November 9, 2022

Cultivating Client Trust at Cybercon with NTT’s Dirk Hodgson & Adam Green

by Hacker Valley Studio

Show Notes

Hacker Valley: On the Road is a curated collection of conversations that Chris and Ron have had during conferences and events around the globe. In this episode, NTT’s Dirk Hodgson, Director of Cybersecurity, and Adam Green, Senior Cybersecurity Executive, speak with the Hacker Valley team at CyberCon in Melbourne, Australia. Dirk and Adam cover the intersection of their roles at NTT, their experiences at conferences like RSA, their country’s cybersecurity industry, and their team’s cultivated trust with clients. 

 

Timecoded Guide:

[00:00] Reuniting at CyberCon after years of COVID limiting security conferences

[06:30] Differentiating Australia’s cybersecurity industry from the rest of the world

[10:48] Watching current cyber trends with CMMC & the Essential 8 frameworks

[25:41] Creating interpersonal communication in a technology-driven industry

[34:58] Building trust by knowing your clients & your adversaries equally

 

Sponsor Links:

Thank you to our sponsor Axonius for bringing this episode to life!

Life is complex. But it’s not about avoiding challenges or fearing failure. Just ask Simone Biles — the greatest gymnast of all time. Want to learn more about how Simone controls complexity? Watch her video at axonius.com/simone

How are Australian cybersecurity practitioners different from the rest of the world?

According to Adam, the past 3 years have led to a massive shift in maturity for Australia’s cybersecurity industry. Previously, Australia relied on its physical isolation as a country as a means of security, but breaches have become more high profile and more impactful for Australian businesses in recent years. Now, Adam is pleased to see there be a greater understanding beyond the 101 of cybersecurity and more collaboration with security teams.

“Three years ago, we used to say Australia was 5 years behind the rest of the world [in cybersecurity]. We used to think, because of proximity to the rest of the world, we were pretty safe, but it's definitely become more of a professional approach to security now.” — Adam

 

How do your roles as Director and Executive work together at NTT? 

For Dirk, cybersecurity is the ultimate team sport— and Adam is an impactful element to his cybersecurity team. While Adam often focuses on strategic planning through his background as a practitioner, Dirk enjoys how his business-driven perspective contrasts with Adam and with other members of the team. With a variety of experiences and perspectives in the room, NTT can cover issues from all sides, instead of falling victim to tunnel vision.

“Adam is the person on the team, who's great at that scenario planning piece. ‘Here are the things that are gonna go wrong.’ Whereas myself and a couple of the other people on the team, look at that go, ‘What's that going to cost the organization?’” —Dirk

 

Where are the strengths and weaknesses in communication in cybersecurity?

Just like Dirk’s thoughts about cybersecurity being a team sport, Adam believes that you have to cultivate a team member-like trust with your clients. The client in an initial conversation might seem defensive of your advice or critical of your actions. However, Adam explains that establishing credibility, especially in the business-focused cyber industry in Australia, goes a long way to creating the opportunity for more casual conversations down the line. 

“What we find is, in Australia in particular, it's about not just the company, but you as an individual. Do you have my back? Can I trust you? If I don't like you, will you at least mitigate my risk for me? You have to establish credibility real fast.” —Adam

 

What advice would you give to someone interested in cultivating more trust between clients and their team?

Dirk loves a good James Bond villain, but the average hacker attacking the average business is nothing like the movies. Establishing trust with clients starts with not only understanding what they need, Dirk explains, but also knowing the most likely threats beyond the showstopping Blackhats of media fame. Being able to explain to and protect clients from the most common threats keeps their data safest and strengthens their trust in your team.

“I think it's about making sure that you know what the worst case scenario is, what the most dangerous course of action that the attacker or a potential attacker could follow, but also, being able to talk credibly about what's the most likely threat.” —Dirk

---------------

Links:

Keep up with our guest Dirk Hodgson on LinkedIn

Keep up with our guest Adam Green on LinkedIn

Learn more about NTT on LinkedIn and the NTT website

Connect with Ron Eddings on LinkedIn and Twitter

Connect with Chris Cochran on LinkedIn and Twitter

Purchase a HVS t-shirt at our shop

Continue the conversation by joining our Discord

Check out Hacker Valley Media and Hacker Valley Studio

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