Leadership, Email security, Identity

How COVID forced cyber into the boardroom, and other observations from a ‘shark’

Entrepreneur and television personality Robert Herjavec, right, speaks with Cybersecurity Alliance’s Parham Eftekhari for InfoSec World 2021.
Entrepreneur and television personality Robert Herjavec, right, speaks with Cybersecurity Alliance's Parham Eftekhari for InfoSec World 2021.

As one of the “sharks” on the ABC television show “Shark Tank,” entrepreneur Robert Herjavec said he had to learn to make the complex — valuations or cap table structures — relatable to a television audience.

“The cyber guy in me wasn't making security relatable,” Herjavec told Parham Eftekhari, senior vice president and executive director of SC Media sister brand Cybersecurity Collaborative, during a keynote discussion at InfoSecWorld 2021. When the cybersecurity industry shifted from being focused on the technical to an executive-corporate enabler, his Shark Tank experience "worked really well for me and my company, because we're very good at presenting.”

That recognition of security as a business enabler helped ushered in other shifts in how companies do business with e-commerce, digitalization, cloud, Herjavec continued. “People that are doing well in our world are the ones that can take security and frame the conversation about how this helps your business,” going beyond the threat conversation.

Herjavec, who founded BRAK Systems in Canada before starting The Herjavec Group, also discussed the state of cybersecurity in the time of a global pandemic as well as how chief information security officers can navigate the corporate climate and advocate for their security needs.

Click here to register for InfoSec World to watch the full keynote fireside discussion, and access the rest of the Nov. 9-10 conference agenda.

Indeed, while many issues challenging the cybersecurity industry are ongoing — e-commerce, cloud, work from home — Herjavec said that COVID has been the greatest compressor of time in history, bringing all of the gradual trends together at once.

“I used to say the business works at the speed of light,” he said. “I now say business works at the speed of COVID.”

Along with a remote workforce comes more access points, which generally means more threats. And while nation-state attacks have increased, Herjavec said the biggest issue facing companies today is ransomware, the vast majority of which comes in through simple email. “I mean, would anybody on this call have thought we'd still be talking about email and phishing 10 years ago?”

Until recently, Herjavec said executives thought of security as binary — you’re either secure or not — and they are now seeing it as a spectrum. 

“You're never going to get to that point of full security where you cannot be hacked,” he said. “So detection and response has become even more critical. And while the [traditional] perimeter is dead, identity is the new perimeter.”

Stephen Weigand

Stephen Weigand is managing editor and production manager for SC Media. He has worked for news media in Washington, D.C., covering military and defense issues, as well as federal IT. He is based in the Seattle area.

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