition will be easier for teams to accept.

The Definition of Good (29:49)

Dr. Adrian explains that the definition of “good” for security programs stems from people. If security professionals have a sense of purpose to show up every day and learn how to use the tech, then that is the measure of a quality program.

If you build a dialogue with your security team and understand their concerns and issues, they will have a sense of ease when moving in a technological direction.

Final Advice (38:45)

To Dr. Adrian, the most vital thing when interviewing for a CISO position is always to do your homework. If you are clear about your experience and how you can benefit the security team, you will be able to communicate why you are suitable for the role.

Ultimately, you want to show how you are ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work, despite potential difficult days ahead.

Links mentioned:

Premera Blue Cross


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