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Interview With Dennis Houchin

Cybersecurity Insights from the Author of “The Cyber Kill Chain”

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Dennis Houchin, author of the book “Cybersecurity for Executives, Managers, and Leaders: The Cyber Kill Chain” Dennis brings over 40 years of experience in information technology and cybersecurity training.

His book provides an accessible overview of cyber threats and security concepts for business managers and leaders through an engaging ransomware attack storyline.

When asked what inspired him to write this book, Dennis shared that through years of working with management teams and boards, he noticed a gap in understanding between the technical staff and decision makers when it came to cyber risks. While security experts tended to get lost in technical jargon during presentations, executives would tune out and then just ask about budget and timelines afterwards. Dennis wanted to create an easy-to-digest resource specifically for managers and c-suite leaders that would build their competency in evaluating security initiatives.

The book’s narrative format brings to life threats like ransomware that often seem abstract to non-technical readers. Dennis weaves in just enough technical detail to aid understanding without overwhelming readers unfamiliar with cyber terminology. The realistic attack scenario reveals the sophistication of criminal groups leading such attacks, as well as the relative ease with which they can infiltrate systems unprepared for an assault.

From the feedback Dennis has gathered so far from management teams, his book certainly hits its mark in conveying the gravity of cyber risks in an engaging, accessible manner. The vivid attack narrative elicits an emotional response and appreciation of vulnerabilities from a business perspective. It prompts leaders to recognize cybersecurity as a strategic imperative beyond just an IT issue.

As today’s cyber threats rapidly evolve, Dennis emphasized that organizations need involvement from every level to transform their thinking and posture. Security awareness needs to permeate across the board – from c-suite executives weighing investments to frontline employees avoiding risky clicks.

Though his book centers on ransomware, Dennis noted many other attack vectors that merit vigilance. In our discussion, it was clear Dennis wrote this book out of a sense of duty to demystify cyber risks for private and public sector leaders alike. By elucidating technical concepts through storytelling, Dennis bridges communication gaps that can deter informed strategic planning.

The book inspires security to be viewed as an organization-wide responsibility rather than solely for technical teams to handle. It provides a clarion call for leaders to prioritize understanding of threats impacting us all.

I want to thank Dennis again for sharing insights into his informative book and dedication to raising collective cybersecurity awareness! Please reach out if you would like more details on Dennis’ live/virtual trainings that enable hands-on experience with security tools.

Note: the above post is a blog post written entirely by a ‘robot’, that is an artificial intelligence robot that had read my book, then formulated it’s own questions to ask me. It ask me the questions, which I answered, and then summarized the interview in the post. Click here for the original LinkedIn post that describes the setup of this interview.

Righteous Persistence Brings Rewards

RightRoad_LIIn the I Ching (pronounced Yee Jing – an ancient Chinese text written over 3,000 years ago) we are counseled that “Righteous Persistence Brings Reward”. The operative word here is ‘Righteous’. If we are constantly beating our head against the wall, becoming frustrated that our exhausting efforts are not producing the desired results, we should pause for a moment and reflect on whether our persistence is indeed ‘righteous’.

In fact, if our persistence is not righteous, we may indeed be guilty of insanity! Albert Einstein famously proclaimed that to do the same task over and over and expect different results is the very essence of insanity.

So how do we ensure that our persistence is righteous? We need to examine the motivating factors for our persistence. What is driving us to continue to pursue a particular goal or vision? Is it greed or vanity or self-preservation or fear? These are characteristics associated with the Ego, and while the Ego has an important role in our personalities, allowing Ego driven motivations most often leads ultimately to disappointment, feelings of guilt and failure.

If our goals and desires are instead driven by our core values, by the core beliefs we have about the world and what is right and what is wrong – and if these core beliefs and ideals are connected to reality – then our persistence will be rewarded, not only when the goal is achieved, but in every step along the way, every drop of blood, every drop of sweat, every tear that is spilt in pursuit of the goal.

The sense of fulfillment and joy that is experienced as we pursue our goal using righteous persistence will far outweigh any pain or discomfort that we will certainly endure along the path.

So exam your core values, the beliefs you hold at the center of your being. Hold fast to those that are good and helpful, discard or transmute those that may be harmful and stifling.

Let Righteous Persistence be your driving force and there will be nothing that can stop you from achieving your goals.

Purposeful Nature

The Nature of Purpose

Stunning Silence. Soul-filling, peace-giving silence. Stunning because the tree frogs and the bugs slept in late today. Even the birds noticed. Their songs were more like Mom humming in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon, and their conversations were held in their most respectful library voices.

With the bustle of Labor Day behind us, the trees seem to be in a hurry to leave a hot and humid summer Autumn-Nature-Purposebehind as well, their leaves beginning to blaze with the colors that will return them to the earth, so they can prepare once again to create their verdant coat in the spring.

I can’t help but see that the “purpose driven life”: that goal centered activity; that unstoppable passion exists all around us in Nature.

We don’t find many things in Nature that don’t have a clear purpose, based on their most basic values. Most of Nature knows the things it must do to fulfill its purpose, and will do those things faithfully. We don’t see squirrels wasting their time trying to be frogs, or birds trying to be dogs.

The exception of course is Human Nature. We must often search to find our values-based purpose and we must fight against many distracting or opposing forces, to determine the actions needed to get us there.

Since the Human Species has been able to have thoughts and express them with language, we have created stories, plays, and books that are intended to help others along in this journey.

The Achievement Protocol is such a book and I hope that you will find it of value, so that, in other moments of Stunning Silence, others will observe you and marvel at the simplicity of the way you follow a purpose driven Achievement Protocol.