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Episode 46: Mischel Kwon, Founder and CEO of W@tchTower

Date:

Dec 17, 2020

In this OODAcast we interview Michel Kwon, the founder and CEO
of W@tchTower.
She is a leader who has proven herself through an ability to
success in three different career fields, first as a developer and
programmer creating enterprise grade solutions, then as a
government executive who would eventually lead the United States
Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT)during a critical period
in its transformation, and now as an entrepreneur and CEO adding
value to enterprises seeking to reduce risk and improve
cybersecurity posture.

We discuss Michel’s foundational story and extract
lessons relevant to those starting a career today, and also dive
into how she leveraged her technical skills and desire to create
into a winning presentation of a new type of WiFi antenna at
Defcon. This event would prove to be pivotal for her next career in
the Department of Justice, and makes a clear point of use to any
who may be seeking opportunities to switch careers (her focus on
continued learning and intention to always be herself were at play
here).

We also discuss her government career and lessons
learned for any professional government who would like to advance
and make bigger differences for the nation.  There are also
lessons from Mischel’s story for any leader who needs to motivate
action across organizations when you are not in command. Her
approach was to provide threat briefings and visions for the future
that would motivate other leaders. This may be the only way that
works on cross organizational efforts like those she had to lead.
She also provides eye-opening anecdotes about the importance of
knowing the rules (in her case, including the Constitution and the
laws in place for how we protect privacy). She shares lessons and
recommendations that flow from this for any commercial
cybersecurity professional as well.

As CEO of W@tchTower she has led the firm from its
formation to a highly performing value adding partner for any
business which is in need of a security operations center (SOC) or
with a need to improve current SOC operations. Watchtower provides
the technology, guidance and expertise to enable security
operations and mitigate problems of too much data, disorganized
processes, overworked analysts and hard to measure metrics.

Additional Resources

OODA Research
Reports:

Cyberwar Was Coming: A Reflection on the 25 Year Old Thesis
that Predicted a Generation of Cyberconflict

“You’ve got to read what this kid is writing out of his basement
at the University of Vermont…” – recently retired CIA officer to
intelligence and military colleagues in 1994. A candid 25 year
retrospective on a thesis that launched a tremendous amount of
dialogue and action on the issues of information warfare,
cyberterrorism, and cybersecurity. See:

Cyberwar
Was Coming: A Reflection on the 25 Year Old Thesis that Predicted a
Generation of Cyberconflict

Deception Needs to be an Essential
Element of Your Cyber Defense Strategy

In the cyber defense community, we talk about a wide-range of
risk mitigating technologies, strategies, and activities.  We
talk about attacker deterrence and increasing costs for the
attacker.  We invest in endpoint agents, threat intelligence,
DLM, and other mitigating technologies on a daily basis. Here’s why
one of the most compelling emerging use cases for increasing
attacker costs is through the use of deception. For more see:

Deception Needs to be an Essential Element of Your Cyber Defense
Strategy

Traveling Executive’s Guide to Cybersecurity:

Traveling executives are frequent targets for cyber espionage.
This report provides guidance for executives and their security
teams on how to protect their information and technology while on
the go. Produced by OODA co-founders Matt Devost and Bob Gourley,
the report provides best practices, awareness of threats, and a
deep understanding of the state of technology. A tiered threat
model is provided enabling a better tailoring of actions to meet
the threat. For more see: 
OODA Releases a Traveling Executive’s Guide to
Cybersecurity

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  • Source: http://listen.oodacast.com/episode-46-mischel-kwon-founder-and-ceo-of-wtchtower

This Post was originally published on Ooda Loop

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