March 31, 2021

Interview with a Vendor w/ Dutch Schwartz

by Cyber Ranch

Show Notes

In this episode, host and CISO Allan Alford interviews his friend Dutch Schwartz, Principal Security Specialist at Amazon Web Services. Dutch is a vendor, but do not press 'stop' just yet! Dutch is an empathetic outsider, an observor, and a constant learner and researcher. He brings some unique insights to our practice. Dutch talks about his encounters with CISOs and their direc staffs, and opines on the debate as to how technical a CISO should be (versus business-oriented). Allan and Dutch discuss healthy vs. unhealthy (Dutch prefers the term 'challenging') security cultures. Dutch talks about all security efforst aligning with business initiatives, and Allan espouses his theory that all CISO actions should ties to business initiatives, risk reduction, and maturity improvement. Dutch remains enthused about cybersecurity because of conversations like this very interview. Key Takeaways 1:32 - Dutch shares his cyber origin story - stumbling into cyber after a militiary career as an officer, and working an integrator for a VAR. 4:54 - Today Dutch works at AWS and supports the largest customers as a cloud security strategist, working with CISOs and their staffs. 5:47 - With Dutch's Fortune 50 customers, he meets wit the CISO on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, depending upon how hands-on the CISOs are. Daily he meets with the CISOs direct reports. 7:04 - Dutch explains that over the years the CISOs' have changed from a more technical bent to a more business and risk-management orientation. Some struggle with this growth. 12:15 - Allan describes his CISOs communication philosophy of "Business Terms First, Risk Terms Second, Technology Terms Third". 13:23 - Allan talks about CISOs asking each other whether they are more technical or business/softskills-oriented. 15:00 - Dutch says that how technical a CISO is depends partially upon risk tolerance. 18:02 - Dutch elaborates that a bad security culture results in more breaches. 19:18 - Dutch explains how a company's culture can be measured. 19:54 - Dutch says culture is not what the leadership preaches, but rather what the factory worker in a remote location believes it to be. 20:16 - Dutch says challenging cultures are the ones where leadership is not aligned. 21:53 - Dutch starts his conversations with his clients by talking first and foremost about business initiatives. 23:40 - Dutch often compares security to quality when getting his clients to understand the overarching perspective. 26:50 - Allan says all CISO initiatives should be tied to business objectives, reduction of known risks, and how his actions might improve maturity. 29:29 - Conversations like this one are what keeps Duth in information security. Links: Learn more about Dutch Schwartz on LinkedIn and Twitter. Follow Allan Alford on LinkedIn and Twitter Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio and The Cyber Ranch Podcast Sponsored by our good friends at Axonius