Monday, May 6, 2024

SPRING LEADERSHIP SERIES – Featuring Rebecca Herold

Last fall, I featured an inspiring series here on my blog called, "Fall Back to Reading Series." Nearly 30 leadership, marketing, and customer experience experts participated and shared their favorite books and their thoughts about the importance of reading.

Joseph Lalonde, one participant, wrote a book entitled, REEL LEADERSHIP, which focuses on nontraditional ways to think about leadership. After I read the book, the seeds for this "Spring Leadership Series" were planted. Today, I’d like to introduce Rebecca Herold, and following a brief introduction, Rebecca shares some nontraditional ways to think about leadership!

Rebecca Herold has over 30 years of IT, security, and privacy experience and is the founder of The Privacy Professor Consultancy (2004) and of Privacy & Security Brainiacs SaaS services (2021). Rebecca has authored 22 published books so far, and co-authored NIST catalogs NISTIR 7628, NISTIR 8259, SP 800-213, NISTIR 8425 and TN 2066. She has served as an expert witness for cases covering HIPAA, criminals using IoT devices, social engineering, stolen personal data of retirement housing residents, and tracking app users with Meta Pixels. Rebecca hosts Data Security & Privacy with the Privacy Professor. Since early 2018, Rebecca has hosted the Voice America podcast/radio show, Data Security & Privacy with the Privacy Professor, and is based in Des Moines, Iowa.

QUESTION: Which TV show or TV series showcases leadership in a memorable way? This could be due to a specific character and their actions, a series of events, the plot of one or several episodes, or a specific time reflected in history.
REBECCA HEROLD: The classic series COLUMBO contained so many fabulous lessons and leadership examples for how to analyze evidence, that are directly applicable today for technologies that did not even exist back when the show first aired.

One excellent example directly applicable today to Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and most directly to medical devices, is the "How to Dial a Murder" episode from the show’s first season (Directed by James Frawley in 1978). In this episode, Columbo used ECG evidence to solve a murder. His dialog explained it perfectly in ways that the general public can understand without getting all techie: "You claim that you were at the physician's office getting your heart examined...which was true," Columbo states as he unravels a roll of the ECG readings. Yes, a physical, paper log back then, that correlates directly to the digital trails left today from all IoT devices that are responsibly engineered to log such data for those with authorization to identify health problems for their patients.

Columbo, while inspecting the electrocardiogram data states to the suspect while looking at the data on the paper roll of the ECG, "Sir, just before three o’clock, your physician left you alone for a resting trace. At that moment, you were lying down in a restful position, and your heart showed a calm, slow, easy beat." Then Columbo points to the ECG for the suspect to see and says, "Look at this part, right here. Lots of sudden stress, lots of excitement, right here at three o’clock, your heart beating like a hammer just before the dogs attacked. Oh, you killed him with a phone call, Sir. I'll bet my life on it. Very simple case. Not that I'm particularly bright. Sir, I must say, I found you disappointing. I mean, your incompetence. You left enough clues to sink a ship. Motive. Opportunity. And for a man of your intelligence, Sir, you got caught on a lot of stupid lies.”

Columbo did his due diligence, applied the data collected, and solved a crime using that data. Actually, many different episodes of Columbo have great data and IT security and privacy leadership lessons within them. Along with many other series, such as, Monk, Murder She Wrote, Fargo the series (the Molly Solverson character was so far above all her co-workers in critical thinking skills that all types of leaders need) and many more.

QUESTION: Which film showcases leadership in a memorable way?
REBECCA HEROLD: Another throwback to a classic: 1983’s WAR GAMES. Leadership by the military? Not directly. But indirectly by finally listening to a couple of teens who loved computers and were being leaders themselves by admitting they inadvertently found a huge security vulnerability in what could have been the most deadly military computer system that existed.

The main characters, David (Matthew Broderick) and Jennifer (Ally Sheedy), using modems to find what they initially thought was a computer game, Global Thermonuclear War. After they start playing this "game," they, and the military overseeing that program, realize they are just a computer button away from bombing the Soviet Union.

This showed leadership, that was flawed and delayed, to show how important computer security is, and the need to diligently secure all types of computer systems. Otherwise, dire harms could impact millions. This is quite simplistically stated. But, this has provided a great class topic for my security and privacy courses over the years, where we dig deep into all the associated vulnerabilities and threats, while also enjoying an entertaining movie. And, it is important to point out, that in 1983, most of the public did not even know what computer hacking was or understand the need for computer security.

Sadly, the majority still does NOT understand the need for comprehensive computer and data security and privacy. This includes the majority of business leaders, who often view security and privacy programs as "necessary evils" to meet "unnecessary regulatory requirements." Those views need to change. Those types of leaders are negligent through perpetuating their willful ignorance of the risks that exist and their responsibilities to mitigate those risks, under any situation not just when compelled by legal requirements.

SHARE THIS: The majority of business leaders often view security and privacy programs as "necessary evils" to meet "unnecessary regulatory requirements." Those views need to change. ~@PrivacyProf #SpringLeadershipSeries #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: Which work of fiction showcases leadership in a memorable way?
REBECCA HEROLD: PIPPI LONGSTOCKING demonstrates many leadership qualities with which most people can relate. Certainly children, but also adults who also need to have such lessons, since so many demonstrably did not learn them as children, when leadership seeds take root. Pippi demonstrates throughout her adventures strength of character and mind, confidence, open mindedness (especially to try new things), acceptance of diversity, the need to be responsible for actions, and that everyone makes mistakes sometimes but should learn from them and adjust themselves and their thinking accordingly.

QUESTION: Which product, or product line, stands out as a symbol of leadership?
REBECCA HEROLD: I tend to view products and the associated leaders through my lens of security and privacy practices. I struggled to identify any product or product line that I would view as a symbol of leadership for these necessary areas. And the ones I considered still are not leaders in my view. Probably the best products or product lines in this regard would be the professional membership associations that exist to help organizations of all types implement stronger and more effective security and privacy programs. ISACA, ISC2, IAPP, CompTIA and ISSA would be good examples.

QUESTION: Lastly, since I’m a marketing professional, I would be remiss not to ask this question. Which brand do you consider the best embodiment of an industry leader, and why?
REBECCA HEROLD: Another tough question. I do not think there is a "best" brand that embodies an industry leader in this regard. No organization has the best information and computer security and privacy management programs that they could have.

Did these questions open your eyes to thinking about leadership in nontraditional ways? That was the hope. My gratitude to Rebecca for appearing on my blog, and for sharing her leadership insights.

Image Credits: Debbie Laskey, iStockphoto, Amazon, and Classroom Clipart.

Connect with Rebecca at these links:
Privacy Security Brainiacs:
Privacy Guidance:

Check out Rebecca’s previous appearance here on my blog:

FALL BACK TO READING SERIES – Featuring Rebecca Herold (October 2023)

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