Christian Hyatt, CEO & Co-Founder of risk3sixty, knows the secret to building a strong cybersecurity team, and he calls it: Security Team Operating Systems. Walking through his entrepreneurial journey from inspiration as a young child to discovering his interest in the new phenomenon of cyber to co-founding risk3sixty, Christian covers every aspect of intelligent leading and team building. Ready to take your team to the next level? Christian knows 5 key elements you won’t want to miss.
[00:00] Tackling cybersecurity as a business owner in an emerging industry
[07:04] Building better teams with an emphasis on core values
[14:16] Noticing the potential of decentralized technology and data
[18:51] Stepping away from hands-on technician work to be the boss
[22:37] Leading healthy teams through missions, KPIs, and meeting cadences
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Where did the journey of wanting to be a cybersecurity and privacy business owner begin for you?
While many guests on Hacker Valley take the journey from technician to eventual business founder, Christian felt the urge to become an entrepreneur from a young age. Watching his father and grandfather run their own businesses, Christian understood the responsibilities of taking this journey and wanted to make an impact in an industry that was blossoming with potential. Cybersecurity came into Christian’s life later, when he was employed at a consulting industry, but he saw the potential for growth immediately and wanted to be a part of it.
“Along the way, what I learned about myself is I really love building teams. When we built risk3sixty, we were really culture-oriented, even from the early days. We were thinking about scaling the business, career plans, coaching plans, culture kind of stuff.”
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned in the process of building your team at risk3sixty?
Christian cites the books Traction by Gino Wickman and Scaling Up by Verne Harnish as two of his biggest inspirations and influences for team building early on in his entrepreneurial journey. Both of these authors heavily focus on the people element of professional teams, and Christian has implemented that same approach when forming cybersecurity and privacy teams at risk3sixty. The right people in the right positions will make or break a company, which is why risk3sixty has training and apprenticeship programs in place to build a strong foundation of skills with people who are passionate about learning and growing with the company.
“It turns out, if you get the right people in the door, you invest in them, you coach with them, you develop relationships, they're going to serve your clients like no one else is going to do it. They're gonna be part of that mission, they're gonna want to serve, and you do great work.”
Now that you aren’t as hands-on with security assessments as a CEO, what have you learned from the bigger picture, macro-perspective role you have now?
Many cybersecurity technicians feel understandably cautious about taking over C-level positions because of the lack of hands-on technical assessment work. However, for Christian, he’s enjoyed gaining a different perspective on the industry and learning the “why” behind the “what” as CEO of risk3sixty. As CEO, Christian is able to better understand overarching trends and changes in the security assessments his company performs and has the opportunity to talk directly with security executives about opportunities for growth and investment.
“You can walk into an organization and if they don't have a strong leader at the helm, they don't have a security team operating system, they're a little bit dysfunctional, I know already that I'm going to see some problems in there.”
What are the most important characteristics that you're finding for folks that are leading really healthy cybersecurity teams?
Security team operating systems are made up of the non-technical skills and characteristics that make a team effective. When Christian’s team at risk3sixty needed to hone in on these specific elements, they narrowed it down to 5. Teams need to have a (1) defined purpose and mission to go after and a (2) core set of values to not only guide them through their work, but also understand their (3) set of expected behaviors and standards. There also have to be (4) consistent meeting cadences in place and (5) a solid, standard process of goal setting, KPIs, and score carding.
“A great team defines their purpose and mission. Usually, that’s aligned with a business objective. It might be about protecting data, it might be about customer trust, whatever it is that makes sense for that business, they've set a mission that that team can rally around.”
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