Industry leadership

CISO Lens MVPs for 2020

15th June 2021 (first published on Linkedin)


From time to time, CISO Lens acknowledges an individual who has made a noteworthy contribution to, not only our community, but also the wider industry. In previous years, these acknowledgements of industry leadership have been to CISOs from very large organisations. These individuals have been able to mobilise their large teams to achieve extraordinary outcomes in the industry.

Over the last few weeks, CISO Lens has held our first physical gatherings since the start of 2020. At these gatherings, in Sydney and Wellington, we acknowledged two people who have made an especially important contribution to our community and the industry in 2020.

The memories of 2020 are fading for many people. But, from March through to May last year, it was a period of substantial turmoil from an enterprise security perspective. We started by flipping hundreds of thousands of employees to work from home. Then came the challenge of going back and reviewing all that had happened: the risks we'd glossed over, the technologies that had been rushed in, the environments and processes that had been blindly accepted, and we were now trawling through the decisions and reevaluating the risks of these. And all of this - the pivot and the subsequent review - was happening in a rush, while people were still in lockdown.

During this time, the members of the CISO Lens community were sharing an enormous amount of information on what worked, what didn't, and what to be mindful of. We were working collaboratively to make a difference for the ecosystem, and much of the information generated within the community was shared externally.

With that brief refresher in mind to set the scene, there are two people we acknowledge here. Both people were acknowledged in front of their peers at our most recent gatherings.

The first person CISO Lens acknowledges for their industry leadership is Wilson Chiu.

Through most of 2020, Wilson was the CISO at Police Bank. He's now moved on to another role, but while at Police Bank - and with one of the smallest teams in the CISO Lens community - Wilson proved himself to be the Most Valuable Player for 2020.

Wilson was a significant contributor to the information flow within the CISO Lens community and there were several instances where Wilson was able to respond with timely and considered information that was extremely valuable for many CISOs with substantially larger teams and budgets For example on one Saturday evening in March, the CISO of one of the largest organisations in Australia had an urgent question about a particular technology and Wilson was the person that came through with comprehensive and considered response in less than 20 minutes. That anecdote is just one of many from last year.

The second - but by no means secondary - person CISO Lens acknowledges for their industry leadership is Declan Ingram.

Through 2020, Declan was the Deputy Director at CERT NZ, an organisation he helped establish in 2016-2017. Since its creation, CERT NZ has executed on Declan's vision and stood out as the light on a hill, demonstrating how information sharing between government and the private sector can work and be mutually beneficial.

Through 2019, Declan was invited to each of the quarterly CISO Lens gatherings in New Zealand, with the members continuing to ask for him to come to the next gathering based on his insights and contribution to the discussion.

Then, through 2020, Declan continued to demonstrate exceptional industry leadership through proactive information sharing with both the New Zealand and Australian CISOs.

Declan has now left CERT NZ and is pursuing parallel lines of work and research that will continue to deliver extraordinary value. It is not overstating the matter to say that his departure from CERT NZ was felt as a material loss to the CISOs across New Zealand, and Australia.

It's unusual for CISO Lens to make this acknowledgement public, but last year was - infamously - an unusual year, and these two people made an inordinate difference to the security communities of Australia and New Zealand.

Our profound thanks to both Wilson & Declan for the industry leadership that each showed through 2020.