As vice president and chief information security officer at Freddie Mac in McLean, Va., Patricia Titus is responsible for the protection and integrity of the mortgage company’s information assets while enabling world-class information access.
Previously, Titus was vice president and CISO at Symantec, responsible for IT information security risk management, threat response and governance functions. While there, she played a strategic role in protecting Symantec’s IT resources, infrastructure and information assets, as well as driving internal security initiatives.
Prior to that, Titus was vice president and global CISO for Unisys, a global information technology company, and before that CISO at the Transportation Security Administration within the Department of Homeland Security.
In both CISO positions she focused on creating, implementing and maintaining robust IT security programs.
In addition, she worked overseas for several years in various positions within the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. State Department and various private sector firms. Overall, she has more than 20 years of security management experience and is an active member in multiple industry forums and associations focused on cyber security.
Aside from her professional career work, she serves on the board for Cyber United and participates on the Visual Privacy Advisory Council. As well, she is on the Advisory Council for the Executive Women’s forum and was recognized as a “Woman of Influence” by the Executive Women’s Forum in 2009 and the Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2013. She serves on the Women’s Advisory Board for the Girl Scouts Council of the Nation’s Capital, where she mentors young women in the IT field.
A former colleague at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) described her as an inspiration and influential to him in his position as chief cybersecurity officer for a major IT firm. “Patti has inspired me to elevate my strategic thought in cybersecurity. From standing up to the first red team at TSA to the internal awareness campaigns for senior IT personnel that were based on ‘offense informing defense,’ she demonstrates global thought leadership from a risk management perspective. The lens through which she views cybersecurity is truly unique, as it is both strategic and tactical. I see Patti as a pioneer and maven in cybersecurity.”
Titus believes that security sits at the core of today’s IT enterprise and the CISO is a very instrumental leadership position to influence the future of security. “With the digital era well under way with mobility, cloud and Big Data, security sits at the core,” says Titus. Several high-profile data breaches and thefts over the last decade have put security on the agenda for the C-suite and the board of directors, she adds. The criticality of the chief information security officer’s role in solving this problem is more evident than ever.
“CISOs need to realize that technology alone is not going to solve the problem. A partnership of humans with technology is the way forward. CISOs need to become the cultural ambassadors for cybersecurity in their companies and evangelize the role that each employee plays in the protection of critical company information.” Another key factor as a CISO, she says, is understanding the business objectives and tailoring security to meet the needs of the company. “There’s a delicate balance between security and operations, which often entails a deeper knowledge in order to manage risk appropriately.”