How technically capable does my CISO need to be? If they lose their technical chops, should we stop trusting them? Should they even be a CISO if they had no technical chops to begin with?

This episode is hosted by me, David Spark (@dspark), producer of CISO Series and Mike Johnson. Our guest this week is James Dolph, CISO for Guidewire Software.

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On this week’s episode

We mentioned past guest, Kelly Shortridge’s new book with Aaron Rinehart, “Security Chaos Engineering”.

First 90 days of a CISO

It’s time for a CISO do-over. One of the great things about being a CISO is you get a chance to actually apply everything you learned from past jobs. Our guest, James, worked in product security with Salesforce before becoming a CISO. When we recorded the episode, James wasn’t yet a full 90 days into his job. And Mike also came from Salesforce as well (they worked together) and working at Lyft was his first CISO job directly from Salesforce as well. Did they both have the same viewpoints of applying product security principles to the CISO role?

How do you go about discovering new security solutions

What criteria do you use to evaluate phishing solutions? GigaOM Research released a report earlier this year of the key criteria for evaluating phishing platforms. Some of the criteria they mentioned were phishing solutions that do and do not impede workflows, a security edge solution that’s in-band vs. out-of-band, and do you need detonation chambers for potentially malicious emails.

What criteria do Mike and James use to evaluate, and have they seen those criteria change from company to company? What criteria are not as important?

What’s Worse?!

Failing as a professional or being a mediocre professional?

What’s a CISO to do

On Defense in Depth, my co-host Allan Alford said, “I think the lack of technical skills in a CISO is expected to a certain degree. You have to have the foundation, but I don’t expect my CISOs to be rolling up their sleeves and doing a lot of the hands on work.” I turned that quote into a meme image and it caused a flurry of response from the community. How much of applying of security controls that your staff currently does, could a CISO do themselves today?

Let’s dig a little deeper

What are our passion projects that are tangentially related to cybersecurity? Are we adopting any and how is it helping us stay mentally healthy during COVID? Tony Jarvis of Check Point brought this up. He suggested that we should be sharing our passion projects. What have been our passion projects? How have they helped our mood and our work? And have we been able to keep up with them?