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Host Emily Wearmouth sits down for a conversation about neurodivergence in cyber with special guest Holly Foxcroft, a neurodiversity consultant and expert on neurodiversity research in the cybersecurity industry.

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In this episode, Shamla Naidoo (Head of Cloud Strategy and Innovation at Netskope) and Homaira Akbari (President & CEO of AKnowledge Partners) sit down for a discussion moderated by Steve Weber (Partner at Breakwater Strategy) to discuss their recently released, co-authored book “The Cyber Savvy Boardroom: Essentials Explained.” In this conversation, Shamla and Homaira discuss their impetus for writing this book, how it addresses evolving trends in cybersecurity, and the sorts of feedback they’ve received on it from their peers.

We have so many issues that we can confront, it’s not possible to confront them all at the same time with the same level of rigor, at the same level of investment. So selecting those risks carefully is what I think the CSO and the security leaders have to help the board to do.

—Shamla Naidoo, Head of Cloud Strategy and Innovation at Netskope
Shamla Naidoo

 

Timestamps

*(0:45): Introductions*(15:20): Addressing cyber risk appetite
*(3:16): Why write this book right now?
*(19:51): Addressing GenAI and other trends in cybersecurity
*(7:34): What was different about your approach to writing this book?*(24:10): How boards evaluate themselves
*(12:40): What kinds of questions do boards raise about cloud transformation and migration?*(27:04): Takeaways from the end of the book

 

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The Cyber Savvy Boardroom: Essentials Explained

Cybersecurity has become a critical strategic issue that boards of directors must understand and oversee.

To fully leverage digital transformation and its potential for business growth, leaders in boardrooms must possess a practical, foundational understanding of cybersecurity. Such knowledge is crucial for all business owners, including small businesses that often lack the resources to implement robust security programs or withstand cyberattacks.

The Cyber Savvy Boardroom: Essentials Explained
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On this episode

Homaira Ackbari
President and CEO of AKnowledge Partners, LLC

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Homaira Ackbari

Dr. Homaira Akbari is President and CEO of AKnowledge Partners, LLC, a global strategy advisory firm providing services to private equity funds and corporations in digital transformation and technology sectors of Cybersecurity, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Energy Transition, and FinTech. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Banco Santander (NYSE: SAN) and Landstar System (NASDAQ: LSTR).

Dr. Akbari has held senior management roles in Fortune 1000 companies including Microsoft, Thales, and Liberty Media subsidiary, Trueposition. Dr. Akbari has served as the President and CEO of SkyBitz, Inc., a leading IoT company providing asset tracking and security solutions. Under her leadership, the company had record performance. She successfully sold SkyBitz to Telular Corporation (NASDAQ: WRLS).

She holds a Ph.D. with honors in particle physics from Tufts University and an MBA with distinction from Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business. She is the author of more than 50 scientific articles in international journals, has two patents in IoT, and is a frequent speaker in industry conferences. She has published numerous governance and technology Opinion Editorials and Podcasts, and most recently co-authored the book: The Cyber Savvy Boardroom.

Throughout her life, Dr. Akbari has been active in and a contributor to many non-profit organizations. She is currently a member of Business Board of Advisors for Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business, and a member of Executive Board of Trustees of FIAF.org, a not-for-profit organization with the mission to promote French culture, art and language.

Shamla Naidoo
Head of Cloud Strategy at Netskope, Inc.

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Shamla Naidoo

Shamla Naidoo is a technology industry veteran with experience helping businesses across diverse sectors and cultures use technology more effectively. She has successfully embraced and led digital strategy in executive leadership roles such as Global CISO, CIO, VP, and Managing Partner, at companies like IBM, Anthem (Wellpoint), Marriott (Starwood), and Northern Trust.

Shamla has helped organizations in over 20 countries recognize the impact of digital transformation globally and advise their stakeholders on predicting and navigating the necessary changes in laws and regulations. In addition, she has worked with intelligence communities to use digital and cyber within their organizations to protect businesses and society from technology misuse.

Shamla remains actively engaged in the industry, with organizations like the Security Advisor Alliance, the Shared Security Assessments Group, Institute for Applied Network Security (IANS), Executive Women’s Forum (EWF), HMG Strategy Group, and the Round Table Network. In addition, she is an influential member of the legal community, creating and teaching courses on law, technology, and privacy for the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law. She frequently speaks at the American Bar Association and formerly served as the Committee Chair on Legal Technology for the Illinois State Bar Association. As a practitioner, teacher and coach, she enjoys the opportunity to help seasoned professionals to take their careers to the next level.

