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5 Zero Trust Takeaways from Higher Ed CSO George Finney

authorRaghu Nandakumara, Senior Director, Head of Industry Solutions
authorFebruary 15, 2023

Higher education does it all – from student loan regulations and health center HIPAA compliance to credit card processing and protecting student records. Not to mention implementing effective security training and safeguards for thousands of campus employees, faculty, and students.

Because of this dynamic juncture, higher ed CSOs face several unique security challenges – and this is what keeps George Finney excited about his role as Chief Security Officer at Southern Methodist University (SMU).

George sat down with me to discuss his work in implementing and advocating for Zero Trust security at SMU in the new episode of The Segment: A Zero Trust Leadership Podcast.

Haven’t heard my first episode with Zero Trust pioneer Chase Cunningham yet? Listen here.

Episode 2 of The Segment: George Finney, CSO at Southern Methodist University

At Southern Methodist, George oversees all aspects of cyber and physical security, finding creative ways to enhance new and existing protections.

He is also the bestselling author of several cybersecurity books, including most recently, Project Zero Trust: A Story about a Strategy for Aligning Security and the Business – with a foreword by former Forrester analyst and the “founder” of Zero Trust, John Kindervag. If you haven’t read the book already, I highly recommend you check it out.

Get these 5 security insights from George Finney in the episode

George joins The Segment to discuss his experiences with implementing Zero Trust security initiatives in higher education.

In this episode, we unpack topics like the cultural elements of cybersecurity, what Zero Trust isn’t, and why some Zero Trust projects fail.

Make sure to listen for these key takeaways from our discussion:

  • 5:40: Establishing a unified security culture
  • 11:10: What Zero Trust isn’t: “Don’t take the cynical approach”
  • 16:50: The secret sauce to being a CSO today is building in security from day 1
  • 24:00: Understanding your “protect surface” to maximize ROI
  • 28:30: The reason some Zero Trust projects fail isn’t because of tools - it’s people

Read the full transcript here.

Listen to the next episode on March 1

Be the first to listen! Subscribe to The Segment: A Zero Trust Leadership Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts to be notified when new episodes are released.

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