The Power of Influence and Resilience

The Power of Influence and Resilience

Balancing Speed, Security and Innovation

ISC2 Toronto Chapter recently hosted its September Event. It is said to be the chapter's most significant event this year. ISC2 Toronto-Chapter hosted five CISOs as Panels and a Keynote speaker, Ireen Birungi, CISO of Interac Corp.

It was an insightful experience listening to each CISO shed light on the direction the Cybersecurity industry was heading. Each brought knowledge based on their years of experience as followers, mentors, leaders and peers.

Ireen Birungi, CISO at Interac Corp, launched the event as a keynote speaker. Her notes highlighted how going back to basics helped her as a business and cybersecurity enabler.

Personally, cybersecurity is a facet of an organization that works in unison with all parts of the organization holistically. Carrying out the functions that foster cybersecurity involves working with people, processes and technology. Ireen spoke about how building rewarding relationships with her peers, teams, and executives ensures the organization is cyber-resilient from its Senior Executive Level, the business process level and Operations (Implementation).

Back to Basics

  • Security Principles

  • Power of Influence

  • Organizational Resilience

Panel Discussion

Generative AI and Digital Transformation

The panels comprised CISOs from Manulife, Sun Life, RBC and CIBC. The panellists were Abhay Raman CISO-Sun Life, Greg Thompson CISO-Manulife, Joe LoBianco CISO-CIBC; and Adam Evans VP CISO-RBC.

The theme revolved around the impact of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) and digital transformation on the cybersecurity industry in Canada. Each panellist's opinion or insights were based on their personal views and not representative of their employers (past or present).

However, they spoke on how GenAI and digital transformation have proactively led organizations to attain speed in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), driving cybersecurity as a business or operations enabler and not a gatekeeper perceived by the operational clients. They highlight how GenAI helps enhance security controls and designs but were specific about needing self-learning and not being entirely dependent on the tool.

Another exciting piece of information I learned from these thought leaders was the importance of networking with peers and mentoring. Being a mentor and a mentee is an enabler that drives one towards continuous learning, personally and professionally. We had a few laughs about networking, but my takeaway was hinged on how engaging with peers at networking events, virtual or in-person or collaborating with teams - one needs to focus on building mutually respected and valuable relationships with others - this piece of advice and a book highly reviewed by Ireen - How to Win Friends and Influence People.

As someone relatively new to the industry, I listen to CISOs express the challenges they've experienced, how they overcame them, and how they foster personal growth within and in their units. It takes a diverse and agile team to drive a cyber-resilient organizational culture. Building this team takes mastering the skills of knowing how to influence people and candour positively. At this event, I got to ask OpenAI about the impact of AI on the cybersecurity industry. I will share what ChatGPT had to say about its relationship with cybersecurity professionals.

Besides keeping things simple and learning how to build mutually beneficial relationships respectively and responsibly, what is your take on Generative AI and digital transformation in today's ecosystem?