Steve Weber
Partner at Breakwater Strategy

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Steve Weber

As a Partner at Breakwater, Steve brings his core expertise in strategy and decision making to the most complex challenges facing organizations at the intersection of economics, technology, politics, regulation, and human understanding through narrative.

Alongside a thirty-year academic career at the University of California Berkeley (where he has a joint appointment as Professor at the School of Information and in the department of Political Science), Steve has advised global firms, government agencies, and non-profit organizations around the world on risk analysis, strategy, and communications, using a diverse set of qualitative and quantitative methods fit to purpose. Recognized as one of the world’s most expert practitioners of scenario planning, Steve has worked with more than 50 companies and organizations to develop this discipline as a strategy planning tool in uncertain and turbulent business environments. He started his advisory career at the boutique consulting firm Global Business Network in the 1990s and in the 2000s worked with The Monitor Group to help clients navigate transitions in information technology, finance, health care, consumer goods, and other sectors transformed by digital and by evolving global and national political economy.

Steve served as special political advisor to the first president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He was Director of the Institute of International Studies at UC Berkeley from 2003 to 2009, and in 2015 he founded the Center for Long Term Cybersecurity at UC Berkeley, where he directs a multi-disciplinary research program on emerging digital security issues at the intersection of new technologies, human behavior, and risk calculations made by firms and governments. His best-known book, The Success of Open Source, was the first extensive study of how the open source software community works. His most recent book Bloc by Bloc: How to Organize a Global Enterprise (2019) explains how economic geography is evolving around machine learning, and the consequences for multinational organizations in the post financial and Covid crises world.

Steve brings a research-based innovation discipline to strategy and communications problems, along with a deep commitment to creative engagement with how people understand their environment, change their minds, and ultimately change the world through narrative. Steve lives in the Hudson River Valley north of New York City with his partner Regina and two Burmese cats named Napoleon and Mrs. Peel. All four are life-long-suffering fans of the New York Football Giants.

Homaira Ackbari

Dr. Homaira Akbari is President and CEO of AKnowledge Partners, LLC, a global strategy advisory firm providing services to private equity funds and corporations in digital transformation and technology sectors of Cybersecurity, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Energy Transition, and FinTech. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Banco Santander (NYSE: SAN) and Landstar System (NASDAQ: LSTR).

Dr. Akbari has held senior management roles in Fortune 1000 companies including Microsoft, Thales, and Liberty Media subsidiary, Trueposition. Dr. Akbari has served as the President and CEO of SkyBitz, Inc., a leading IoT company providing asset tracking and security solutions. Under her leadership, the company had record performance. She successfully sold SkyBitz to Telular Corporation (NASDAQ: WRLS).

She holds a Ph.D. with honors in particle physics from Tufts University and an MBA with distinction from Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business. She is the author of more than 50 scientific articles in international journals, has two patents in IoT, and is a frequent speaker in industry conferences. She has published numerous governance and technology Opinion Editorials and Podcasts, and most recently co-authored the book: The Cyber Savvy Boardroom.

Throughout her life, Dr. Akbari has been active in and a contributor to many non-profit organizations. She is currently a member of Business Board of Advisors for Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business, and a member of Executive Board of Trustees of FIAF.org, a not-for-profit organization with the mission to promote French culture, art and language.

Shamla Naidoo

Shamla Naidoo is a technology industry veteran with experience helping businesses across diverse sectors and cultures use technology more effectively. She has successfully embraced and led digital strategy in executive leadership roles such as Global CISO, CIO, VP, and Managing Partner, at companies like IBM, Anthem (Wellpoint), Marriott (Starwood), and Northern Trust.

Shamla has helped organizations in over 20 countries recognize the impact of digital transformation globally and advise their stakeholders on predicting and navigating the necessary changes in laws and regulations. In addition, she has worked with intelligence communities to use digital and cyber within their organizations to protect businesses and society from technology misuse.

Shamla remains actively engaged in the industry, with organizations like the Security Advisor Alliance, the Shared Security Assessments Group, Institute for Applied Network Security (IANS), Executive Women’s Forum (EWF), HMG Strategy Group, and the Round Table Network. In addition, she is an influential member of the legal community, creating and teaching courses on law, technology, and privacy for the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law. She frequently speaks at the American Bar Association and formerly served as the Committee Chair on Legal Technology for the Illinois State Bar Association. As a practitioner, teacher and coach, she enjoys the opportunity to help seasoned professio